Might as well cut to the chase. Anyone kicking the skinny tires of a Toyota Prius c will be interested in one thing – parsimonious fuel-sippage. So to the reveal. After a week of buzzing around The 6 (that’s Drake-speak for Toronto) in Toyota’s diminutive hybrid, I saw 5.0 L/100. Impressive.
Being a hatchback, it boasts the usual utility associated with this body style. If anybody is wondering, an upright bass will fit in there.Now, there is a price to be paid for the economy beyond the $26,890 MSRP for this top-trim Technology model. The Prius c is really not much fun to drive. But then we knew that about Toyota hybrids, didn’t we? Their mission is to eek out every possible rolling millimeter from every precious drop of non-renewable dino-juice. And let it be known, the complexity of these gas/electric drivetrains is an engineering and computing wonder.
As the smallest hybrid in the Prius stable, the 2016 Prius c starts at $21,235, making it the least expensive hybrid in Canada. Despite its subcompact dimensions, interior space is pretty good. And being a hatchback, it boasts the usual utility associated with this body style. If anybody is wondering, an upright bass will fit in there.
Power (and I use that term sparingly) comes from a 73 hp 1.5L Atkinson four-cylinder paired to an electric motor that is fed by a nickel-metal hydride battery pack. The front wheels are driven through a CVT (continuously variable transmission), with total system output being 99 horsepower.
The base model, which rolls on 15-inch steel wheels, is reasonably well-equipped. It gets auto climate control, heated mirrors, USB, Bluetooth, steering wheel audio controls, 6.1-inch display, and full LED headlights and taillights.
A $,1030 upgrade package adds six-speaker audio, cruise, tonneau cover, back-up camera, rear centre console box, premium cloth seats, driver cushion height adjust, headrest adjust, 60/40 split rear seat, synthetic leather instrument panel and variable intermittent wipers. At that price, this package nearly qualifies as a free lunch.
My $26,890 Technology tester, resplendent in a striking Sparkling Sea Metallic, layered on navigation, 16-inch alloys, LED fog lamps, sunroof, SofTex seat surfaces, SuriusXM, heated front seats, proximity key with push button start, and a new-for-2106 safety suite called Toyota Safety Sense (pre-collision warning, auto high beams, lane departure alert).
Hop in and you’re greeted with an angular, bold dash design with a central dashtop major display. It’s an odd looking arrangement, but your eyes soon get used to glancing at said display for the large digital speedo readout, and the as far as ergonomics go, the dials and buttons for audio and HVAC are easy to decipher.
From the archives: 2012 Toyota Prius c Long-Term Test Intro
The plastics won’t win any quality awards, but the overall cheapness of the interior is somewhat mitigated in this model by the fake leather dash covering and piano black trim. The driving position is a bit odd because the tilt/telescoping wheel lacks reach in the telescope department.
The seats are reasonably comfortable and outward visibility is excellent. Lots of storage cubbies for your vegan cookbooks and How-To-Make-A-Composter-Out-Of-Used-Birkenstocks instruction booklet too. (Yeah, I know. Birkenstocks never wear out.)
The back seats are fine for this class of car, and headroom is generous.