Toyota Prius +

The Essentials

  • Price from £26,195
  • What Car? says: 3 star rating
  • Fuel economy: up to 68.9mpg
  • What is it? A seven-seat hybrid MPV that

Great

  • Hybrid engine is green and should sip fuel
  • Low emissions make it an affordable company car
  • Versatile seating should prevent squabbles in the back

Gripes

  • Expensive for a private buyer
  • All the refinement of a seaside donkey
  • Interior plastics feel cheaper than the car's price warrants
  • Drive

    Uninspiring to drive but shifts seamlessly between electric and petrol power

  • Inside

    Glass roof helps the cabin feel airy and visibility is excellent

  • Safety

    All the features we'd want in an MPV are fitted

  • Reliability

    Toyota's reputation is superb so it shouldn't present problems

  • Space

    Flexible seating for five, with two extra seats in the boot for added versatility

  • Standard and extras

    All the luxuries you'd expect in a car at this price: a reversing camera, a head-up display and a panoramic roof

  • What's it like to drive?

    Using the same 1.8 petrol engine as the regular Prius, but alongside a more efficient battery, the Prius+ is the cleanest MPV on sale. It doesn't have much get up and go unless you select Power mode, in which case your fuel consumption will get up and go too.

    The Prius + is best kept for town driving, where the car's light steering and stable handling makes it easy to drive. On faster roads the engine makes a real song and dance about accelerating and once you're up to speed far too much wind noise reaches the cabin.

  • What's it like inside?

    It's easy to find a good driving position in the Prius+ and from there you'll enjoy a great view out of the bright cabin. All the controls are where you'd expect to find them and there's a touch-screen system for the infotainment system. Unfortunately, navigating the menus is fiddly and the icons require fingertip accuracy which isn't always easy when you're keeping your eyes on the road.

    Five adults will fit inside and all three rear seats fold, slide and recline individually for maximum versatility. The third row of two seats is fine for children or petite types and these fold down to extend the boot.

    Both models are well equipped with a panoramic glass roof, Bluetooth, a reversing camera and head-up display. Top-spec cars add sat-nav and leather seats.

  • How reliable is it?

    Despite the cheap feel to many of the cabin plastics we're not worried: Toyota regularly appears near the top of reliability surveys. The Prius hatchback was rated top family car and third overall in the 2012 JD Power customer satisfaction survey, too.

    Safety features are good and include seven airbags, stability control and Isofix child seat points on all three middle-row seats. The hatchback scored five stars in Euro NCAP crash tests.

  • Should I buy one?

    The Prius+ looks expensive compared with a Vauxhall Zafira Tourer, but running costs will be cheaper: even in real-world tests the Prius+ has achieved 54.6mpg. Company drivers will benefit most, thanks to the car's low emissions which keep BIK (benefit in kind) tax bills low. And for MPV buyers worried about their carbon footprint, it's the obvious choice.