2012 Toyota Prius c
The growth of the Toyota Prius family from its quirky, original sedan roots, to the current hatchback, and even spreading its technology into the Lexus brand, has been interesting to watch. But it’s about to get a whole lot more so.
Soon to go on sale, is the 2012 Toyota Prius C. This subcompact hatchback will be the entry-level Prius and will offer better city fuel economy than any non-plug-in hybrid currently available, with mileage ratings of 53-City, 46-Highway, and 50-Combined.
The C-for-city is 19 inches shorter, and some 500 pounds lighter than the current Prius, and is powered by a smaller version of Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive system. Total system output from its 1.5-liter Atkinson-cycle I4 and 45-killowatt electric motor is a modest 99 horsepower. Batteries are nickel-metal hydride, not more advanced lithium-ion, with the pack located under the rear seats.
Based on a shortened Yaris chassis, suspension is a mix of Macpherson struts up front and torsion beam rear. While it promises to be a little more entertaining to drive than its big brother, it still feels best when scooting around town.
BEN DAVIS: Its light weight and short dimensions really help out in parking situations and u-turns. And surprisingly, even though the horsepower numbers are low, I didn’t feel a need to have more power; it’s plenty strong for a vehicle with such incredible miles per gallon.
The C’s stylish interior is clearly aimed at the youth market, with contrasting colors that help to brighten up the otherwise dark cabin. Bluetooth and keyless entry are standard, while Navigation and Toyota’s Entune infotainment systems are available. 9-airbags are standard, and 17.1 cubic-feet of cargo will fit under the c’s rear hatch.
The exterior bears more than a little resemblance to the Prius, but it too displays more of a youthful attitude, with a wide athletic stance that looks more sporty than eco-conscious. The new Toyota Prius C will go on sale in March with a prices starting near $19,000.
Engine: 1.5-liter Atkinson-cycle I4 and 45-killowatt electric motor
Price: Starting near $19,000