Suggestion No. 1 – 2014 Toyota Prius v Five
Toyota’s Prius nameplate is practically synonymous with hybrid. Like Kleenex, Coke and Q-tip it’s a brand name that’s just about become a generic term. With such strong recognition it’s no wonder the company sells so many each year.
As for Frau Kelli we suggest the spacious Prius v, a station-wagon version for the standard model, it offers more interior space though it’s substantially less fuel efficient. Behind the second-row seats the “v” provides more than 34 cubic feet of room; with the back bench folded flat that number swells to more than 67 cubes. By comparison the standard Prius provides less than 22 cubic feet of volume.
Despite their versatility disparity the wagon version of Toyota’s famous hybrid is powered by the exact same drivetrain, which is centered on 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine. Augmented by a 6.5 ampere hour nickel-metal hydride battery pack and an electric motor this system delivers 134 net horsepower. On paper, or rather, displayed on an LCD screen that may sound a little anemic, but it works well enough in the real world (PLEASE tell us you’re not reading this on a CRT).
But where the Prius v falls short is in the efficiency department, relatively speaking of course. According to the U.S. EPA it stickers at 44 miles per gallon city and 40 on the highway, figures that earn it a combined score of 42 mpg. For a little context the standard model should return an average of 50 miles to a gallon of gasoline.
Where things get really interesting is when you look at pricing. The entry-level Prius v starts at right around $28,000; at that level it comes standard with things like power windows and door locks as well as a backup camera. Unfortunately you have to step up to the range-topping “Five” trim level to get heated seats, which in our opinion is a crock of horse-puckey! C’est la vie, but we just wish Toyota would offer butt warmers as a stand-alone option, or better yet, for free.
In any event a Prius v Five optioned with all of the features Kelli wants stickers for nearly 37 grand. Part of the reason it’s so expensive is that you have to opt for the $5,650 Advanced Technology Package in order to get a moonroof. Of course it also provides a JBL sound system, radar-assisted cruise control, Toyota’s pre-collision system and much more so it’s not a total rip off.
One area where the Prius v will probably trounce all comers is in the area of quality. The company has been producing hybrid vehicles for more than 15 years; it’s safe to say they’ve probably ironed out a lot of bugs over the past decade and a half, something that makes this car a smart bet for long-term ownership.