2012 Toyota Prius V: In An Alternative World, It Has 7 Seats

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Have you ever wondered what life would be like if one tiny thing in your world changed? For example, what if you earned more money? Or had a different name? 

What if Toyota made a 7-seat version of its Prius V wagon? 

We can’t tell you what life would be life with more money or a different name, but we can help you with the 7-seat Prius V bit. 

Because it’s real. At least if you live in Europe or Japan. And it’s called the 2012 Prius Plus in Europe, or the Prius Alpha in Japan.

Same car, different idea

Outwardly, the 2012 Toyota Prius Plus is indistinguishable from the U.S. spec 2012 Toyota Prius V. 

Look inside however, and there’s an extra row of seats squeezed in where the load bay should be. 

The idea, Toyota says, is to offer MPV-mad Europeans and Japanese buyers the chance to buy a car that retains the excellent gas mileage of the original Prius, but also gives them the extra seats they need.

Powered by the same 98 horsepower 1.8-liter Atkinson cycle, 4-cylinder engine and 60-kilowatt motor found in the 2012 Toyota Prius V, there’s a total of 134 horsepower available to get you from 0 to 62 mph in 11.3 seconds. 

Since it isn’t sold in the U.S., the 2012 Prius Plus doesn’t have official EPA gas mileage figures. While it varies in weight slightly from the 2012 Prius V, we’d guess it should easily manage the same 42 mpg combined of its U.S. cousin. 

Like the 2012 Toyota Prius V, there’s the same instrument cluster, dual-zone climate controls and navigation system, while the middle row of seats benefit from fore and aft adjustment as well as the ability to recline. 

It’s worth noting however, that the middle row of seats in the Prius Plus are individually adjustable with a 30:30:30 split, versus the Prius V’s 60:40 split.

This makes it possible to carry long items down the center of the car while still being able to carry passengers. 

2012 Toyota Prius Plus Battery

2012 Toyota Prius Plus Battery

Enlarge Photo

Goodbye NiMh

In order to squeeze an extra row of seats into the same 181.6 inch frame as the Prius V, Toyota’s engineers had to relocate the car’s traction battery pack. 

But the nickel-metal hydride battery pack found in every non-plug-in Toyota Prius since the original sedan proved just too big to put anywhere else in the car, so Toyota engineers were left with one alternative: replace it with a lithium-ion battery

Repackaged, the Prius Plus’ smaller, 56-cell lithium-ion battery pack is some 17 pounds lighter than the V’s nickel-metal hydride pack, and fits in between the front two seats underneath the center console. 

The result? A Prius that packs two extra seats but doesn’t loose the ability to carry large cargo when the rear seats are folded flat. 

Admittedly, the center console only has a storage area big enough for a folded map or a few compact discs, but we feel the moved battery pack -- now mid-car -- results in improved road handling.

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Comments (14)
  1. "0 to 62 mph in 11.3 seconds" is without the 7 passengers. With 7 Passengers, it is more like 13 or 14 secs. That is a safety hazard.

  2. Most people who carry 7 people routinely care less about MPG, more about thing such as safety, comfort, power, features, values and hauling space/capacity...

  3. Toyota, in this alternate world I will buy your vehicle. I want 6+ seats and 40+ MPG. Nothing on the market comes close to this requirement.
    I need a car that does double duty hauling many kids to activities and good MPG for the commute to work.

    Here's to hoping either Toyota brings this to the US or Ford seizes the day with a seven passenger C-MAX

  4. Would I buy a Prius Plus if it was offered in the US? Maybe. I am a Prius (2005) owner whose kids are all grown and living all over the country. I will be in the market for a new car soon, and it will definitely be a hybrid, preferably a PHEV. We travel by car to see our children and grandchildren often, and often take large amounts of stuff with us when we travel. When our kids come to see us, especially those from Oregon, we have to borrow a friends minivan to pick them up at an airport 3-5 hours away. We look forward to the day when we can take our grandchildren for extended trips. For all of those purposes, a 7 seater would be great. If Toyota ever makes a PHEV Prius Plus 7 seater for the US market, we'll be the first in line.

  5. I would absolutely buy a 7 seater Prius. I've spent the last year looking for a 7 seat wagon that had good mileage. Most of the time I just need to take my own kids around and pick up groceries. But there are plenty of time I needed the seats for 2 more small passengers. It is unbelievably aggravating to be directed towards a monster SUV or Minivan with terrible gas mileage. I know dozes of other parents in exactly the same boat. If Toyota were to bring this thing here they'd clean up. Maybe they'd have trouble in Texas, but Californians would eat it up.

  6. I live in Texas and I own a 2009 Prius. I'm waiting for the Prius Plus to become available here before I buy another Toyota.

    It seems to me that Toyota is attempting to "force" Americans to buy thier minivan or SUVs by not offering the 7-seater Prius. Well, that ain't happening. I'm done buying cars that get less than 30mpg.

    I will buy a Prius Plus if and when it becomes available in the U.S. Otherwise, I've bought my last Toyota.

  7. I would love to see 7 passenger Toyota Prius.

    Ideally I want really high gas mileage and 7 passenger (mostly kids). I am not price-sensitive. Any suggestions?

  8. We would most likely buy one if it were available in the U.S. We need the 7-passenger capacity, want something that pollutes less and saves gas, and like the smaller MPV profile. I think it is crazy that car makers are ruling out the US for MPVS. If someone were to give it a shot, I think they'd be surprised. People are looking for alternatives to bigger cars and there really isn't an alternative in the 7-seat class. We rented an MPV in Eurupe and loved it.

  9. I would totally buy one.

  10. I would buy it. I will be shopping in two years. My current Camry Hybrid is wonderful!

  11. Found the Prius+ when in France and checked out the Toyota showroom on the Champs Elysee. So jealous that they have this and we don't I would love to have this vehicle. The Highlander hybrid is not equivalent. I don't need all 7 seats all the time, but when I do I want the option of the better mpg and seating vs. only the 7 seats and relatively terrible mpg of the highlander hybrid. Wake up Japan--we aren't all giants and space hungry!!

  12. We don't need the 7 seats all the time either, but we would definitely buy the Prius when it becomes available in the US. Cramming 3 kids into one row in a Prius V won't work every day, as they sometimes need their space too. Getting a Prius would double our gas mileage, which is a huge help to our budget.

  13. this is the car i am looking for. need extra seats for kids, don't want a truck or minivan. have a prius now and those of us who have been driving a prius for years can't go back to regular mileage cars. this car would meet our needs!

  14. I have 4 children and I want this vehicle. I'm so disappointed they don't sell it in the U.S. The Highlander hybrid gas mileage is better than a minivan, but it still doesn't compare to the Prius Plus.

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