Toyota’s confusing path with the Prius brand continues with the launch in the summer of the Prius+ (Prius Plus), a people-carrying Prius with a couple of extra seats in the boot for kids.
Why, when the UK gets the Toyota Yaris Hybrid instead of the Prius C, has Toyota decided to bring another Prius to the UK instead of a hybrid version of the 7-seat Verso?
We don’t get the whole Prius strategy; yes, it made sense when Toyota first took the car world the hybrid route to have an eco statement car with odd styling that stood out as a green haloed eco car. But surely it’s better to offer the hybrid powertrain in its existing range – as in the Yaris hybrid and Auris hybrid – than churn out Prius variants that are similar in size and spec to existing Toyotas?
But Toyota Prius+ it is (even though it’s the same car the Americans get as the Prius V, but with 5 seats instead of 7) and extra seats for kids in the boot of the stretched (but not by much) Prius is what you get. You also get the same 1.8 litre Atkinson Hybrid setup with CVT ‘box, which isn’t lively in the Prius and promises to be slothful in the Prius+.
Entry-level for the Prius+ is the T4 at £26,195. It gets 16″ alloys, Toyota Touch, Bluetooth, heads up display, rear view camera, Climate, electric windows, electric folding mirrors, panoramic roof, auto wipers and LED running lights. It also does the one thing it should and comes in at 96g/km, meaning no congestion charge.
The only other offering is the Prius+ T Spirit which adds 17″ alloys, black leather, Toyota Touch and Go Plus SatNav, 8-speaker sound, Bluetooth and voice recognition.
The problem is that the Prius+ T Spirit actually emits 101g/km, so it’s only real selling point – that it’s free to drive in cities having a congestion charge – is lost. And at nearly £30k (£29,495) it’s an awful lot of money for a 5+2 people carrier.
Yes, headline economy may say 60-odd mpg, but with a Prius+ full of people and stuff you’ll be lucky to get 40mpg in the real world. And at £30k it’s massively more expensive than anything comparable. An entry-level 7-seat Verso will cost you £18k and even the all-singing, all-dancing Verso will be £4k less than the Prius+ T Spirit.
We can see the Toyota Prius+ T4 selling to families and businesses in London. But what’s the market for the 101g/km, £30k Prius+ T Spirit?
Toyota Prius+ Photo Gallery
(11 photos – click any thumbnail for full gallery)