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motherproof did a three-part series "review" on the new Prius V focusing the review around families. So if you are thinking about getting the Prius V to haul your family around. This might be a good read for you since it covers all the questions you probably have.

Toyota Prius vs. Prius V: Is the Prius V Worth the Higher Cost?

As a 2008 Toyota Prius owner who longs for more space but doesn’t want rising fuel costs to compromise my budget, the all-new 2012 Prius V appears to be the perfect solution. With a starting MSRP of $26,400, excluding the $760 delivery charge, the Prius V costs nearly $3,000 more than its smaller sibling, the Prius. I crunched the numbers to see if jumping to the bigger Prius V was a good move for my family.

It should be noted that my family of four fell in love with all the Prius V offers. It feels like a stretched version of our current Prius, with a fuel economy that was barely compromised. During my family’s road trip from Los Angeles to Phoenix and back, I averaged 35.5 mpg in the V. My 2008 Prius averages 40 mpg in combined driving.

If I were in the market for a new Prius, the nearly $3,000 premium for the Prius V over the 2011 Prius, which starts at $23,520, would be difficult to swallow. While the added upfront cost would hurt, my family’s monthly gas budget would barely be affected by the upgrade to a larger hybrid. My husband and I drive an average of 2,000 miles a month in our Prius (it’s our only car). With gas at $4.00 a gallon in my area, we spend about $200 on the 50 gallons of gas we use each month. With the V, if we drive an average of 2,000 miles a month and get 35.5 mpg, we’d use 56.3 gallons of gas a month. At $4.00 a gallon, we’d spend $225 a month on gas.

While the added cost might not be worth it to everyone in the market for a Prius, at this stage in my life with two young daughters, I’d be willing to make the switch.

Toyota Prius vs. Prius V: Larger Cargo Area Makes for Road-Trip Bliss

The 2012 Prius V is Toyota’s newest addition to the Prius family. Its stand-out features are a larger cargo area and a reclining second row. Be still, my child-safety-seat-installing heart. Boasting 34.3 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second-row seats, Toyota claims the Prius V has more space than 80 percent of the small SUVs on the market. Pair that with its estimated 42 mpg city/highway combined and the Prius V is a wagon to be reckoned with.

While my husband and I current own a 2008 Prius, it’s primarily in pursuit to save green rather than to “go green.” With two little girls in car seats, I often find myself daydreaming of a spacious second and even third row that a large SUV or minivan offers. But with high gas prices, I just scoot my seat forward to accommodate the child seat behind it and breathe a sigh of relief as I drive by the gas station selling gas at $4.00 a gallon.

Road trips are a completely different monster. With every inch of our Prius’ cargo and legroom taken up with the kids’ gear and luggage, a couple hours on the road seems like a couple of days. The cargo space in our beloved Prius is simply not enough for a comfortable road trip.

My automotive dreams came true recently. Not only did I get to test-drive the all-new Prius V, but also I was able to take it on our family’s semi-annual road trip to Arizona.

The Prius V’s cargo area (photo above) lives up to Toyota’s claims. My husband had almost finished loading our luggage and the kids’ gear into our new ride when I panicked because I’d forgotten our jogging double-stroller. This would have been a disaster with our 2008 Prius (photo below), requiring us to reconfigure the luggage to fit the stroller.

In the Prius V, it was no problem. We still had plenty of room in the cargo area to fit the stroller after loading it with three suitcases, three backpacks, a diaper bag and a portable crib.

Not only did the new Prius V swallow our luggage, but also our line of sight out the rear window wasn’t impeded by the usual tower o’ luggage. It was an automotive miracle, I tell you. Our Prius can barely fit the stroller, let alone luggage for a family of four.

Room to stretch your legs because everything is in the cargo area is the beginning of road-trip bliss.

Toyota Prius vs. Prius V: Prius V’s Lower MPGs OK With Family

When Toyota announced it was designing a more-spacious Prius, I jumped for joy because my 2008 Toyota Prius has been pushed to its limits by my family of four. Could they really design a family-friendly Prius without compromising the hybrid’s high fuel-economy numbers? After my family’s road trip to Arizona, the verdict is in: Toyota can and did.

The 2012 Prius V gets an EPA-estimated 44/40/42 mpg city/highway/combined. Some may have been disappointed by the Prius V’s fuel-economy numbers when compared to the Prius’ EPA-estimated 51/48/50 mpg, but as a 2008 Prius owner who regularly averages 40 mpg city/highway combined, the Prius V’s numbers were high enough for me.

For our road trip, which was mostly highway driving, we averaged 35.5 mpg in the Prius V. On our trip, we intermittently used the Power mode, which made passing cars and climbing mountains easy as pie. Otherwise, we kept the Prius V in Eco mode, which makes the car drive more efficiently, while traveling from Los Angeles to Phoenix and back. The Prius V also has normal and EV driving modes.

The Prius V made our stops at gas stations infrequent and relatively painless. Well, except for one: I’m no mathematician, but with a fuel-tank capacity of 11.9 gallons and an estimated 40 mpg highway, I thought we could make it from Los Angeles to Phoenix on one tank of gas. It turns out you can’t.

As my husband and I happily cruised through the desert at 11 p.m. with our two angels sleeping in the backseat, the idiot light, I mean, low-fuel light came on. Past experience in my ’08 Prius has taught me that I have at least 20 miles to find a gas station when the low-fuel light comes on. Wrong again. According to the Prius V’s range indicator, we had less than 10 miles until empty. My stomach sank as I looked out and saw nothing but desert. And then a monsoon hit. I wish I were joking.

With intense rain and wind slamming into the car, I looked at my husband and told him this is how the narration on the television show “I Survived” begins. He calmly said “It’s OK. If we actually run out of gas, we’ll just call AAA.” I regretfully informed him that I hadn’t renewed the membership. Yep, I’m waiting for that Responsible Parent of the Year Award to arrive in the mail any day now. Thankfully, the gas gauge was slightly faulty or an alarmist. We sailed on fumes for at least 20 miles and made it to a glorious gas station.

Despite almost spending the night on the side of the road, my husband and I were both amazed by the Prius V’s fuel efficiency. However, we played it on the safe side and refueled before we reached a quarter of a tank during the rest of the trip (like the responsible parents that we are).

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