Toyota Prius Plus 2020 review

Find out more about the Toyota Prius Plus in the latest Motors.co.uk Review

£23,268
Average price
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3
Out of 5

Pros

  • Roomy interior
  • Low running costs
  • Loads of standard kit

Cons

  • Based on old Prius
  • Quite expensive
  • Dim-witted CVT gearbox
  • MPG

    0 - 0

  • CO2

    0 - 0 g/km

Model review

The Toyota Prius helped to create the Japanese manufacturer’s predominantly hybrid line-up that we know today, and it’s not surprising that the firm looked to expand into other markets with its Prius model. 

So alongside the quirky hatchback-cross-saloon bodystyle that the Prius is known for, Toyota introduced a new ‘+’ plus model in 2012, which was a larger car that was the first hybrid seven-seat MPV to be sold in Europe. When new it offered sub-100g/km CO2 emissions that gave it free road tax and exemption from London’s Congestion Charge – making it a big hit in the capital. 

And despite changes to the Congestion Charge now meaning that the Prius Plus is no longer exempt, it remains popular in urban areas, not least as a taxi or minicab due to its impeccable reliability.

Latest model

While Toyota may have launched a new fourth-generation in Prius, the Plus model continues to be based on the previous third-generation model – a car that debuted all the way back in 2009. That’s reflected in its somewhat outdated-looking design, though you still get an impressive amount of tech as standard.

So changes to the Prius+ haven’t been huge, but it’s a model that’s been revised throughout its lifetime, bringing additions such as a smoother gearbox and touchscreen system. 

The most recent update in 2018 brought a reduced trim level range along with the firm’s Safety Sense system, including adaptive cruise control, road sign assist and high beam assist. 

But with no replacement for the Prius+ looking likely, you should act quickly if you want a new version of this hybrid people carrier. 

Value for money

Prices for the Prius+ start from £27,900, which is quite a lot of money for what is essentially an eight-year-old MPV. Though you do get a generous amount of standard equipment –particularly when it comes to safety kit – it’s not what you’d call great value, especially in top-spec Excel trim. 

It does hold its value quite well, though, with even the oldest high-mileage examples costing above £7,000, while a 2012 car with around 50,000 miles on the clock would still set you back £9,000. 

However, great savings are available on nearly-new models, with up to £6,000 available off six-month-old examples. Just be aware that quite a few Prius+ models have been imported over from Japan, which might make them look like they’ve been registered later than they actually were. 

Looks and image

Given the Prius+ is based on the standard Prius that was discontinued more than four years ago, it’s not surprising that this MPV isn’t at the forefront of cutting-edge design. The exterior look, while entirely inoffensive, is quite bland and unsurprisingly looks a bit outdated now. That said, high-spec Excel versions are the ones to go for if you want something more stylish – these adding larger alloy wheels and privacy glass. 

The interior hasn’t aged quite as badly as you might think, though, as all versions get an LCD display in the centre of a dash, along with a touchscreen, though it lacks modern features like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It’s also not a particularly high-quality interior, though feels durable and dependable, which is important for a car aimed at families and the taxi market. 

The Prius+ also prioritises ease of driving above all else behind the wheel, with a comfortable ride both around town and even on motorways. It’s not much fun to drive, but that’s likely to be of little importance to anyone looking at owning one. 

Space and practicality

The Prius+ certainly had a trick up its sleeve when it debuted in 2012 as the only hybrid seven-seat MPV, and even eight years later that remains the case. It’s not the most spacious of MPVs, but Toyota has done well to cram in the electrified powertrain and retain something still quite practical. With seven seats in place, the boot measures around 200 litres, but drop the rear seats and it opens up 700 litres of room, or 1,750 with just two seats in place. 

The third row of seats are quite cramped, and best-suited to children, but adults could use them for small trips. However, the second row has plenty of room, while individually folding and sliding rear seats makes it quite a versatile MPV. 

Engines 

There’s just one powertrain available on the Prius+, which pairs a 1.8-litre petrol engine with an electric motor and battery to produce a total of 134bhp, with a CVT automatic being the gearbox of choice. 

It’s not the quickest, but should offer enough pace in most scenarios – 0-60mph taking 11.1 seconds and reaching a top speed of 103mph. Just be aware that the gearbox limits progress and sounds rather loud under heavy acceleration. 

Running costs

With a different way of measuring efficiency, known as WLTP, being introduced in recent years, it might seem that the Prius+ isn’t quite as efficient as it once was, though the new way of measuring is now far more accurate. 

So Toyota now claims this MPV can now return 48.7mpg, with CO2 emissions of 132g/lm. Neither of those figures are bad, and while it might seem like a diesel MPV could be more efficient in paper, it’s worth considering the Prius+’s efficiency around town, where the hybrid system works best. It also sits in relatively low insurance groups as well of group 11 or 12, depending on trim level. 

Things to look out for

Toyota has a brilliant reliability reputation, and while a hybrid system might seem complex, they’ve been found to be impressively trouble-free. It means that the Prius+ should prove to be very dependable, while if you’re looking at a newer model it comes with a five year, 100,000-mile warranty. 

If you also have it serviced at a Toyota main dealer on an annual basis (or every 10,000 miles), then Toyota will cover the Prius+ for up to 15 years after first registration. 

Rivals 

As we’ve mentioned the Prius+ is the only hybrid seven-seater MPV currently available, so its main people carrier rivals all adopt conventional petrol and diesel powertrains. Other worthy options to consider are the Citroen Grand C4 Spacetourer, Volkswagen Touran or Renault Grand Scenic

Smaller hybrid options worth having a look at include the Mercedes B250e plug-in hybrid and Kia Niro, which is available as a hybrid, plug-in hybrid or EV

Depreciation

While the Prius+ suffers from steep depreciation initially on new models, as it gets older it holds its value well – helped by strong demand in the used market. That’s shown in the number of versions that have been imported over from Japan, too. 

Trims explained

Two trim levels are available on the Prius+, with all versions coming very well-equipped. Kit highlights and pricing are as follows.

Icon

As standard it comes with Toyota’s comprehensive Safety Sense system, which brings autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, high beam assist and blind spot monitoring. It also comes with keyless start and entry, a reversing camera, seven-inch touchscreen and leather steering wheel. Other features include climate control, 16-inch alloy wheels and electrically folding mirrors.

From £27,900

Excel

Upgrade to the Excel to get larger 17-inch alloy wheels, rear privacy glass, heated front seats and part leather upholstery. You also gain satellite navigation, rear sunblinds and park assist.

From £30,225

Summary

  1. The only hybrid seven-seat MPV
  2. Low running costs
  3. Comfortable
  4. Spacious interior
  5. Outdated design
  6. Based on the old Prius model
  7. Quite expensive to buy new…
  8. But generous savings on nearly-new examples
  9. Great reliability reputation
  10. An interesting alternative to a conventional people carrier

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