GoAutoLogo
MENU

Future models - Toyota - Prius - V

Toyota opts for single Prius V model

The family way: Toyota has confirmed the Prius V seven-seat wagon will be released here in May.

Cheaper 5-seat option overlooked as Toyota Australia elects for 7-seat Prius V only

Toyota logo6 Feb 2012

By DAVID HASSALL

TOYOTA Australia this week confirmed a showroom arrival in May for its new Prius V people-mover, which will be available only in seven-seat configuration.

Less than two months ago, Toyota Australia senior vice president David Buttner told GoAuto that Toyota Australia would also bring in the five-seat version as a more affordable option for families.

The seven-seat Prius V hybrid will be a considerably more expensive proposition because it employs more compact but pricier lithium-ion batteries instead of the cheaper standard Prius nickel-metal hydride pack to accommodate the extra row of fold-away seating.

Toyota Australia public relations manager Mike Breen told GoAuto the decision to go with a single version was for marketing reasons.

“The seven-seat Prius V will be the only model available in Australia as it has the added flexibility of being used as either a seven-seater or five-seater,” he said.

“We believe this market will only sustain one model so we opted for the more versatile of the two.”

Mr Buttner had told us that the Prius V would give Toyota an effective replacement for the sub-Tarago Avensis people-mover that was discontinued more than a year ago.

8 center imageHowever, the decision to go only with the more highly specified seven-seater is expected to make it considerably more expensive than the Avensis, which last sold here in November 2010 for $39,990 – the same as the standard Prius at the time.

The new Japanese-built Prius V will be the first Toyota production vehicle in Australia fitted with a lithium-ion battery, which is smaller and lighter than the nickel-metal hydride unit, but has similar storage capacity.

Its more compact dimensions allow it to be fitted under the Prius V’s centre console between the driver and front passenger, rather than under the rear cargo floor, as in the five-seat version.

Known in Europe as the Prius+ and in Japan as the Prius Alpha, the seven-seat wagon will ultimately expand the Prius family to three models in Australia, following the launch of the smaller Yaris-sized Prius C compact hatchback next month.

Prius sales virtually halved last year to only 822 units and, while this can at least partly be blamed on shortages caused by the Japanese earthquake in March, it remains a long way short of the 3000-plus results of 2008 and 2009.

That might suggest that, against expectations, car buyers are losing interest in hybrids.

Toyota Australia executive director sales and marketing Matthew Callachor said the Prius V would broaden the appeal of Toyota’s hybrid technology and environmental credentials.

“The Prius V is all about versatility – it is larger and roomier to meet the needs of growing families while retaining the Prius DNA of environmental performance and fuel economy,” he said.

“Due to the placement of the lithium-ion battery pack between the front seats, there is minimal compromise to the MPV-style seven-seat passenger accommodation or the load space.

“Families will have the flexibility of using all seven seats or folding down the third-row seats to convert the car into a five-seater with extra luggage space.

“Customers can also fold down the second-row seats to accommodate more cargo than many SUVs and wagons on the market today.”

Although it shares its platform and drivetrain with the standard Prius hatch, which is now in its third generation, Prius V sits on an 80mm-longer wheelbase and is 135mm longer, 30mm wider and 100mm higher.

As in the Prius, a 73kW 1.8-litre Atkinson-cycle petrol engine combines with a 60kW electric motor, but delivers a combined maximum of only 100kW to the front wheels at any one time.

In the US, where the five-seater was recently launched, the Prius V’s fuel economy has been rated at 5.6 litres per 100km, compared with 3.9L/100km for the smaller Prius hatch, and the heavier seven-seat version can be expected to be thirstier again.

Read more

Share with your friends

Toyota models