Toyota's Prius is a hybrid electric vehicle, the best-known name and best-selling vehicle in this category. For more than a decade the Prius has soldiered on, delivering exceptional fuel efficiency for a good price. Beginning in 2011, Toyota started to expand the Prius' line, by bringing to the market more models including a wagon, a plug-in electric model and now a subcompact Prius. That subcompact is called the Prius c, with the "c" standing for city. Prices start under $19,000, making this vehicle one of the most affordable hybrid vehicles on the market.
Engine and Transmission
The Toyota Prius c is powered by a 1.5-liter four cylinder engine. This 16-valve all-aluminum motor comes with variable valve timing and produces 73 horsepower at 4,800 rpm and 82 foot-pounds of torque at 4,000 rpm. With its hybrid system this vehicle produces 99 horsepower.
Toyota pairs the Prius c engine with a continuously variable transmission. This engine has a high 13.4 to 1 compression ratio and measures 2.95 inches bore by 3.33 inches stroke.
One of the largest appeals for Prius c shoppers is its excellent fuel efficiency. Around town this vehicle gets 53 mpg. On the highway it returns 46 mpg. Combined, the Prius c gets 50 mpg. With its 9.5-gallon fuel tank the Prius c has a cruising range of approximately 475 miles. This model derives its energy from gasoline and its battery pack. When fueled, this subcompact model takes regular grade gasoline.
Prius c Dimensions
The Prius c weighs just 2,500 pounds and seats five people. Its weight is all the more remarkable given that it also houses a nickel-metal hydride battery pack. This vehicle has 87.4 cubic feet of passenger volume and 17.1 cubic feet of cargo volume.
Sitting on a 100.4-inch wheelbase, the Prius c is 157.3 inches long, 66.7 inches wide and 56.9 inches tall. This model has 38.6 inches of front head room and 37.0 inches of rear head room. Shoulder room measures 52.3 inches in the front and 51.7 inches in the rear. Hip room comes in at 51.0 inches up front and 50.8 inches in the rear. Leg room measures 41.7 inches up front and 35.0 inches in the back seat.
Available in four trim levels, the Prius c offers many features standard. This model includes projector-beam halogen headlamps, color-keyed side mirrors with turn signal indicators, intermittent wipers and a spoiler. Inside, this model offers automatic climate control, an AM/FM CD player with MP3 playback capability, a telescoping steering wheel, power windows, a 12-volt auxiliary power outlet, map lamps and a rear cargo area lamp.
Available options or upgrades include a navigation system, cruise control, Bluetooth connectivity, a power moonroof and power side mirrors. Various tire and wheel upgrades are also available.
The Prius C comes with nine airbags and is equipped with traction control, stability control, an anti-lock brake system, electronic brake-force distribution, brake assist and smart stop technology. This vehicle includes a tire pressure monitoring system, child-protector rear door locks and daytime running lights.
Matthew C. Keegan is a freelance automotive writer. Matt is also a contributing writer for Andy's Auto Sport and affiliated websites, an aftermarket supplier of quality auto parts including Corbeau Seats and Tokico Shocks.