2015 Toyota Prius v

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Key Specs

of the 2015 Toyota Prius v. Base trim shown.

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Backseat headroom and legroom
  • Low cargo floor
  • Gas mileage
  • Visibility
  • Selectable driving modes

The Bad

  • Center dashboard layout
  • Dated dash graphics
  • Interior quality
  • Some control locations
  • Least-efficient Prius

Notable Features of the 2015 Toyota Prius v

  • Revised front and rear styling
  • Wagonized version of the Prius
  • Gas/electric hybrid drivetrain
  • Precollision system available

2015 Toyota Prius v Road Test

Bill Jackson

Some cars aim to be fun to drive, while others reject that premise and aim for utility. So it is with the Toyota Prius v, a car built to fill the car-as-a-tool role.

The 2015 Toyota Prius v is easy to drive, park and carry stuff in, and while it has more interior room than other Prius models, it also gets lower mileage.

The Prius v competes with other high-mileage cars, such as the Ford C-Max Hybrid and the diesel-powered Volkswagen Golf SportWagen TDI. Compare them here. The Prius v is part of the family of Prius models, starting with the smaller Prius c, then the regular Prius and the larger Prius v.

Toyota breaks down Prius v trim levels by number, with Five being the highest. The company used to use Roman numerals for the trims, but you can see why Toyota chose to spell out Five before the larger Toyota Prius came out in 2012: It would have been selling a Prius v V.

We tested a 2015 Toyota Prius v Four, which features an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and Toyota's SofTex imitation leather-trimmed front seats. Our test model also came with optional carpet floormats and a cargo mat for $225.

The 2015 Prius v is little changed from the 2014 model year. You can compare them for yourself here.

Exterior & Styling
The Prius v won't be mistaken for anything but a member of the Prius family, as it shares the regular Prius' angular styling and distinctive headlights.

It's a hatchback, but the Prius v stands more upright and resemb...

Some cars aim to be fun to drive, while others reject that premise and aim for utility. So it is with the Toyota Prius v, a car built to fill the car-as-a-tool role.

The 2015 Toyota Prius v is easy to drive, park and carry stuff in, and while it has more interior room than other Prius models, it also gets lower mileage.

The Prius v competes with other high-mileage cars, such as the Ford C-Max Hybrid and the diesel-powered Volkswagen Golf SportWagen TDI. Compare them here. The Prius v is part of the family of Prius models, starting with the smaller Prius c, then the regular Prius and the larger Prius v.

Toyota breaks down Prius v trim levels by number, with Five being the highest. The company used to use Roman numerals for the trims, but you can see why Toyota chose to spell out Five before the larger Toyota Prius came out in 2012: It would have been selling a Prius v V.

We tested a 2015 Toyota Prius v Four, which features an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and Toyota's SofTex imitation leather-trimmed front seats. Our test model also came with optional carpet floormats and a cargo mat for $225.

The 2015 Prius v is little changed from the 2014 model year. You can compare them for yourself here.

Exterior & Styling
The Prius v won't be mistaken for anything but a member of the Prius family, as it shares the regular Prius' angular styling and distinctive headlights.

It's a hatchback, but the Prius v stands more upright and resembles a station wagon body-type — or at least what people 50 years ago probably imagined station wagons would look like today.

How It Drives
The 
Toyota Prius v features a lot of the usual hybrid-specific traits: Its engine response can be a bit sluggish and elastic, and the brakes require getting used to, as they combine both traditional brakes and regenerative braking that charges the drivetrain's high-voltage battery. It's a mushy-feeling pedal, and stopping power is harder to judge than in a conventional car.

While you're stuck with the brakes, the engine response can be adjusted thanks to the Prius v's selectable driving modes. There's an EV mode that, when conditions are right, will allow the Prius v to operate as an electric vehicle for up to a mile. In my tests, I never was able to sustain EV mode for anything close to a mile, owing to use of the climate system, how the battery was charged and so on. When it switches off, the four-cylinder gas engine fires up.

Next up, there's an Eco mode that aims to improve fuel economy by adjusting accelerator response and climate control. It's in this mode that the Prius v feels the most sluggish, with slow off-the-line response and lag when passing. I did notice that if you floor the gas pedal to make an unanticipated maneuver, the Prius v will "wake up" and give you full power. Otherwise, you'll notice that the engine shuts off at stoplights more often and, when accelerating away from a stop, it takes longer for the engine to kick in than when the car is in other modes.

Lastly, Power mode gives a "more spirited driving experience," according to Toyota. I found it sharpened accelerator response, and the 1.8-liter engine never shut off in this mode during my tests. I wouldn't go so far as to call the mode "fun," but it does make the Prius v the most responsive it's going to be.

If drivers don't select any of the modes, the Prius v's default setting is a compromise between Power and Eco modes. The engine shuts off at lights when it can and provides responsiveness somewhere between the aggressive Power mode and the sluggish Eco mode.

The ride in the Toyota Prius v is not jarring; it's basically unobtrusive. It didn't beat me up on long drives, and it didn't do anything unpredictable when pushed harder. The Prius v did get tossed around a bit in heavy crosswinds, owing to its upright shape.

There is a fair amount of road noise that enters the cabin, and that's most notable on long highway drives. I noticed I had the stereo on louder than I normally would to drown out the noise.

Lastly, the Prius v is estimated to get 44/40/42 mpg city/highway/ combined. That bests the C-Max Hybrid (42/37/40 mpg) and the automatic Golf SportWagen TDI (31/42/35 mpg).

It's worth noting that the Prius v trails its Prius siblings, which get 51/48/50 mpg (Prius) and 53/46/50 mpg (Prius c). Buyers who prize mileage to the exclusion of all else would be wise to consider a different version.

Interior
There's nothing fancy about the Prius v's interior; I'd go so far as to call it spartan. Instead of the traditional gauge cluster in front of the driver, the Prius v has a screen high in the center of the dash that displays the speedometer and other gauges. It's not hard to see or particularly awkward, but the driver is left to look at a vast expanse of barren dashboard that's kind of ugly.

As noted, our test model came with Toyota's imitation leather seating, and I'm not sold on it. It felt too cushy to the touch, to the point I would have preferred a cloth seat that offered less give. I wasn't wild about how it looked, either, though it was fairly easy to clean when spills happened. All in all, I wouldn't upgrade to the Prius Four to get that seating material.

Overall material quality is basic at best. It's almost as if Toyota's philosophy is to make the Prius the modern equivalent of a hairshirt by announcing, "You're driving, so you should pay a penance." More than one editor commented on the abundance of hard plastic in the interior, the chintzy popup cupholders, etc., so it's not just me.

Also, there's only one USB port in the entire car, up front. There is a 12-volt outlet, so with an adapter two people can charge their phones, but in this, the largest Prius, I don't think one or two more USB ports would be out of order.

The Prius v shines when it comes to room. Up front, I never felt pinched or claustrophobic, whether I was by myself or giving someone a ride. The backseat is also impressively large. The seats back there did force my knees a little higher than I'd like them, but because there was so much room I could stretch my legs out more. It'd be a fairly comfortable car to ride in for a long journey.

Finally, the visibility out the Prius v is excellent. There are small windows directly behind the windshield pillars that go a long way toward opening up the view out the front of the Prius. Rear and side visibility is also excellent.

Ergonomics & Electronics
The 
Toyota Prius v shows that just having a feature doesn't mean it's necessarily going to be well-executed. For example, there are knobs to adjust the volume and change the radio station, but that radio station button is uncomfortably far away from the driver — and I have long arms. Its movement is also vague, so it's too easy to skip over a channel.

Also, the controls for the available heated seats are buried so far below the center instrument panel that the only way I knew our test model even had heated seats was because the window sticker said it did. And even once you locate the push-button controls, it's not really possible to confirm whether they're on or off while driving until they warm up — or don't.

The multimedia screen is not the best. For starters, it lacks a dedicated button to get you to the available navigation screen. Instead, you must navigate to the Apps screen, then choose the navigation system from a screen full of choices. Also, I found the navigation system to really lag when inputting destinations. Thankfully, the rest of the screen's functions — changing audio sources, etc. — did not, so it's not that the whole system is laggy, just the navigation screen.

Something I grew to love in the Prius v was its climate-control setup. It's large and mounted in the center, using a knob mounted on top of a lever. Pushing the lever to the side toggles between temperature, fan control and climate zone. Then you use the dial to increase or decrease the fan speed or temperature, or to change the climate zone. This setup was instantly easy to operate and very well-executed.

Cargo & Storage
As it's the largest of the 
Toyota Prius models, it's to be expected that the Prius v would offer the most cargo room. The specs bear that out: The all-new Prius v has 34.3 cubic feet of cargo room behind the rear seats, compared with 21.6 cubic feet in the Prius and 17.1 in the Prius c.

The Toyota Prius V also edges ahead of the Golf SportWagen (30.4 cubic feet) and bests the C-Max Hybrid (24.5 cubic feet).

What I really like about the Prius v is that its cargo area is well-laid-out. I got the sense that whoever designed the car actually intended for it to haul things. I was able to fit groceries, my bike, gym clothes and a variety of other items easily over the course of my test. I think the Prius v's cargo area is better-laid-out than those of the C-Max Hybrid and SportWagen. Its shape (and the addition of fold-down seats) means it is more conducive to carrying things people use, particularly large, oddly shaped items, like bikes.

Also, there's a good deal of cabin storage up front in the Toyota Prius v. In addition to a large center console, there's also a split glove box that affords a lot of space.

Safety
The Toyota Prius v is an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Top Safety Pick Plus, meaning it receives the agency's highest rating — good — in all tests, as well as an advanced rating for front crash prevention. The designation applies to models equipped with a pre-collision system and lane-departure warning alert that's part of Toyota's Limited Advanced Technology Package.

You can browse a list of all the Prius' safety features here.

Value in Its Class
Our test model was priced at $30,745, including an $825 destination charge. That's more expensive than either the Ford C-Max Hybrid SEL or the Volkswagen Golf SportWagen TDI SE.  But value isn't just about price. The Prius v offers more usable cargo room than either competitor, as well as better mileage.

It's let down, however, by the general "cheapness" of the interior — something the C-Max and SportWagen don't suffer from as much.

Overall, deciding on a Prius v over a C-Max Hybrid or SportWagen would come down to whether your most important criteria were getting the absolute best mileage and the absolute best cargo-carrying capability — and being willing to sacrifice interior niceties for it. In that competition, the Prius v wins.

It must be noted, however, that the Prius v could also be seen to compete with other Toyota Prius models. Unless you need the greater space the v provides, I'd advise shoppers to look at its smaller, cheaper, higher-mileage Prius siblings, too.

Send Bill an email  

 


2015 Prius v Video

Among Toyota's hybrid progeny, including the Prius c small hatchback and the well-known Prius, the Prius v tops the range in size. But it also has other features that distinguish it from its fuel-sipping siblings. Watch the video for more.

Latest 2015 Prius v Stories

Consumer Reviews

Exterior Styling
(4.4)
Performance
(4.6)
Interior Design
(4.6)
Comfort
(4.6)
Reliability
(4.8)
Value For The Money
(4.4)

What Drivers Are Saying

(5.0)

Consolidated a truck & 04 Prius into a Prius V

by KrazzeeKatLady from St Louis MO on October 8, 2018

For a long time I had horses and needed my '01 Silverado for towing. But using it as a daily driver was getting expensive so in '10 I bought an '04 Prius for my commutes. Now I've consolidated my ... Read full review

(4.0)

Very good car with lots of room.

by Josie from Lake OSwego, Oregon on September 20, 2018

Well equipped with lots of room. USB ports . Plug in ports front and back. Rides very well on long trips, and mileage is great. Too bad this model was discontinued in 2017. Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2015 Toyota Prius v currently has 1 recall

IIHS Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2015 Toyota Prius v Two

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Hip/thigh
good
Lower leg/foot
good
Overall evaluation
good
Retraints and dummy kinematics
good
Structure and safety cage
good

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
good
Overall Rear
good
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Left Leg/Foot
good
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Other

Roof Strength
good

Side

Driver Head Protection
acceptable
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
good
Driver Torso
good
Overall Side
good
Rear Passenger Head Protection
good
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
good
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
marginal
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

Manufacturer Warranties

Backed by Toyota
New Car Program Benefits
  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    36 months / 36,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    60 months / 60,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    24 months / unlimited distance

Certified Pre-Owned Program Benefits
  • Maximum Age/Mileage

    7 years/less than 85,000 miles

  • Basic Warranty Terms

    12 months/12, 000 miles

  • Powertrain warranty

    7 years/100,000 miles

  • Dealer Certification Required

    160- or 174-point inspections

  • Roadside Assistance

    Yes

  • View All Program Details

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Prius v received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*

Third-row access

N/A

Infant seat

B

Booster

(second row)

A

Booster

(third row)

N/A

Latch or Latch system

B

Forward-facing convertible

(third row)

N/A

Forward-facing convertible

(second row)

B

Rear-facing convertible

A
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.
For complete details,

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker