Toyota Prius C review
Garry Fabian has filed this Toyota Prius C review.
Based on a Yaris platform, but with extended interior space, the lighter Prius sees the price of hybrids come down to a more affordable level.
The 2012 Prius C is about 285kgs lighter than the standard Prius, although under the skin its more Yaris hybrid than downsized Prius.
The body design and packaging of major components sees the C more compact than the standard Prius but it will still accommodate five average sized adults, and provides quite reasonable boot space.
This roomy boot has been achieved by placing the battery pack and fuel tank under the rear seat.
Interestingly the configuration also allows for a full size spare tyre to be carried.
The C’s battery pack is lighter than the one in the Prius, and its 0.9-kilowatt-hour capacity is lower by about one-third.
The slightly smaller car’s electric motor contributes fewer kW than the standard Prius, and its petrol engine—actually the same as the one that powered the very first Prius—comparatively shrinks by 0.3 of a litre to a 1.5.
In all you get 54kW and 111Nm in the C, for the record the full-size Prius offers 73kW and 142Nm.
Although more compact, the C’s power train is constructed in the same way as the Prius, with an electric motor integrated into a Constantly Variable Transmission (CVT).
When in EV mode, the car can be driven solely on electric power for short distances (1 – 2 kms) under 40 km/h.
In most hybrids, the goal is to make the hybrid functionality as transparent as possible, but not here.
Sadly the C resists forward motion, second-guessing every throttle input.
A little pressure on the accelerator nets higher engine rpm but no increase in velocity.
The car seems merely to be preparing to accelerate.
It might be lighter than a Prius, but the C’s power-to-weight ratio, is only slightly better.
Driven like a normal car however, the C is, quite frankly, frustrating!
Oddly, shifting the transmission into B, which slows the car more aggressively and feeds more energy to the batteries, turns off EV mode.
Aside from all that the C offers a comprehensive package of standard features.
These include remote central locking, “key-in-pocket” push-button start, automatic air conditioning, a good sound system, touch screen audio display, cruise control, rear vision camera, power windows and mirrors, and other small but handy items, that have become “a must” for today’s car buyers.
With its low centre of gravity, it handles well and hugs the road, even when going around tight corners.
While there is always a concern about the safety of small cars the Prius C is well served by a high-tensile steel body, seven air bags, vehicle stability control, ABS brakes, EBD and hill-start assist control.
Admittedly the price is still a little high when compared with petrol alternatives in the small car segment, but I’m sure it will attract buyers who are looking for lower fuel consumption and “eco-friendly” options for their motoring needs and preferences.
It certainly is a positive step to bring hybrids into the mainstream.
NUTS & BOLTS
Engine: Petrol 1.5 lt four-cylinder DOHC, producing 54 kW and 111 Nm. Electric motor AC synchronous Ni-MH battery.
Transmission: CVT automatic.
Warranty: 3 years/100,000km.
Economy: Urban – 3.7L, Extra urban – 3.8L, Combined 3.9L
Price: From $23,990