Toyota has sold more than 4 million hybrid vehicles since 1997 which is an impressive figure, and with around 15% of new Toyotas being hybrids, it’s a figure that’s increasing rapidly. Having proved that there’s a market for hybrids, Toyota is now rapidly rolling the technology out. The latest sector on Toyota’s hit list is MPVs with the imaginatively named Prius+.
Despite first impressions the Prius+ isn’t just a Prius with a higher roof. It is higher, wider and longer with 80mm of the extra length between the wheels. This has allowed the inclusion of three full width seats in the second row, an extra row of two seats in the third and dramatically improved headroom particularly in the second row where the Prius’ teardrop roof line starts to bite.
There are also some significant technical changes. The basic powertrain is carried over but the batteries are completely new. Swapping to lithium-ion chemistry saves 8 kg (the pack now weighs 34 kg) and reduces battery volume by 50%. This has allowed the battery to be moved from under the boot floor to the central console where you would normally find a gearlever.
The dashboard is new too, which makes it even more disappointing that it lacks visual flair and quality. It reminds us of something you would find in a van and looks to have been benchmarked against US rather than European rivals. You will however find 232 litres of boot space with all the seats up, 784 litres with five seats or 1,750 litres with two in place, so it is practical.
If you want an occasional 7 seat MPV with mega fuel economy and a sensibly sized boot, the Toyota Prius+ fits the bill. However it does have some big flaws. It isn’t very pretty, the interior feels cheap, it lacks driver involvement and there is no getting away from the fact that it is expensive. It might be the best hybrid MPV, but it isn’t the best MPV.