Toyota
Prius c
2016
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James Flammang
Contributing Editor - January 4, 2016

2016 Toyota Prius c OVERVIEW

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.

Toyota Prius c Red

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.

One

The entry-level edition contains most of the expected passenger-car conveniences, plus automatic climate control, LED headlights and taillamps, 3.5-inch information display, remote keyless entry, Siri Eyes Free, Bluetooth phone and audio, a 6.1-inch touchscreen, and a solid-folding rear seat. The sound system includes four speakers and a CD player. The One rolls on 15-inch steel wheels.

Two

Adds cruise control and a number of interior upgrades, including fabric-trimmed two-tone seats, 60/40 split-folding rear seats, a cargo cover, two additional speakers, an engine immobilizer, and a storage console.

Three

Kicks up the technology quotient with a navigation system, integrated smartphone apps, keyless access and ignition, satellite radio, and voice recognition. Alloy wheels and Toyota Safety Sense C items are available in an option group, with or without a sunroof.

Four

Comes standard with the Three's options, plus leather-like vinyl upholstery, heated mirrors and front seats, heated steering wheel, foglamps, eight-spoke 15-inch alloy wheels, and a rearview camera. Sixteen-inch alloy wheels are available as an upgrade, in the Wheel and Safety Package.

Persona Series SE

Priced $995 higher than a regular Prius c Two, the limited-production Persona has that model’s standard equipment, but adds a black body with a choice of two exterior accent colors.

CarsDirect Tip

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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