The interior of the Prius v is akin to the LA Forum - it’s where the magic happens.
For the unfamiliar, what lies inside the Prius v’s shell is a masterclass in packaging, practicality, flexibility and versatility.
Firstly the packaging, Toyota’s interior designers have done a remarkable job to carve out space for seven seats. The amount of interior space defies the car’s proportions.
The Prius v shouldn’t only be an option for large families, it’s worthy of consideration for those only needing five seats. With the third row folded flat, the Prius v is a roomy and comfortable five-seater. Legroom in the second-row is exceptional and the flat floor means three can sit abreast without feeling claustrophobic.
Moving to the third row, these seats are not just the domain of children and vertically challenged adults. They are actually useful.
There is a helpful range of adjustment available that allows the seats in the middle row to slide forward to better accommodate those on the rear bases. All three individually formed middle row seats can move independently of each other which allows the seating arrangement to be customised to the situation.
Accessing the rear is done by sliding the middle row forward, a task that can be done without fuss.
With all seven seats up, the boot capacity is a reasonable 180 litres. Folding the third row flat increases the volume to 485 litres. Fold both rows flat and the cargo space resembles that of a small van.
To conceal valuables and stow the cargo blind when it’s not in use, there is a small compartment under the boot floor.
When not in use, the third row folds neatly into the boot floor which is surprising as this is generally where the battery pack would be housed. To properly incorporate seven seats the battery has been relocated to the centre console. There is a small price to pay, the storage space under the centre armrest is almost nonexistent. To compensate though, there are two gloveboxes.
Those in the second row enjoy sun-blinds that are built into the doors which is a nice touch on a warm day.
It’s not all smiles for those in the back rows, there are no proper air conditioner vents which can leave the rear stuffy in high temperatures.
Another oversight is the absence of USB ports. A family car in this day and age almost requires one charging point to accompany each seat. Away from the centre stack, there is a lone 12-volt outlet in the third row.
Up front, the driver and passenger also enjoy plenty of room while nestled in comfortable and supportive seats. The driver also gets lumbar support. The roofline allows the seats to be mounted slightly higher so the sensation of a raised driving position is present.
Leather trim makes virtually no sense in the warm Australian climate, in the Prius v, the outer part of the seat is trimmed in faux leather with the inner section covered in a soft fabric. It’s far more comfortable as the mercury climbs.
It’s a peculiar dash layout, the digital display and the usual cluster functions are situated in the centre of the dash instead of behind the wheel. There is a head-up display that shows the speed which removes the need for the driver to look away.
This is a dash that’s caught between eras. On one hand, it looks as if the design is what people of the 80s would expect beyond 2000 which leads to a retro-cool vibe. On the flip side, it’s not as contemporary looking as some of Toyota’s latest interior layouts.
Over our time with the Prius v, we’ve grown to really like the look of the dash, it’s unique, with lots of tactile details. Little things like the toggle that controls the climate control bring some individuality to the car as well as being functional.
A larger infotainment screen is needed, it’s hard to get excited about a 6.1-inch touchscreen, it gets lost in the centre stack. Everything works perfectly, plug and play, Bluetooth and satellite navigation present no issues which help overcome the lack of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Toyota makes some attractive and nicely shaped steering wheels, the Prius v isn’t the beneficiary of one of them. The tiller in the Prius v looks two (possibly three) generations old.
When first acclimatising to life with the Prius v as a daily driver, the greatest annoyance was the archaic foot-operated park brake. We can report that after a few weeks, it isn’t noticeable, however, we can understand why it could turn off a buyer or two who don’t get the time with the car that we do.
While there is room for improvement, the interior of the Prius v is cleverly packaged and useful. The space and plethora of seating adjustments and combinations make the car a unique offering for those chasing practicality, flexibility and versatility.
For a car without an oversized footprint, the designers responsible for unlocking the Prius v’s interior have hit nothing but net. Perhaps they’ve spent some time at the Forum?