<iframe width="640" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/29u7f6GiQqk" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>• Highest rated city fuel economy of any vehicle without a plug
• Introduces proven hybrid powertrain at MSRP below $19,000
• Wide array of available convenience and premium technology
Following the U.S. debut of the all-new 2012 Prius c at the 2012 North American International Auto Show here, Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc., plans to bring this dynamically styled, five-door hatchback to market in March of 2012, and introduce Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive to the subcompact segment.
The letter “c” represents “city” in the Prius c name. Designed to function as an urban-friendly vehicle with an engaging driving experience, hatchback utility, and a city fuel economy rating of 53 mpg, Prius c offers the highest city mpg rating of any vehicle without a plug. The all-new Prius c joins the Prius Family, which includes the third generation Prius Liftback, the versatile new Prius v and the Prius Plug-in Hybrid, which will debut in early 2012.
Beginning with the first generation fourteen years ago, over two million Prius units have been sold worldwide. Prius remains the world’s premier eco-vehicle brand, and has made great strides establishing consumer trust in hybrid technology. With Prius c, Toyota will make the market’s most proven hybrid technology available to subcompact car shoppers with a starting MSRP below $19,000.
Unique Place in the Prius Family
A gateway product into the Prius Family, the new Prius c will find favor with younger shoppers seeking a smartly designed, fuel-efficient subcompact car packing advanced drivetrain and in-car technology. The Prius c will offer engaging driving dynamics with superior urban maneuverability. When the 2012 Prius c arrives in showrooms this spring, the all-new hatchback will offer:
-The highest rated city fuel economy estimate of any vehicle without a plug*; 53 mpg in the city, and 46 mpg on the highway, for a combined rating of 50 mpg
-The most accessible Prius will feature a starting MSRP below $19,000 with proven hybrid powertrain and premium technology
-A premium subcompact car experience thanks to a wide array of available convenience and advanced in-car electronics features, including a standard 3.5-in. full color TFT multi-information display, hands-free phone capability, USB port with iPod® connectivity, and available Display Audio system with Navigation and Entune™
The scale of the all-new Prius c becomes apparentwhen compared to the familiar proportions of the midsize Prius Liftback. The Prius c is smaller and lighter than its midsize Prius stable mate with 19.1 inches less length (157.3 vs. 176.4 inches OAL) and 542 lbs. less weight than the Prius Liftback (2,500 vs. 3,042 lbs.). In adapting the Hybrid Synergy Drive to the smaller Prius c platform, each of the system’s major components were re-designed to reduce weight, scale, and improve efficiency.
The style-oriented arm of Toyota has just announced a new lineup of accessories for the Prius c, which is sold as the Aqua in Japan.
Already looking like a slightly-cooler Yaris, the Prius c gets a new aero kit, complete with a front lip, rear lip and side skirts with chrome detailing. In addition come new wheels, not to mention a mild roof spoiler.
2012 Toyota Prius C - First Drive ReviewConclusion: Great hybrid; intriguing subcompact
For green car enthusiasts on a tight budget (and, yes, they are enthusiasts), this is a no brainer. The Prius C is a good hybrid -- a damn good hybrid, actually. And even in fully equipped, Prius C Four trim, it costs $23,990 -- about the same as a stripped out, fleet-only version of the full-size Prius.
For the average subcompact or compact car buyer, the picture is a bit hazier. As with the regular Prius, the C competes against more luxurious, more comfortable, and better driving gasoline-engine cars. A $19,710 hatchback with steel wheels is hard to swallow in this age of "premium" small cars. The fuel savings, though certainly meaningful in this price sensitive segment, are still not quite enough to offset the additional initial investment. According to our paper napkin calculations, it would take about six years of driving 20,000 miles per year to make up the difference between a Prius C and a base Fiesta (assuming $4-a-gallon gas). Even so, the Prius C is an interesting -- and we think very worthwhile -- experiment in the subcompact segment. Just as premium small cars like the Fiesta and the Mini Cooper have brought the performance, luxury, and style of bigger cars to entry-level buyers, the Prius C makes the hard-to-measure but very real appeal of virtuousness more affordable.
2012 Toyota Prius C - First DriveThe Yaris begets a smaller, lighter Prius for people with smaller, lighter wallets.
So we also drove the C like a hyper-green Prius driver, constantly pecking the EV button, accelerating so slowly we wanted to honk at ourselves, and approaching stops as if there was a three-inch nail sticking out of the brake pedal. Oddly, shifting the transmission into B, which slows the car more aggressively and feeds more energy to the batteries, turns off EV mode. Eco mode is also an option, but in it the slipping-clutch feel of the CVT is augmented by a throttle so lazy you’ll think the throttle cable must be stretching, if only the car were so ancient to have a throttle cable. Doing our Eco best on a 15-mile loop, we managed an indicated 55 mpg. It could have been higher but for a moment’s indiscretion during which we accelerated to 70 under wide-open throttle. [wince] Going up a steep hill. (As the miles pass, fidelity only gets harder.) The good news is that the Prius C actually is capable of accelerating to 70 mph uphill. We weren’t sure it’d be able to. The bad news is that, at no point during our 15-mile slug run did any other driver flash their lights, flick us off, or stick their head out the window and yell, “Get a move on, loser!” We’d feel better about America if someone had.
First Drive > 2012 Toyota Prius CThe C stands for City, Compact, Compatible...
Although our stint with the 2012 Toyota Prius C was short, the real benefits will be bestowed onto owners who’ll own these cars for years. This smaller, livelier chassis is just the shot in the arm the Prius brand, and Toyota, need to stay relevant for the near-term future. The fact that it gets its efficiency effortlessly, and in a perfectly usable package, is just icing on the cake.
2012 Toyota Prius C: Drive ReviewBaby Of The Family Will Play A Big Role
Add it all up and the question remains: Will all these numbers be enough to motivate tens of thousands – or hundreds of thousands – of people to buy a Prius C? It certainly seems to be the case in Japan, where demand is outstripping supply. Ogiso said that Toyota can build up to 60,000 Liftback or V models and up to 30,000 C models each month. That's well over a million Priuses a year, which is a target that Toyota has set for itself, but not yet reached.
These lofty numbers show that Toyota is ready to reach quite high, and we can see the company actually achieving its targets before too long. After all, the Prius C is still a Prius – a popular car – and one that'll offer over 50 miles per gallon while starting at under $19,000. However you calculate it, that will sell.
Pre-Production Review: 2012 Toyota Prius cPuniest Prius gets 53 mpg in the city
Most things on the Prius C are geared toward efficiency, and with EPA mileage figures expected to be 53 mpg city/46 mpg highway/50 mpg combined, Toyota has really succeeded in this regard. The 53 mpg city is the best on the market without a plug-in battery helping. Ogiso-san said a plug-in hybrid was not possible in this configuration, but then quickly admitted that this car comes with a compact spare tire under the rear floor that you could potentially take out and then stuff another battery in its place. As it is, you can drive up to a mile and a half in EV mode as long as you ease on the throttle and don't exceed 26 mph. So it's good for sneaking back into the house late at night, should the need arise. Just don't set off the alarm.
There is still the common $5,000 premium for a hybrid compared with the cost of the same car with a standard gasoline-powered drivetrain. But with the Prius C, the entry cost for the hybrid segment has been opened up to a whole new range of buyers. The Prius C starts at $19,710, including destination, for a pretty well-equipped C One. A regular Prius starts at a little more than $23,000. The C Four (explosive!) gets a bunch of stuff you don't need, such as alloy wheels and fog lamps, for $23,990. We'd say the C Three is a pretty good deal, with navigation, Entune and the nice display screen for $22,395.
<iframe width="640" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/kMoBRB1ToMM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>During our 140 miles with the Prius c (split between all four models of the Prius c) on city streets, windy mountain roads and 70MPH highway runs, we were unable to get the Prius c to drop below 50MPG and averaged a very respectable 53MPG overall with the A/C in constant use. That puts the c easily ahead of the regular Prius’ real-world MPG and more than 20MPG ahead of the 2012 Toyota Yaris 5-door’s combined score. Here we come full-circle to the Yaris hybrid concept. If you’re shopping the Yaris as an economical vehicle, the “Prius c Two” makes a compelling argument. While the Prius is $3,640 more expensive than the similarly equipped Yaris LE, it delivers 60% better fuel economy, an improved interior with more room, and no real sacrifices aside from a steeper price. If you drive 15,000 miles a year it would take only 5 years (or 75,000 miles) to break even when compared with the Yaris (or most other compact hatchbacks) based on California’s high gas prices. While I’m unconvinced that the Prius c will provide much excitement for the urban Gen Y buyer, I have little doubt it will prove an extremely economical vehicle to own in the long run and is worth serious consideration by anyone shopping for a subcompact hatch and in the process Toyota might just dominate the world.
The C Gets an A
What Works (pros):
Excellent mpg at a reasonable price; solid handling; good seating position and driving environment; offers most options we want; real shifter and parking brake.
What Needs Work (cons):
Slower than we'd like; odd "Premium" seat fabric and dash treatment in the high-zoot C Four; regen system still makes haunted house noise.
With high mpg at a low price, this is our new favorite Prius; only cabbies are likely to be put off by the smaller size of the backseat.