The smallest and most affordable member of the Prius family, the Prius C delivers superb hybrid efficiency for the price of an ordinary hatchback. When it comes to total cost of ownership, few vehicles can run the same league.

Equipment and Pricing

The Prius C comes in four basic trim levels, plus the limited-edition Persona Series:

  • Starting at just $19,560, the One is equipped with automatic climate control, LED exterior lighting, a touchscreen infotainment interface, a one-piece folding rear seat, and a four-speaker sound system with Bluetooth and voice controls.
  • For $20,360, you can upgrade to the Two with cruise control, six audio speakers, and extra interior features (including a split-folding rear seat).
  • Equipped like the Two, the Persona Series ($21,355) get a blackout exterior treatment with lime green or pink accents.
  • The $21,785 Three kicks up the technology quotient with a navigation system, integrated smartphone apps, satellite radio, and keyless ignition.
  • At $24,495, the line-topping Four adds a leatherette interior with heated front seats, a sunroof, a rearview camera, alloy wheels, and heated mirrors.

The Three and Four are eligible for Toyota's Safety Sense system ($300), consisting of front collision alert, lane departure warning, and automatic high beams.

Performance Pros

Toyota Prius c Green

All versions of the front-drive Prius C come with a 1.5-liter gasoline four-cylinder engine and a battery-powered electric motor. Combined output registers at 99 horsepower. A continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) does the shifting.

Performance highlights include:

  • Proven Technology: The Prius line has a history of reliable performance that's unsurpassed among hybrids.
  • Steering/Handling: The tight turning radius makes for stress-free parking and urban maneuvering.
  • Fuel Efficiency: You get a solid 50 mpg in combined city and highway driving. Nothing else at this price comes close.

Performance Cons

  • All but the most sedate drivers will wish for mroe power on hills and expressway ramps.
  • Like many economy cars, the Prius C can get downright jittery on poorly maintained roads.

Interior Pros

Toyota Prius c Interior
  • Rear-seat passengers will find it easy to get comfortable thanks to the tallish roofline and flat floor.
  • The standard infotainment touchscreen looks and behaves like it belongs on a more expensive car.

Interior Cons

  • The Prius C's low price shows up in the hard plastic surfaces that dominate the interior.
  • The ungainly glovebox is bound to do a battle with your front passenger's shins.

The Most Pleasant Surprise

You can add plenty of infotainment and safety technology to the Prius C without spoiling its price.

The Least Pleasant Surprise

Despite its modern looks and small footprint, the Prius C isn't particularly fun to drive. You get competent road manners, but nothing more.

The Bottom Line

The Prius C is a dedicated economy car and performance brilliantly in that role.