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Roadshow Video Reviews
2012 Toyota Prius CWhat happens when you merge a Prius with a Yaris? The least expensive Toyota hybrid.
As promised, Toyota is putting their Prius into a Family. Joining the original is the bigger V, the more electrified plug-in and this, the smaller C. Let's drive the cheapest way to get a Prius badge in your garage and check the check. No cars can look that much, like one of this. But color aside, the Prius C is a smaller Prius in both engine and in total package size. It weighs 2500 pounds about as little as a production car does this days and 500 pounds less than a standard Prius. It's 19 inches shorter and it has 3 foot smaller turning radius. That makes a real difference in your parking or making that illegal U-turn you always do. You've got several displays inside this guy with this kind of weird off set dashboard. It's very much Prius like. Up there, you got a multi-information display. All of this Prius Cs have that one. This one is only in the upper 2 trim levels, the three and the four. I think it's optional as a package or a line item in each case. It's a very simple navigation system and you can see it's on a small screen as well but I've got an apps button. That means I've got the version of Toyota's InTune service in here. You got Pandora, you got Fuel Price Look on Bing Search. This is a different interface we've seen before. I don't like it nearly as much with the lower cost unit so I get it. Endless screen on here to check out your energy consumption and pack yourself on the back. I'm even told there's a way you can input the MPG of your other car and this one will tell you how much you're saving by driving this car and all this cabin tech in here is not the point to my mind on a Prius C. I would not load it up like this. In fact, you may have seen the recent survey by (RL Pope?), the Car Dated company. They indicated that only 35% of folks had a Hybrid, bought another one in 2011 when they replaced the car. So it's a pretty small number of return customers. They're finding out they can do just as well in many cases with a small lean 4 cylinder gas engine car and that have to earn back the Premium on a Hybrid. We'll talk more about pricing later. The rest of this cabin is pretty clear Prius stuff. You've got this little Prius controller wheels here on the steering wheel, you've got the cylinder Prius style shifter which has the B Position for additional regenerative break capture of energy to the battery and here's your Eco-Load and your EV mode. Eco makes it run very leanly with gas and electric. EV mode of course forces the car to run on electric motor as much as it can. And unlike some of the Hybrid products like the Lexus CT 200H, there's no sport mode on this car and that's a good thing. Now under the hood, it's Toyota so our Hybrid system is right there, Hybrid Synergy Drive. This is a 1 1/2 liter gas engine, couple of electric motor. this is like in the earlier Pre I. The big Prius has now moved on to a 1.8 liter. Total combined horsepower here is 99 horsepower. You can't combine the electric and the gas engine total horsepower together. It' a common mistake because they're blended. They're not totally additive. And of course, it's a side panel front wheel drive and you got a CVT only as your transmission. Okay. On your way, if you'd think this car is gonna really feel like 99 horsepower which is all it has, you'll in for a bit of a surprise in certain throttle position of transmissions, it feels quite a bit more strikingly most number would tell you where the car's meter is out once you get into anything more than just sort of poking around town, 30-40 miles an hour and getting up and down from that around town, that's great. Because this car is like it's not too well sound inflated shall we say, you hear all kind of noises. It's not a very refined experience. But again for the money, that could be all right. The ride quality on the Prius C is about what you expect in short wheel based car with a fairly unrefined suspension but it does have that plenty full of batteries given this car a little more plant in this. So it doesn't ride as poorly as some of the lightest previous small cars I've driven. Its actually got pretty decent ride quality. I'm pricing on the cheapest C in this case because that's how I approach this car. A C1 starts at about 19,750 delivered. Now at that level, you can't even option a sun roof or a LCD screen head unit with nav or InTune but it will have all the important media sources and it's the cheapest way to get in to Toyota's wanted Hybrid Technology. Those still an arguable financial issue.