Advertisement
Go
2012 Toyota Prius C Photo

2012 Toyota Prius C - Review

 
 Get email updates
What will I get by subscribing to email updates?

At The Car Connection we are continually striving to get you timely, relevant information about the vehicle you are interested in. Our email updates will notify you whenever we have new information on this vehicle.

For example:

  • new car reviews for this model by our editors
  • news including price changes, new models, or recall info
  • new incentives and rebates that are being offered for this vehicle

Our goal is to keep you informed as you research!
Interested in purchasing?Browse Used Listings
 
7.0
/ 10
TCC Rating
How does the
TCC Rating work?
The TCC Rating is a clear numeric rating value based on a 10-point scale that reflects the overall opinion of our automotive experts on any vehicle and rolls up ratings we give each vehicle across sub-categories you care about like performance, safety, styling and more.

Our rating also has simple color-coded “Stop” (red), “Caution” (orange),
or “Go” (green) messages along with the numerical score so you can easily understand where we stand at a glance.

Our automotive experts then also collect and show you what other websites say about these different aspects of any vehicle. We do this leg work for you to simplify your research process.

Learn more about how we rate and review cars here.

?
BASE
INVOICE
$18,003
BASE
MSRP
$18,950
Quick Take
The 2012 Toyota Prius C takes full advantage of the other Prius models' hybrid system, but it's smaller, leaner and--perhaps most importantly--more affordable. Read more »
7.0 out of 10
The Car Connection
2012 Toyota Prius C, as shown at 2011 Tokyo Motor Show
7.0
/ 10
TCC Rating
MSRP from $18,950
Browse Used Listings

Browse Toyota Prius C inventory in your area.

SEE LOCAL CLASSIFIEDS

The Basics:

Toyota sells far more hybrids than anyone else, thanks mainly to its iconic Prius and its industry-leading (for non plug-ins) 50-mpg EPA Combined mileage rating. But this year, it's different; Toyota has rounded out the Prius line with two new body styles. First, there's the Prius V, a larger wagon version, which arrived earlier this model year; and now the 2012 Prius C has arrived, appealing to those who want a simpler, more compact car.

With a more familiar, traditional small-car profile and package, yet the same best-in-class 50-mpg figure (actually 53 mpg city, 46 highway)—matched with a base price of just $19,710—the Prius C should attract a wider swath of value-conscious motorists.

As the third (and smallest) unique body style in the Prius family, the Prius C is about 157 inches long and 67 inches wide. It's closer in size to the Toyota Yaris Liftback than to the Toyota Matrix—meaning it's a true subcompact, and you get all the maneuverability and parking advantages. Matched with that more ordinary five-door profile is a smooth, low front end and drawn-back headlamps that closely resemble those used in the rest of the Prius lineup. Meanwhile, the new Prius C doesn't look all that much different than Toyota's somewhat less expensive Yaris, in profile and from some angles. The look is somewhat slab-sided by today's standard, but there is an upkick just in front of the rear wheels. In back, the look is typical for the class, with vertical taillamps and a spoiler smoothing out aerodynamics at the rear of the roofline. Inside, the 2012 Toyota Prius C has an all-new dashboard that draws its centrally mounted Multi Information Display at the base of the windshield from the larger Prius, and some of its switches and minor controls from the Yaris.

The Prius C is smaller and lighter, so its powertrain is downsized to match. There's a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine, making 73 horsepower, and the automaker's Hybrid Synergy Drive includes a smaller motor system and 0.9-kWh battery pack—with the system altogether making 99 hp. Acceleration is about on par with other eco-minded small cars. Serving as a reminder that performance is definitely not the priority, the Prius C offers an Eco mode, which reduces power output and has different climate-control settings, as well as an EV mode, for going up to a half mile on electricity only, but there's no Power or Sport mode. As for handling, the Prius C is surprisingly nimble and meneuverable, but again, don't expect the dynamics of a sport-tuned hot hatch. But the payoff is clear at the pump: In 50 miles of driving around San Diego—including freeways, two-lane roads, and stop-and-go—we saw a 51.4-mpg average.

There's more cabin space in the Prius C than you might suspect. Front seats feel about the same as in other Prius models; in back there's no mistaking it for a mid-size car, but six-footers should be able to fit without any fuss. The nickel-metal-hydride battery pack, which is smaller than that used in the other Prius models, is packed neatly under the back seat.

Trims and materials feel noticeably cheaper than those you'd find in the current Prius (though about on par with mainstream subcompacts), but assembly quality is good. Toyota has clearly worked to keep cost down, with painted metal visible inside on the window surrounds and hatchback, but the effect is thrifty rather than grim. And in the C, there's a conventional shift lever rather than the smaller shift lever up near the steering wheel you get in other Prius models. In base Prius C One models, there's even a conventional ignition key rather than push-button start.

The Prius C comes with nine standard airbags, along with all the now-typical safety aids such as electronic stability control and anti-lock brakes with Brake Assist. The Prius C is structurally different than the Prius Liftback and the Prius V, and in separate testing has already been named an IIHS Top Safety Pick.

Beginning at $19.710, the Prius C arrives at a price tag that's really just a couple thousand more than a comparably equipped, non-hybrid subcompact—and seeing that the Prius C uses less fuel, it's a difference that you'll likely quickly overcome thanks to cheaper running costs. Four trims are offered—Prius C One, Prius C Two, Prius C Three, Prius C Four. Even the Prius One comes with an impressive level of standard equipment, including keyless entry, automatic climate control, power accessories, and a sound system that includes a USB port (and iPod capability). The Prius C Three includes a navigation system and Toyota's Entune interface, while the Prius Four adds fog lamps, alloy wheels, and heated seats. The only options offered for the Prius C are a moonroof and alloy wheels, sold together in a package.

Likes:

  • Best mpg of any non-plug-in
  • Competitive price
  • Seating space
  • Maneuverability, parking ease

Dislikes:

  • Sluggish acceleration
  • Busy ride
  • Noisy on the highway
  • Cheapish interior materials
Advertisement
Other Choices Read More
7.0
/ 10
TCC Rating
7.4
/ 10
TCC Rating
7.6
/ 10
TCC Rating
7.2
/ 10
TCC Rating
7.8
/ 10
TCC Rating
Advertisement
Related Used Listings
Browse used listings in your area
Advertisement

More From High Gear Media


 
 
© 2014 The Car Connection. All Rights Reserved. The Car Connection is published by High Gear Media. Stock photography by Homestar, LLC. Send us feedback.