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Toyota Prius+

The independent definitive Toyota Prius+ video review

This is a sample, showing 30 seconds of each section.

    STRESSING THE POSITIVE (some text hidden)

    By Jonathan Crouch

    Toyota's improved Prius+ effectively brings petrol/electric hybrid technology to the seven-seat MPV sector. Jonathan Crouch reports.

    Ten Second Reviewword count: 67

    Like most vehicles of this size, the Prius+, here smartly updated, should only be thought of as an occasional seven seater, but it scores plenty of credit points in the way it translates the Prius' hybrid driving experience to a bigger body. Capable of 68.9mpg and 96g/km, it's a brilliantly green contender in an otherwise crammed market. This improved version gets greater refinement and upgraded multimedia capability.

    Backgroundword count: 182

    Perhaps the most puzzling thing about the Toyota Prius+ is that it took until 2012 to appear. Think about it. Toyota started selling its Prius hybrid in 1997 and its sister company, Lexus, began shifting hybrid SUVs in 2004, eight years before this petrol/electric hybrid MPV first appeared to plug the yawning gap between the two products. The catalyst for the development of the Prius+ was the launch of the massively improved third generation Prius in 2009. Bigger, slicker and better to drive, here was a platform that could be extended to a more family oriented vehicle without too much trouble. Enough with the history: bottom line is that the Prius+ was worth waiting for and has now been usefully updated. The engineers say it's quieter under acceleration, plus inside, you now get the brand's latest 'Toyota Touch 2 multi-media system. Otherwise, the recipe is much as before. It might not be radical but it's packed full of smart and practical thinking. As we'll see here, the Prius+ is more than a Prius with a pair of seats tacked onto the back.

    Driving Experienceword count: 277

    One of the issues with the original version of this car was the thrashy nature of its CVT belt-driven automatic gearbox. This is something Toyota took its time in trying to solve but the engineers say that this is much less of a problem in this revised model, which is claimed to be significantly quieter under heavy acceleration. Otherwise, the dynamic recipe is much as before. Gone are the days when hybrid vehicles could be lousy to drive, counting instead on their green credentials to wash over the fact. The Prius+ doesn't look the obvious candidate for a spirited steer, using as it does the older-tech engineering and technology from the MK3 Prius, rather than the latest MK4 model. All, however, is not quite as it seems. Toyota has lowered the final drive ratio of the transmission to make the Prius+ accelerate that bit quicker and it also uses more advanced lithium ion batteries that are 8kg lighter yet still preserve the electrically powered range of around two miles. Prius+ buyers also get a sharper steering ratio and the damping has been adjusted to cope with more weight in the vehicle. One thing you'll notice if you come from a Prius hatch is this MPV's very clever anti-dive and anti-pitch system that smooths powertrain torque to keep the body level under braking, hard acceleration or over road imperfections. It's still not a quick car by conventional measures, the 1.8-litre 98bhp petrol electric engine reaching 62mph from standstill in 11.3 seconds and running onto 103mph, but the urge of the electric motor assisting the four-cylinder petrol engine makes it feel a good deal brawnier than the numbers suggest.

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    Pictures (high res disabled)

    Statistics (subset of data only)

    Min

    Max

    0-60 mph (s):

    11.8

    Combined mpg:

    64.2

    68.9

    CO2 (g/km):

    96

    Extra urban mpg:

    65.7

    67.3

    Height (mm):

    1575

    Insurance group:

    11

    12

    ... and 6 other stats available

    Scoring (subset of scores)

    Category: Hybrid or Electric Cars

    Performance
    50%
    Handling
    60%
    Comfort
    80%
    Space
    80%
    Styling, Build, Value, Equipment, Depreciation, Handling, Insurance and Total scores are available with our full data feed.

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