Midsize car; Built in Japan
  • 4-door wagon
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $10,000 – $20,700*

2012 Toyota Prius v

2012 Toyota Prius v

2012 Toyota Prius v

2012 Toyota Prius v

  • Passenger and cargo room
  • Ride/handling
  • Engine noise
  • Road noise

Though Prius v gives up some fuel economy compared to the original Prius, its excellent packaging makes it an arguably more attractive option for families and active folks looking for better gas mileage than most any midsize car or SUV can deliver. This is a practical, roomy wagon that can easily achieve 40 mpg and be bought with most every feature you could want. New or used, Prius v is one of the best values on the market today.


The 2012 Toyota Prius v was a wagon version of the regular Prius hatchback that was 3 inches longer in wheelbase and 5 inches longer overall. As such, it offered more cargo room and better cargo versatility due to its boxier load area. On the down side, fuel economy was lower due to a bit of added weight and poorer aerodynamics. Rivals included the Chevrolet Volt and Volkswagen Jetta TDI Sportwagen.

Prius v was sold in three trim levels labeled Two, Three, and Five. (Yes, it skipped “Four.”) The Two was very well equipped, and included automatic climate control, tilt/telescopic steering wheel, cruise control, height-adjustable driver seat, fold-flat front passenger seat, split folding rear seat, heated mirrors, power mirrors/windows/locks with remote entry, keyless access and starting, digital-media player connection, USB port, wireless cell-phone link, and rearview camera.

Three added a navigation system and satellite radio. Five additions primarily were limited to heated front seats and vinyl (vs. cloth) upholstery. Options for the Five included a pre-collision system, hands-free parallel parking system, adaptive cruise control, sunroof, and Toyota’s Safety Connect assistance system and Entune infotainment system.

Prius v came with the same 98-horsepower 1.8-liter gasoline 4-cylinder engine and 36-horsepower battery-powered electric motor as the regular Prius. Likewise, it also was equipped with the same continuously variable transmission (CVT) that behaved much like an automatic, and it was front-wheel drive.

The EPA rated the 2013 Prius v at 44 city/40 highway. By contrast, the regular Prius netted a 51/48 rating, so you sacrificed quite a bit of fuel economy for the added cargo space. The Prius v used regular-grade gas.

Yearly Updates

2013 Prius v
Changes for 2013 were limited to a new color and a slightly different steering wheel texture for the top-line trim.
2014 Prius v
For 2014, changes for the Prius v were again modest. Daytime running lights were new, and a panoramic moonroof was now an individual option for the mid-grade Three trim level.
2015 Prius v
The Toyota Prius v was cosmetically freshened for 2015 via a new front fascia and new taillights. An 8-way power driver’s seat was newly available, as were LED projector-beam headlights. Toyota’s Entune multimedia system had been upgraded as well.


transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

Like the Prius hatchback, the Prius v uses a 1.8-liter gasoline 4-cylinder engine paired with a battery-powered electric motor to produce a total of 134 horsepower. Like Toyota’s other hybrids, the Prius v can run on one or both of its power sources, depending on driving demands. It requires no plug-in charging and uses a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that behaves like an automatic. Prius v is front-wheel drive.

dohc I4/electric1
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 1.8/110
Engine HP 134
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 105
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
CVT automatic 44/40 47

1. Combined gas/electric torque NA.

Road Test

Acceleration is slow, almost painfully so with “ECO” mode enabled. Power does build smoothly and steadily, though. Mid-range response is far from strong, but power is available nearly instantaneously thanks to the assist from the electric motor. Pressing the EV (Electric Vehicle) button allows the car to operate solely on electricity for approximately one-half mile at speeds up to about 25 mph. Transitions when the gas engine cycles on and off during driving are very smooth.

In Consumer Guide testing, we averaged 45.1 mpg. That’s an excellent result even in a test consisting of mostly highway driving. The Prius v uses regular-grade gas.

Prius v rides comfortably with decent bump absorption and minimal wallow. The Five model has 17-inch wheels as opposed to 16s on the Two and Three, and it rides just a little more stiffly over bumps.

While not particularly sporty, Prius v has well-balanced handling with accurate steering and confident road manners. Braking action is strong and swift with natural pedal feel that surpasses that of the v’s hatchback sibling. We do wish the turning radius were a bit tighter, as the v is a bit trickier to maneuver in close quarters.

Anyone familiar with the 2010-2014 Prius should feel at home in Prius v since many of the controls are similar. Clearly marked buttons are the norm for most functions, and the main instrument display is at the top center of the dashboard. Its location can be jarring at first, but quickly becomes second nature. The navigation system uses a combination of button and touchscreen activation. Climate controls are mounted below the radio or navigation system on a surface that extends out from the center of the dashboard. The entirety of the control setup takes some acclimation. We’re not fond of the annoying chime that plays every time the car is shifted into reverse; it’s a complaint we have with the standard Prius hatchback, too. Toyota says a dealer can disable this at customer request.

Interior trim is tasteful and well assembled, but not lavish. Some unexpected surfaces are padded which help keep the interior’s hard plastics from becoming overwhelming. The Five’s faux leather does little to perk up the rather drab disposition of the cabin.

Up front, large adults will find plenty of headroom and legroom on comfortable seats. One common complaint from our testers was a lack of padding on the center console armrest. One bonus of the Prius v’s wagon body style is that its rear liftgate does away with the awkward, visibility-hindering split rear window of the hatchback.

The rear seat slides fore and aft to favor passenger or cargo room; it also split folds 60/40. Headroom and legroom are very generous. A 6-foot-5 rear-seat passenger can comfortably sit behind another adult of similar height.

The large cargo area is easy to access with a good size rear hatch and low load floor. Large underfloor storage bins add to Prius v’s practical nature. The split rear seat backs fold to create a flat floor, and the standard fold-flat front-passenger seat makes loading very long items a breeze. Interior storage is good with two gloveboxes, a console bin, door pockets, cupholders, and a large open console bin at the base of the dashboard.


Model Tested: 2013 Toyota Prius v Three

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.


Acceleration - 4
Fuel Economy - 10
Ride Quality - 6
Steering/Handling - 6
Quietness - 5


Controls/Materials - 5
Room/Comfort Front - 8
Room/Comfort Rear - 7
Cargo Room - 8


Value - 9

Total: 68


4-door wagon
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
109.4 181.7 69.9 62.0 3274
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
67.3 11.9 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.6 40.4 41.3 35.9
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2012 Not tested 4-door wagon


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
Front Passenger Injury - N/A

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A

Trouble Spots

Engine misfire
Description: Vehicle may run rough during light acceleration while the exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system is active. The intake manifold assembly will have to be replaced. (2012-15)
Description: Seat heaters may stop working because of failed wiring connectors. (2012-13)

Recall History

2012 Prius v w/aftermarket accessories
Description: Certain 2012 model Prius v vehicles that had accessories including leather seat covers, seat heaters, or headrest-mounted DVD systems installed by Southeast Toyota Distributors, LLC (SET) may not have a properly calibrated occupant sensing system in the passenger-side front seat. This makes it possible that the passenger’s side air bag will not deploy at all or deploy with inappropriate force for the size of the passenger in the seat.
2012 Prius v
Description: Curtain-side-airbag inflator may crack and fragments could be ejected into the passenger cabin.
2012 Prius v w/aftermarket seat heaters
Description: Certain 2012 model Prius v vehicles that had accessory seat heaters installed by Southeast Toyota Distributors, LLC (SET) may have a risk of fire.
2012 Prius v
Description: Inaccurate load carrying capacity labels could result in owners overloading the vehicle.
2012-13 Prius v w/aftermarket replacement taillights
Description: Genera aftermarket replacement taillights have brake lights that are illuminated continuously until the brake pedal is pressed, then the brake lights go out.
2012-14 Prius v
Description: Certain 2012 through 2014 model year Toyota Prius v vehicles made between August 22, 2011 and June 30, 2014 may have a component in the hybrid inverter assembly that can overheat. This may reduce power output which would allow the vehicle to only drive a short distance. It is also possible for the hybrid system to shut down causing the vehicle to stop while it is being driven.
2014-15 Prius v
Description: Certain 2014 model year Toyota Prius v vehicles made after November 7, 2013, may not have a properly calibrated occupant classification system (OCS) in the passenger-side front seat. Because of this problem, the passenger-side front airbag may not deploy in a collision.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.


Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.