Prius V-Dux: We Get the Year’s Second Toyota Prius V

Sections: Car Audio, Car Safety, Infotainment

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2013 Toyota Prius V Photo Shoot 011

(Lyndon Johnson photo)

Toyota sent us a 2013 Toyota Prius V recently — the second Prius V we’ve tested this year. Though it was prettier than our previous gray 2012 tester, I don’t think that is what swayed me to like it more the second time around.

There was one notable option package our most recent Toyota Prius V had that our last Prius did not. The dead giveaway: a glass roof. That was neat and everything, but I didn’t retract the shade that covered it much because of the ability of the huge glass panel to turn the Prius V’s greenhouse into a real greenhouse on the near-100-degree days of my test week.

2013 Toyota Prius V Photo Shoot 012

This glass roof is a giveaway that our 2013 Prius V features a JBL eight-speaker audio system and other tech goodies our 2012 Prius V tester did not have. The roof also turns the Prius V’s greenhouse into a real greenhouse, temperature-wise, on hot summer days. (Lyndon Johnson photo)

The meat of the $5,650 package was in the details, however: Where our 2012 Prius V was also a “Five” model just like this one, the option package added better-sounding JBL audio and a larger touchscreen (seven inches versus 6.1), the latter providing access to SiriusXM radio and related services including NavTraffic and NavWeather as well as stock prices and sports scores. The package also featured Toyota’s Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Pre-Collision System, and Advanced Parking Guidance System — none of which was on the Monroney for our 2012 Prius V tester.

Is all that worth an extra $5,650? Depends on what you want. The JBL audio system definitely delivered higher-quality sound at all volumes, especially when I felt like rolling down the windows and cranking it up on a rare cool afternoon. Where our previous Prius V’s stock audio system was respectable, featuring six speakers that did an okay job at low-to-moderate sound levels, it showed its weaknesses when similarly cranked. Namely, there was a fair amount of distortion across the spectrum. The eight JBL GreenEdge speakers in the more recent Prius V maintained much more of their sound quality all the way up the volume range.

That improved sound quality was only one part of why I liked the car better the second time around. I think the other part was more a mental thing. As I talked about in my last series of reviews of the Prius V, the car requires a bit of psychology to overcome the power usage meter in the center gauge cluster. This being my second time around, I did a much better job ignoring it and enjoyed the driving experience all the more for it. More about that in a later review.

Disclosure: Toyota provided the vehicle, insurance, and a tank of gas.

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