- Five-door hatchback with 53 mpg city fuel economy rating
- Premium comfort, convenience and safety features
- Four trim levels starting at $18,950
Now in its third generation, the Toyota's popular Prius hybrid lineup now includes the smaller, more affordable Prius c, a five-door subcompact hatchback designed for efficient and low-emissions urban driving. The c is offered in four trim levels with a starting MSRP of $18,950. The top-of-the-line Prius c Four includes equipment like alloy wheels, heated seats and fog lamps, but even the base model comes with standard equipment like automatic climate control, Bluetooth hands-free and nine airbags.
The c's hybrid powertrain returns the best city fuel economy of any non-plug-in vehicle, returning an EPA-estimated 53 mpg. Estimated highway fuel economy is 45 mpg, and the c is rated as a SULEV (Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle). The Prius c uses a 1.5-liter gasoline engine paired with a 60-horsepower electric motor for combined output of 99 horsepower.
Called Prius c One, the base model includes a full-color multi-information display, a tilt-telescope steering wheel with audio controls and remote keyless entry. Prius c Two grade adds a 6-speaker sound system, cruise control, variable intermittent wipers and a 60/40 fold-down rear seat. A center console armrest and a cargo tonneau cover are also included.
Prius c Three adds connectivity and convenience features, notably a 6.1-inch color touchscreen display with navigation, satellite radio and Toyota's Entune service. It gives the c Pandora capability, HD radio, iPod connectivity and voice controls. Grade Three also includes color-matched exterior door handles with touch sensor locking and unlocking, a push-button starter and optional alloy wheels and moonroof.
The alloy wheels come standard on Prius c Four, which also includes heated front seats and color-keyed, heated outside mirrors with integrated turn signals. Prius c Four starts at $23,230.
All Prius c models include Toyota's Star Safety System, which includes stability control, brake assist and seats designed to minimize whiplash in the event of an accident.
Prius c will arrive in dealerships in March. Suggested prices do not include a $760 destination charge. While the c carries an accessible base price among hybrid vehicles, Honda's Insight remains the most affordable hybrid available, with a starting price about $600 less than this newest Prius model. But the Prius c is the fuel miser with a 10-mpg city economy advantage over the less expensive Insight.
What it means to you: Available at Toyota dealers next month, the subcompact Prius c hatchback offers excellent fuel economy and a starting price under $19,000.