2013 Toyota Prius V i-TECH HYBRID owner review

John Andrews
  • Excellent ownership experience
  • Advanced technology even compared to 2022 models
  • Right sized car
  • Could do with a tad more power
  • Lack of Android Auto/CarPlay
  • It is discontinued globally

About the Toyota Prius V

John Andrews purchased this Toyota Prius V used for $40,000 (including all on-road costs) in 2014. John Andrews would buy this car again because: “It is the perfect sized seven-seater for city driving (and long distance) with the Toyota reliability, low running cost of Toyota’s hybrid system, and advanced features that rivals today’s top-grade new cars even though it was built nine years ago. “

How reliable has your car been? Tell us about any issues.

There has been zero issues with the car. The only thing it has had is oil, filter, brake fluid and coolant changes in the nine years I’ve had it. It still runs the same brake disc and pads from new.

The lithium-ion battery has been reliable with zero issues with voltage/internal resistance variation between the cells. It also doesn’t suffer from any overheating issues.

The only known issue if you research the internet that you need to be aware of is that the third-generation Prius 2ZR-FXE can have a blown head gasket if the car has been subjected to overheating. You’ll know this if it rattles badly in the morning but I’ve never had this happen.

Check inside the cylinder wall to check for coolant leaks if you’re in the market for one.

What do you think of the ownership experience with your car?

I purchased this car from Toyota that was the ex-press vehicle at 4000km and 12 months old. Obviously it wasn’t reviewed all that widely, and wasn’t a well understood vehicle.

But as far as ownership experience is concerned, it can be summed up in one word. “Boring” (in a good way).

You fill it up, drive a realistic 600km with a quarter left in the tank, and get ready to keep going. It has an unusually tight turning circle so you’re likely be doing a U turn rather than a three-point turn.

There is a massive following of Prius particularly in the US (and on YouTube) that have a wealth of technical knowledge about the vehicle. So resource are always on hand if you ever need a question answered. Also if you’re handy with the tools, servicing yourself is really no different to a regular car.

There is nothing then and now that can replace this car in any price range. Compact wagons are a dying breed and even more so a seven-seater with manufacturers going the SUV route with the only option for a seven-seater is an oversized SUV or people mover.

Given my parking circumstances, I cannot fit a car larger than 4.6m in the garage or else it lives outside which I am loathed to do because I love keeping the car looking great and out of the elements.

The only points I’d knock off is not specific to the car itself but that the NSW RMS says this Prius is a hybrid or else you’ll be charged more as their system doesn’t see the Prius V as a hybrid. You’ll need a blue slip to change that.

Are you happy with the price and features of your car?

For a car built in 2013 and compared to cars of 2022, yes. It has radar cruise (>45kmh), first variant of AEB (pre-collision system in Toyota speak), LED headlights, rear door retractable blinds, climate control, privacy glass, self parking, head up display, reverse camera with dynamic parking guide (like a Lexus), sat nav, DAB+ digital radio, panoramic sunroof, keyless entry & push button start, seatbelt warning for all seven seats, and heated front seats.

Compare this to even a RAV4 Hybrid Cruiser, and all I’m missing is Android Auto/CarPlay, lane assist, blind-spot monitoring, power tailgate, radar cruise to 0kmh and power driver’s seat. In reality, the only meaningful feature missing is the AA/CP system plus you lose head up display in the RAV4 and comparing a car nine years ago to the present, you really aren’t missing out on much.

The seats are very comfortable even on long drives. Soft-tex “leather” feels and looks as good as new and particularly middle row with individual sliding/reclining seats can realistically fit three people easily without the bum shuffle struggle to put on their seat belt.

Back seats fit a 1.6m adult with ease as well but luggage space will be a struggle with seven on board (get them to carry it on their laps). Just don’t forget it is a 4.6m car. But with the third row down and selectively some second row down, it’d easily fit odd stuff like rims or a lot of Ikea items if that is your struggle.

What do you think of the performance and economy of your car?

Adequate. The power to weight ratio is not ideal and yes you’ll be giving it the beans up Mt Ousley getting out of Wollongong but how often do you need to do that?

Just keep an eye on the coolant temps to avoid overheating. Sydney to Melbourne and back, it’s more than adequate to keep to the speed limit. You just need to be not afraid of stamping on the throttle. Plus you get used to the lower power levels so many reviewers who jump from cars with massive power to this will of course say its slow.

Economy has been in the mid 5.0 to 6.0L/100km and even with petrol prices the way they are, you just don’t feel guilty taking the long way home or taking an extra kid home from soccer.

What do you think of the technology in your car?

Competitive against cars of 2022. Sat nav, digital radio, radar cruise, version 1 of AEB, self parking, head-up display.

The only gripe with radar cruise disengages below 45km/h and you cannot set it at speeds below this. I understand why Toyota did this but it’s only an issue when I was in Melbourne where 40km/h zones are constant and I’d rather be looking at the road rather than the speedometer and speed cameras.

In the nine years since the Prius V has been built, the automotive world hasn’t really gone that far.

What do you think of the ride comfort and handling of your car?

Really comfortable, handling is predictable but toss the standard 16-inch Bridgestone Turanza ER33 tyres in the bin. On standard tyres, they are downright dangerous in a corner with the car slipping into understeer.

Toyota in their right mind only brought in the 16-inch from the base Prius V to Australia however in Japan, there was a 17×7.0-inch variant which I imported and subsequently fitted Bridgestone RE003 in 225/50R17.

Tyres are a major factor of ride and handling and it has transformed it immensely around corners. The ride quality suffered slightly but nothing that adjustments of tyre pressure can’t fix.

Do you have any additional comments about your car?

Having owned it for eight years, any thought of replacing the vehicle always comes back to the same conclusion. There’s nothing out there in the market that can replace what the Prius V offers in terms of packaging, size, low running cost.

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Show Breakdown
Technology 9
Reliability 10
Ride & Handling 8
Price & Features 9.5
Performance & Economy 8.5
Ownership Experience 9.5
Top Line Specs
5 ★
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