Ranking as the junior member of the Toyota Prius family, the Prius c provides the outstanding efficiency you’d expect from this hybrid-powertrain group, in a smaller and less expensive package. That combination of moderate price and well-established hybrid experience makes the little hatchback remarkably easy to own, as well as to drive.
What's New for 2016
Freshened last year, the Prius c is essentially a carryover for 2016, but it can now be fitted with a new Toyota Safety Sense C option. Available for Prius c Three and Four, it’s part of a Wheel and Safety Package that includes a lane-departure warning, pre-collision mitigation, and automatic high-beam headlights. A limited-production Persona Series Special Edition is basically a Prius c Two, but with a black exterior and either Electric Lime or Cherry Pearl accent trim.
Choosing Your Toyota Prius c
While the standard Prius hatchback already dwells near the smaller end of the size spectrum, the Prius c is 19 inches shorter and 500 pounds lighter. Those figures position it firmly into the subcompact class. Like others of its type, the Prius c offers fine urban agility and is a cinch to park.
The hybrid powertrain consists of a 1.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine and an electric motor. Together, they produce 99 horsepower. Like other Prius models, the c has front-wheel drive and a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). According to EPA estimates, you can expect to achieve 53 mpg around town and 46 mpg on the highway. In combined driving, you could get an estimated 50 mpg.
The Prius c comes in four basic ascending trim levels, simply dubbed One through Four.
Because the Prius c One lacks what many consider essential equipment, including cruise control and a split-folding rear seat, we recommend at least the Two, which starts at $20,395 (including destination charge). Your thirst for technology and your budget determine whether further upgrades are appropriate, but it's a nearly $5,000 leap from the Two to the Four.
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