Test Drive: 2014 Toyota Prius C Technology toyota car test drives greenreviews
Test Drive: 2014 Toyota Prius C Technology toyota car test drives greenreviews
2014 Toyota Prius c. Click image to enlarge

Review and photos by Jacob Black

If you’re one of those people who truly love driving, you can find fun in all sorts of places out on the road. Sure, sometimes people have way more fun in a manual, RWD car. For some, you need bulk horsepower to have bulk fun, others need a corner carver, or a car that can tackle rocks and mud and mountains. Mostly people just want a challenge. Any challenge really.

And that’s why the 2014 Toyota Prius C was so much fun for me. I had a challenge. Recently the folks on the Autos.ca forum have lambasted my leaden foot and less-than-excellent fuel economy results. The claim was that I was incapable of recording a properly low fuel economy score.

Challenge accepted.

And I had the best-possible tool with which to dispel the critics – a vivid yellow Prius C. Under the hood, a 73-hp, 82 lb-ft, 1.5L inline four is mated to an electric motor via a CVT for a combined maximum output of 100 hp. The electric motor will contribute up to 60 hp of that combined figure during acceleration. The petrol engine and regenerative braking combine to charge the 144-volt nickel-metal hydride battery pack hidden under the rear seat. That battery will enable the Prius C to run in three modes: petrol only, hybrid and electric mode. I found the Prius would coast at up to 70 km/h on electric power only, but accelerating to that speed required hybrid power. The graphic on the 6.1-inch touchscreen was helpful when trying to regulate my fuel use, and by switching from the “energy” display to the “Trip Information” display I could see a real-time L/100 km readout. It meant I could walk the fine line between maximum fuel use, and conservative fuel use – and it was surprising how decent acceleration was at just 5 L/100 km. I only had to go past that during freeway merges and after slowdowns in peak-hour traffic. Truthfully I could have just stayed in the right lane and slowly crawled back up to speed but there is only so gently you can accelerate before you’re just an irresponsible… nuisance.

Test Drive: 2014 Toyota Prius C Technology toyota car test drives greenreviews Test Drive: 2014 Toyota Prius C Technology toyota car test drives greenreviews
2014 Toyota Prius c. Click image to enlarge

If you do decide to abandon the quest for economy and really push the Prius C, it gets up and goes smartly. At only 1,132 kg the combined power is more than adequate to reach highway speeds posthaste.  It also is sufficient to shuttle the Prius C into any gaps you need to dart through to make your exit. In fact, once I’d done a week in the car I spent the last day driving “normally” to see how bad the fuel reading would be. During that experiment I found the little yellow rig a willing partner in the speed stakes. The CVT noise and engine noise is noticeable but not irritating and the car responds well to throttle input. The Prius C is stable at speed and turns in willingly to corners, but lacks feel in the front end. Body roll is surprisingly minimal, helped by the low placement of the heavy battery packs.  Despite its small size and city fuel economy brilliance the Prius C lacks the nimbleness to make it a genuine city car. The large turning circle means it is not as easy to drive or park as other subcompacts, especially in condo parking garages. However, as pointed out by our forum members, the Prius C in base package with 15-inch wheels has a far better turning radius at just 9.6 m vs 11.4 m with the 16s.




About Jacob Black

Jacob used to write about motorsport for SPEED TV in Australia but met a girl. Now he writes about road cars in Canada and is married to the girl. He lives a very, very good life. Jacob Black is not a werewolf.