Toyota has announced a new release time for the Prius V. Originally slated for release this summer, production was delayed after the March 11th earthquake in Japan. The Prius V is now scheduled to be released in the fall of 2011.
The Prius V offers the same Hybrid Synergy Drive system as the third-generation model, offering the same “advantages of high mileage, low emissions, and never needing to be recharged.” Hybrid Synergy Drive is a hybrid system that allows the car to provide power from the engine alone, the motor alone, or a combination of both. The Prius’ engine is an efficient 98-horsepower 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that has a total horsepower of 134. The engine is small and lightweight, which minimizes the noise and vibration.
The EPA fuel economy ratings are 44 mpg city, 40 mpg highway, and 42 mpg combined. Bob Carter, the Vice President and General Manager of Toyota Division Group, calls the newest Prius a “win-win for everybody” due to the fact that the Prius “produces 66 percent fewer smog-forming emissions than the average new vehicle.”
The Prius V offers four driving modes: standard, Eco, EV, and Power. Eco mode allows for the most fuel efficient method of driving, while EV mode allows the Prius to run completely on battery power for short distances and low speeds. Power mode allows the car to deal with slopes and mountainous terrain.
A new feature of the Prius V is Pitch and Bounce Control, which improves comfort and control by working with suspension enhancements. Front and rear suspension components have been redesigned, and the steering ger is now attached to the front suspension member. In addition, wheels that are 17 inches in diameter are offered as an alternative to the standard 16 inch wheels.
The newest Prius is “specifically designed with young families in mind,” offering spacious seating for five. The car also offers more cargo space than 80 percent of SUVs, making it the perfect decision for a family car. The Prius V is also user-friendly; in keeping with older models of the car, driving controls including the parking switch and driving mode buttons are easily accessible.
The car is also equipped with Bluetooth wireless connection, full iPod integration, and a new seven-inch Premium HDD Navigation System. The new premium system offers JBL GreenEdge audio system, which allows for a 66 percent reduction in overall mass and a 50 percent improvement in sound efficiency.
One of the available seat materials for the newest Prius is SofTex, which can be easily cleaned and does not contain any animal-based products. The manufacturing process of SofTex uses 99 percent fewer volatile organic compounds (also known as VOCs) than synthetic leather and has a weight reduction of 50 percent.
The price of the Prius V is expected to be approximately $2500 higher than older models, which currently range from $22,410 (standard) and ($37,000) fully loaded.
In addition to the Prius V, several other versions of the Prius are due to hit the market soon. A plug-in version of the standard Prius will be released in the first half of 2012. The Prius C, will be released after and is expected to have the highest mileage ratings of any non-plug in hybrid.
Photo Credit: fueleconomy2.ornl.gov/feg/best-worst.shtml