All photos by Toyota
This new offering from Toyota adds to the already successful Prius line and will surely keep sales ringing up for dealers. Although the Prius c is the overall smallest Prius on the road, this model has considerable space and storage with the hatchback design. At an overall fuel rating of 50mpg, you can’t help but warm up to the Prius very quickly.
Our test model stood out mostly for the Habanero paint that fit in well as Halloween was approaching! (I actually liked the color as it added excitement to the car). The new Prius c is unique in the Prius family with a more youthful expression and a sportier dynamic character that offers a more fun-to-drive experience. The vehicle’s five-door format and flexible packaging will adapt to a broad range of owners’ needs. The Prius c exterior design helps project a fun, youthful attitude for this all-new addition to the Prius family, while offering excellent aerodynamic performance. Although the c is a new offering when you see it on the road, there is no doubt it’s a Prius.
The Priusc interior creates a space that is futuristic yet passenger friendly. Using black as a basic interior color, the door trim, seat surfaces and instrument panel feature treatments in lighter colors to help create contrast. Our test model came equipped with automatic climate control, display audio with navigation, USB, Bluetooth and advance voice recognition, smart key system with push button start and tilt telescopic steering with controls. There is plenty of room in the Prius c with a considerable amount of storage. The Display Audio with Navigation and Entune has six speakers and augments capability with a 6.1-inch touchscreen, SiriusXM Satellite Radio capability (with 3-month trial subscription to XM Select package), HD Radio with iTunes tagging, and advanced voice recognition. Toyota’s Entune multimedia system functions through select smart phones’ interfaces that brings applications such as Bing and Pandora to the vehicle audio display. It also features real time information such as traffic, weather, fuel prices, sports and stocks.
The Prius c’s Hybrid Synergy Drive system integrates the operation of components that include a gasoline engine, an electric motor within a Continuously Variable Transaxle, a nickel-metal hydride battery, a power control unit (inverter), a DC-DC converter, a step-up converter and a hybrid control computer. The hybrid control computer governs the seamless application of gasoline engine and electric power depending on driving demands and selected drive mode. For those that haven’t driven a Hybrid before, there are times when you can feel the car switching from electric to gas mode and quite frankly it’s a smooth change.
The Prius crelies on a SULEV (Tier 2 Bin 3) rated 1.5-liter in-line, four-cylinder gasoline engine that utilizes an Atkinson cycle to increase efficiency. This engine produces 73 horsepower and 82 lb.-ft. of torque, contributing to a total hybrid system output of 99 hp. The Prius c’s hybrid system utilizes a 144-volt nickel-metal hydride battery pack that has been located under the rear passenger seat, near the center of the vehicle, and low in the chassis to help improve the center of gravity. The Prius c offers three distinct drive modes: Normal, Eco and EV mode. Eco mode reduces overall energy consumption by governing climate control and throttle to improve vehicle efficiency. Under certain conditions, the EV mode allows the Prius c to be driven solely by electric power for a short distance (under 1 mile) while remaining below 25 mph.
Fuel efficiency is awesome at 53 mpg in the city and 46 mpg in highway driving. After spending a week behind the wheel of the 2012 Toyota Prius c 2WD 5DR HB Three, we found power to be more than adequate and the overall driving experience to be enjoyable.
There is no doubt that the Prius line is a trendsetter, and expanding the lineup with the 2012 Toyota Prius c 2WD 5DR HB Three appears to be a natural progression. At a price of $23,245 for our test model, it’s quite easy to realize the value offered with the Prius c. But don’t look at the Prius c only as a value purchase, because this car has a lot to offer and provides the options, comfort and styling of much more expensive rivals hitting the showrooms!
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