I’m always a little hyped when a new test car is coming my way. However in January, my colleague John Hewitt was more excited than I about the 2013 Prius V that I had for a week to review.
Hewitt, who is The Champion Newspaper’s chief operating officer, was practically giddy to walk around, sit inside and go for a ride. Hewitt is a Prius owner who doesn’t mind sharing that his 2011 vehicle is a dream to drive and averages an eye-popping 50 miles per gallon, making his commute between Dawsonville and Decatur more affordable than before.
On quick inspection he found a few instrumentation differences between his car and the newest iteration but for the most part assessed that not much had changed and he meant that as a positive. And Hewitt wasn’t the only one to express his passion for Prius. While I was volunteering in Decatur, another volunteer approached me to ask what I thought of my ride and to share his experiences in his older model—again high praise.
As for my own evaluation of the 2013 Prius V, it was a joy to drive. The vehicle got great gas mileage–37.9 miles per gallon was my average–handled well, was roomy with plenty of cargo space and provided a nice interior experience.
The Prius V’s hybrid synergy drive system (4-cyclinder engine) means it has an integrated electric motor and gas engine. Drivers can switch among three driving modes: EV, ECO and Power. EV runs solely on battery power for up to a half mile in certain situations. In Eco, one gets maximum fuel economy. Obviously, one goes to the Power setting when one needs greater acceleration and pedal response. Those settings are on the armrest console and are relatively easy to move between although I did find myself nervously taking my eyes off the road to locate those controls when needed. It got better as I became more accustomed to the vehicle.
The test car came equipped with an advance technology package that includes a high-definition navigation system with 7-inch touchscreen and back-up camera, hands-free phone, stolen vehicle locator and more, which pushes the sticker price to $36,805. (Starting prices are in the $30,295 range.)
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