Wednesday, December 9, 2015

It is a Wagon, Not a Minivan


If your job is to write words to describe something, in a news organization, then accuracy is as important tone. Now yes, this article from 2013 but it came up on my usual Prius alerts and I read it and felt like I had to add my thoughts to this.

Something called "G. R. Whale" wrote review of the Prius v recently which seemed to me to be chock full of nuggets of stupid.

Allow me to elaborate. And let's start right at the top with the headline and tagline...
Toyota Prius v: A five-passenger minivan
Whale on Wheels
It's not a minivan. It's a wagon.

And if you want me to explain why, here goes. A Minivan has seats that are higher than the Prius v's. A Minivan has a sliding door on one or both sides behind the front doors. A Minivan has a higher roof line than the Prius v.

None of this is meant as an indictment of the v. I've always rather liked the v and enjoyed driving them. I think it's a great car if you have the money and want a giant sized, well, large Prius. And I've always liked the wagon format. When I was a kid, my family had a few of them and this updated wagon is very nicely done.

And then, the first sentence...
Toyota probably didn't envision the Prius v as a replacement for a minivan but if you don't need that sixth or seventh seat it's nearly ideal as a daily runabout. 
Well, I can't I know what Toyota envisioned but I can say, since I was one of the first Americans to drive this car and hear from Toyota what they thought was great about the v, that yes, they did envision as it a competitor to minivans. It's not a minivan, it's an option to choosing one if this form factor works for your family.
It's easy to mistake the v for a wagon version of the Prius but this is only partially accurate.  
 Well, it's actually totally accurate.
The issue in most hybrids is tuning the brake-pedal induced regeneration to be as smooth, efficient and transparent as possible, and the v shows Toyota's been doing this for a while. Use the "B" transmission setting for maximum regeneration, a bit of common sense and you'll soon maximize economy without compromising time.
And that bit above is complete and utter word salad. It's meaningless blather. Ignore it all.
If you define a car by how big a smile it brings from the driver's seat a Prius v is inoffensively boring. If practical, efficient, not-terribly-expensive transportation is your definition, the Prius v serves exceptionally well.
Is this good, or bad, or both? Or something else. Once again, G. R. Whale only confounds where plainly offered information would suffice.

And this is the last sentence and paragraph to the article, which, is odd.
Whale, a longtime Ventura County resident, has been breaking parts for 35 years and writing about it for 27.
All righty then.