Published January 11, 2012
By Jeff Cobb
2012 Prius c.
As anticipated, Toyota debuted the Prius c subcompact at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this week to “complete the Prius family” when it becomes available in March.
Pricing will start at “under $19,000,” and it offers an EPA estimated mileage rating of 53 mpg in the city – which Toyota says is the “highest rated city fuel economy of any vehicle without a plug.” Highway mileage is 46 mpg, and the combined rating is 50 mpg,
For those of you who don’t already know, Toyota says the “c” means “city” and younger drivers are expected to make up a sizable portion of buyers for one of the four grades of standard equipment the urban-oriented car will be offered with.
As you can see by the charts, it is just over 19 inches shorter overall than the generation 3 Prius Liftback, wheelbase is six inches shorter, and curb weight is 542 pounds less.
As such, it has a horsepower to curb weight ratio of 1:25.25 compared to the regular Prius’ ratio of 1:22.7, so it may not out accelerate the Liftback, but its selling price could save $5,000 or so, and its fuel economy will save a bit more at the pump also.
Like the Hybrid Synergy Drive used also in its family members, the c has three drive modes: Normal, Eco, and EV for short-range, lower speed electric driving.
By locating the 144-volt nickel-metal hydride battery pack and fuel tank below the rear seat, Toyota says the Prius c offers 104 cubic feet of interior volume (87.4 cu. ft. passenger volume, 17.1 cu. ft. cargo volume).
The car rides on MacPherson struts up front and a torsion beam rear axle and will be available with 15- or 16-inch wheels. Models equipped with 16-inch aluminum alloy wheels have a faster steering ratio (2.28 turns lock to lock) to enhance steering response.
The vehicle offers a coefficient of drag of 0.28, and while unmistakably a Prius, Toyota mentions its wider lower body provides an “athletic stance” with sculpted rear flares.
Toyota promises a broad selection of available convenience and advanced in-car electronics features, including a standard 3.5-in. full color TFT multi-information display, three audio systems to choose from, hands-free phone capability, USB port with iPod® connectivity, and available Display Audio system with Navigation and Entune™ with 6.1-inch touchscreen.
For safety, the car has nine airbags and Toyota’s standard Star Safety System™, which includes Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC), Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA), and Smart Stop Technology (SST).
Available paint colors include three new ones – Habanero, Moonglow, and Summer Rain Metallic – as well as Blue Streak Metallic, Absolutely Red, Black Sand Pearl, Magnetic Gray Metallic, Classic Silver Metallic, and Super White.
Along with the Prius Liftback and Prius v, the Prius c will also be joined early this year by the
Plug-in Hybrid to round out one happy growing family.