Reviews

2016 Toyota Prius C Introduction

Some hybrid-powertrain cars, including the familiar Toyota Prius Liftback, look different from the gasoline-engine models. Others look essentially the same as a conventional automobile of the similar size and category.

The Toyota Prius c, the smallest and lowest-priced member of the Prius hybrid pack, definitely falls into the latter category. When they look at a Prius c, most people won’t realize they’re looking at a hybrid, especially when viewed from the side.

Even after some styling and interior upgrades for 2015, the Prius c subcompact hatchback doesn’t stand out in a crowd, unless the drivers in that crowd happen to be exchanging gas-mileage numbers. Roomier inside than you might expect, this happy little hatchback is EPA-rated at a miserly 53/46 mpg City/Highway, or 50 mpg Combined.

Only one significant change for the 2016 model year: Toyota has added a Safety Sense-C group of electronic active-safety systems. Included are lane-departure assist, pre-collision braking, and automatic high beams.

Also for 2016, Toyota is offering a new version: a limited-edition Prius c Persona Series. Only 1,500 will be built.

Officially considered a subcompact, the Prius c is actually longer than many entrants in that size segment. Interior volume stemming from those exterior dimensions makes the Prius c truly capable of seating four adults. Assembly quality has been good, too.

Under the hood of the tiniest Prius, its 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine produces a modest 73 horsepower, coupled to a more compact hybrid-powertrain system than the one used by the two larger Prius models. Working together, the gas engine and twin motor-generators have a combined output of 99 horsepower. Engineers even managed to position both the 0.9 kWh lithium-ion battery pack and the gasoline tank below the back seat.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the 2016 Prius c an Acceptable rating for its rigorous new small-overlap test. The Prius c scored Good on each of the insurance-industry agency’s other tests. The federal government’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2015 Prius c a four-star score in each of its tests.

* MSRP is the Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of the vehicle. Unless specifically indicated in the advertisement, MSRP does not include taxes, fees or other charges. Actual dealer pricing may vary. Consult your dealer for more information and complete details.

* The dealer advertised price may not reflect specific dealer offers, and may be subject to certain terms and conditions as indicated in the advertisement. Consult your dealer for more information and complete details.

* Images and options shown are examples, only, and may not reflect exact vehicle color, trim, options, pricing or other specifications.

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