2017 Toyota Prius v

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2017 Toyota Prius v

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A better name for the 2017 Toyota Prius V might be the Prius Plus because that's what it is: a supersized version of the Prius hatchback, designed for customers who need more room but still want exceptional fuel economy. Indeed, it's called "Prius+" in Europe, where seven-passenger seating comes standard. The North American market gets only the five-passenger version, though, so families beyond a certain size need not apply.

The Prius V is sort of a cross between a minivan and a station wagon, targeted at folks who aren't quite ready for the comparatively bulky Toyota Sienna. Mechanically, the Prius V shares much with the previous-generation regular Prius, including its gas-electric Hybrid Synergy Drive system. Combined gas-electric output is rated at 134 horsepower, which isn't the sort of number that inspires sporty driving, especially considering the extra bulk of the Prius V. A continuously variable automatic transmission handles the shifting duties.

There's 34 cubic feet of cargo space in the back, upped to 67 cubic feet if you fold down the rear seatbacks. The front passenger seat can even be folded flat to make room for extra-long items like surfboards. Multiple trim packages are available, ranging from basic to relatively luxurious. As the 2017 Toyota Prius V is based on the previous-generation Prius, there are some up-to-date items offered on the new Prius that aren't available yet on the Prius V.

You'll still find plenty of features, however, even on the base model, which comes with niceties such as automatic climate control and a 6.1-inch touchscreen infotainment system. Fully optioned, the Prius V boasts heated imitation-leather seats, adaptive cruise control, a panoramic sunroof and a premium JBL sound system. The new Prius may have more tricks, but the V is no slouch, especially if extra interior space is a consideration.

On the performance front, the Prius V is frankly one of the slowest vehicles offered on the market today. With a 0-60 mph time of 10.3 seconds, freeway merges are best planned carefully. But for some buyers, the V's practicality will prove irresistible, even if its acceleration isn't exactly thrilling. Additionally, the V has strong safety credentials, including the highest possible crash test ratings from the IIHS.

Overall, the Prius V is a solid, roomy appliance that returns a whopping 41 mpg in combined driving, according to the EPA, handily beating any gas-powered vehicle on the road with comparable interior space. Throw in Toyota's reputation for dependability and good resale value and you've got ample reason to consider this supersized Prius as your next family hauler. Edmunds' reviews and shopping tools can help pinpoint the right 2017 Toyota Prius V for you.