Toyota Motor Corp. announced a service campaign to fix its brand new Prius V, a wagon-like vehicle in its wildly popular gas-electric hybrid line. Similar to the hybrid sedan, the roomier Prius V captures the "waste heat" from its exhaust system. However, flawed components in the recovery system may cause the Prius V to leak engine coolant.
According to the Wall Street Journal's report, Toyota blames weak exhaust actuators for the problem in about 28,000 Prius V hybrids worldwide. About 8,000 of the 2011-2012 hybrid wagons are in Japan, where its sold as the Prius Alpha. The campaign will replace the weak actuators in the exhaust-heat-recovery systems for free.
The exhaust waste heat recovery system is used on Toyota's gas-electric hybrid engine to keep its engine warm when turned off. This in turn improves the hybrids' fuel efficiency by decreasing the amount of fuel needed during a cold engine start. (For more information, see Consumer Reports' Hybrids 101: Guide to gasoline-electric hybrid cars and powertrains.)
The Prius sedan has been a popular vehicle in both the U.S. and Japanese markets, this is the first model year for the Prius V and the lighter compact Prius C hatchback. However, our Cars experts advise in Consumer Reports new car buying advice to avoid first-generation car models.