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With the arrival of the seven seat Prius v, Toyota has expanded the iconic Prius into a family of vehicles.
Prius is now the first full hybrid vehicle available as a standalone model range, with Prius v joining the Prius c and the flagship Prius hatch.
The 'v' behind the Prius v name stands for versatility. Newly designed from the ground up, Prius v is longer, wider and taller than the standard Prius, with an extended wheelbase, making it possible to accommodate adults in all three rows.
The adoption of three-row seating has been achieved thanks to a highly compact, space saving lithium-ion battery pack.
Placed under the centre console between the front seats, this is the first lithium-ion battery to be fitted to a Toyota sold in New Zealand.
Toyota New Zealand General Manager of Sales, Steve Prangnell says: "The Prius was a niche model when it first went on sale 15 years ago. But now, from a global viewpoint the Prius v adds the additional flexibility needed to take us to the verge of an era where hybrids are the normal choice in cars."
"Prius sales globally have more than doubled as Toyota has extended the Prius nameplate to four models. This year we've added the Prius c, or Aqua as it's known in Japan, and Prius v to the existing Prius hatch and Prius Plug-In models. In the first quarter of 2012, Prius sales were just shy of 250,000 units globally, trailing Corolla with 300,800 and the Ford Focus."
"Based on the latest sales results, 2012 is likely to go down in history as the year of the hybrid - the first time customers have bought more than one million hybrids in a year. This level of success makes it clear that hybrid technology has been accepted into the mainstream."
"Prius v is a welcome addition to our hybrid family. With its size, versatility and fuel efficiency, it's going to attract customers from across the market. It's a viable alternative to small or mid-sized sedans and wagons as well as compact SUVs and crossover vehicles - with fuel economy few of our competitors can match," says Steve Prangnell.
"With the added seating, Prius v will challenge the perception of customers who think they need a big SUV to transport the family. Also, the added cargo space means Prius v would make an ideal light delivery vehicle for smaller businesses."
"Taking into account the Prius hatch, city-sized Prius c and now the Prius v seven seater, it's an exciting time for us. We now have a Prius family member to suit a broad range of buyers, lifestyles and budgets."
Prius v showcases the latest generation of Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive powertrain, which incorporates a 1.8 litre Atkinson cycle petrol engine with a powerful 60kW electric motor for a combined system output of 100kW. The Prius v returns class-leading fuel economy of 4.1 litres/100km and CO2 emissions of 99g/km.
The Prius v is available in three grades for New Zealand buyers: Prius v, Prius v s-Tech and the technology flagship Prius v i-Tech.
Prius v will be priced from $50,990 with advanced features including a 6.1 inch display screen audio system, automatic air conditioning, leather-accented steering wheel, energy monitor, keyless entry and start, electric power steering and cruise control. Outside, 16 inch alloy wheels, daytime running lights, a rear spoiler and rear privacy glass give a premium look.
Seven airbags, a reversing camera, hill-start assist, vehicle stability control and traction control, and anti-lock brakes with brake assist and electronic brake-force distribution are also standard.
The Prius v s-Tech adds a head up display, driver's seat lumbar support and seat height adjustment, manual rear window sun shades, additional smart key door sensors, and a large panoramic style roof with electronic sun shades. The recommended retail price for the Prius v s-Tech is $55,490.
The top-of-the line Prius v i-Tech offers the best in safety and convenience technology. It has a satellite navigation system with seven inch touch screen display, as well as eight JBL GreenEdge speakers. Synthetic leather seats with front seat heaters give a premium feel inside, and LED headlights with auto on/off control set the Prius v i-Tech apart outside. Toyota's sophisticated pre-crash safety system with dynamic radar cruise control improves safety, while the Intelligent Park Assist (IPA) system assists with parallel and reverse parking.