Should I Buy a Toyota Prius V 2012-2014

Mike Schlee
by Mike Schlee

Vehicle Overview

The Prius V joined the expanding Prius lineup in 2011 as a 2012 model. For the North American market the “V” is basically a wagon version of the regular Prius. In other markets the Prius V is sold as a three-row multi-person vehicle, which means all versions worldwide include second row seating set on adjustable rails. This cargo flexibility combined with 50 percent more interior volume compared to the regular Prius gives the Prius V a sizable utility advantage.

Power for the Prius V comes from the same 1.8-liter Atkinson cycle four-engine gasoline engine paired to an electric motor as found in the regular Prius. Total system power is rated at 134 hp which is adequate for the 3,274 lbs. hybrid wagon. Since its introduction in 2011, not much has changed for the Prius V other than minor shuffling of the features available in each trim package.

Shop Used Car Classifieds: Used Toyota Prius V for Sale

Trims Packages

The Prius V has always been offered in three trim packages called the “Two”, “Three” and “Five”. These correlate in content to the regular Prius trim structure.

Top 3 Reasons to Buy

  • Fuel Efficiency – The main reason people a hybrid is for fuel savings and the Prius V does not disappoint with official fuel economy ratings of 44 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway.
  • Cargo Capacity – Aside from carrying five passengers in relative comfort, the Prius V can also swallow 34.3 cubic feet of cargo.
  • Reliability – The regular Prius has proven to be a reliable hybrid over the years and although the Prius V is still relatively new, it uses most of the same mechanicals as the standard Prius model.

Top 3 Problem Areas

  • Many owners have complained to the NHTSA about the rear brakes making unusual noises.
  • The Toyota Prius V failed the IIHS small overlap front impact test and received a “Poor” rating. Of particular concern is the front wheel that protruded into the driver’s foot well.
  • Some Prius owners do not like Toyota’s Entune infotainment system, especially the Navigation. There are aftermarket replacements available.

Before You Buy

Aside from the usual used car checks, pay special attention to the tires and brakes of this car before buying one. Ensure the tires equipped are original equipment or have been replaced by low rolling resistance hybrid tires. Otherwise the fuel economy of the Prius V may be adversely affected thanks to greater road generated friction.

A test drive of a used Prius V should be performed before buying one to ensure the brakes are in top mechanical condition. Specifically, you should listen for any grinding or unusual sounds from that area.

Best Bang for Your Buck

Since the Prius V has only been on the market for a few years and is essentially unchanged, the first year 2012 model represents the best value. Unlike many new cars, the 2012 Prius V does not exhibit any first year “teething problems” and has proven to thus far be reliable. The trim to choice is up to the buyer’s personal preference as to how much content they do or do not want.

Recall and Crash Test Database

NHTSA 2014 Toyota Prius V Crash Test Results
NHTSA 2013 Toyota Prius V Crash Test Results
IIHS Toyota Prius V Crash Test Ratings
NHTSA 2013 Toyota Prius V Safety Recalls
NHTSA 2012 Toyota Prius V Safety Recalls

Gallery: 20012-2014 Toyota Prius V

Looking for more information? Visit our Toyota Prius forum

Mike Schlee
Mike Schlee

A 20+ year industry veteran, Mike rejoins the AutoGuide team as the Managing Editor. He started his career at a young age working at dealerships, car rentals, and used car advertisers. He then found his true passion, automotive writing. After contributing to multiple websites for several years, he spent the next six years working at the head office of an automotive OEM, before returning back to the field he loves. He is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), and Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA). He's the recipient of a feature writing of the year award and multiple video of the year awards.

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Join the conversation
  • Jack Jack on May 03, 2014

    God, don't buy this car. We don't need any more vaginas on the road...

    • Shiratori1 Shiratori1 on May 03, 2014

      What we REALLY don't need any more of on the road, is sexist douchebags such as yourself.