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2011-2012 Toyota Prius V hybrid will get an exhaust problem fixed

Consumer Reports News: April 16, 2012 02:08 PM

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.)

Consumer Reports experts recently tested the Prius V wagon and noted a very good fuel rating of about 41 mpg. That's a small drop compared to the 44 mpg results from Toyota's older Prius sedan, one of the top three Best and worst cars for fuel economy in Consumer Reports' annual April auto issue.

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.

Check out Consumer Reports Guide to fuel economy for ideas on how to save money at the gas pump. And if you're shopping for a new fuel-efficient vehicle, check out Consumer Reports' Guide to alternative fuels.

Toyota announces service campaign to fix exhaust on 28,000 Prius V hybrids [AutoBlog]
Toyota to Correct Flaw in Prius Exhaust Systems [Wall Street Journal]

Paul Eng

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