2012 Toyota Prius C Long-Term Road Test

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2012 Toyota Prius C: Fuel Economy Update for June

July 2, 2013

2012 Toyota Prius C

June marks the final month with our long-term 2012 Toyota Prius C. Little changed since last we posted a fuel economy update on the Prius C. All mpg milestones remain intact from May. After all, we drove it just 400 miles before it sold June 13. The only change between this month and last was the odometer.

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2012 Toyota Prius C: Compressed Carmax Closeout

June 18, 2013

2012 Toyota Prius C

I was aiming for a "three-peat" of selling long-term cars to employees (our Lexus ES300 and our Jeep Wrangler were the other two), but the 2012 Toyota Prius C broke the streak. Its private party True Market Value of $19,500 was a bit too close to the price of a new model. After a week, there were no takers among Edmunds employees and it was time to move on.

This meant it was time to take it to Carmax. The week prior, the trade-in TMV was $18,305. I re-ran the TMV appraisal to get a fresh number and was surprised to see that trade-in TMV had dropped by about $650. Edmunds adjusts its used TMV on a weekly basis to account for any changes in the market. In this case, the re-evaluation coincided with our selling process.

The new trade-in TMV was $17,649. Take a guess on what Carmax offered before you click over to the next page.

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2012 Toyota Prius C: Logging Some Last Miles

June 13, 2013

2012 Toyota Prius C

The Prius C has left our fleet. It never got a ton of love around here. Or rather, never a ton of miles. I liked it well enough. A tool of some limited use, but for what it was designed for, short-range hops and running around town, I liked it. I liked that you could get in, press the button and put it in gear, and glide out. It was easy and erased some of the dread from doing local errands. You knew it would drive easy and it wouldn't be hard to park. A VW Golf is also easy to drive, but a Golf doesn't get you 46 combined mpg.

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2012 Toyota Prius C: These Wheels Are Simple for a Reason

June 6, 2013

2012 Toyota Prius C

Most people don't realize how much time and energy manufacturers go through when it comes to selecting wheels and tires for a car. Appearance is way down the priority list after more important things like strength, durability, price, ride quality and noise.

Clearly, the wheels on our Prius C were selected for their cost (steel) and aerodynamic properties (relatively smooth plastic wheel covers) while the tires were all about durability, minimal rolling resistance and noise. They're not a pretty combination, but this car is about maximum efficiency right?

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2012 Toyota Prius C: Can You Tow It Behind a Motorhome?

June 5, 2013

2012 Toyota Prius C

You can tow any car behind a motorhome if you strap it on a trailer. But motorhome aficionados rightly consider trailers to be a pain in the butt because they represent extra towed weight and a storage problem. They'd much rather tow the car on its on wheels with a simple tow bar in so-called four-down or "dingy" fashion.

Easy is the keyword here. This is, after all, a recreational activity. Upon arrival, a dinghy can be quickly unhooked and driven around on side trips while the motorhome sits parked with its awnings unfurled and its sliders popped out in full relaxation mode.

Of course there are mechanical implications for the car involved.

Can the 2012 Toyota Prius C join this club? Can you tow a Prius C behind a motorhome?

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2012 Toyota Prius C: Fuel Economy Update for May

June 4, 2013

2012 Toyota Prius C

The Prius C continues to impress, delivering real-world mileage of 45.3 mpg combined. That's a real number most metropolitan commuters can relate to and plan around. More than that, the Prius C delivers convenience. You'll cover anywhere from 350-400 miles, sometimes more, before needing a gas station.

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2012 Toyota Prius C: Tight Turning Circle, or Maybe Not

May 31, 2013

2012 Toyota Prius C

I've driven a couple of examples of the 2012 Toyota Prius C. The first was a loaded 2012 Prius C Four. I took it out on our One Lap of Orange County suburban fuel economy loop and coaxed 58.2 mpg out of it without much coaxing. It loves city traffic.

For all that, this high-mpg city runabout couldn't flip a U-turn to save its life. It failed miserably in front of my house, and my street isn't all that narrow.

At 37.4 feet its turning circle was simply dismal. By contrast, our long-term 2013 Lexus GS 350 F-sport cleared the curb comfortably.

Today, our 2012 Toyota Prius C Three long-term test car flipped around with even more room to spare than the Lexus. This result makes more sense. A small car optimized for urban environs should run circles around a big Lexus, even if that Lexus has a trick 4-wheel steering system.

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2012 Toyota Prius C: Everyone Likes Kittens

May 30, 2013

2012 Toyota Prius C

All right, come on: is this not the cutest rear wiper you've ever seen?

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2012 Toyota Prius C: The Least Manliest

May 28, 2013

2012 Toyota Prius C

I received an email this morning titled, "The Least Manliest Thing I Hope to Ever Ask of You." It had to do with our long-term 2012 Toyota Prius C. Here's what it said...

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2012 Toyota Prius C: 15,000-Mile Service

May 24, 2013

2012 Toyota Prius C

Our 2012 Toyota Prius C was due for its 15,000-mile service, so we dropped it off at the dealer yesterday afternoon. We called ahead to confirm the car could be ready for us by the end of the day. "Yes," we were told. Then we drove to Toyota of Santa Monica.

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2012 Toyota Prius C: Beyond Squishy

May 20, 2013

2012 Toyota Prius C

My brother drives a 2012 Toyota Prius V and loves it except for one thing: the driving experience is "squishy." By that he means the soft suspension and the disconnected feeling of the CVT. My brother says the squishy feeling doesn't bother him because he's getting amazing fuel economy.

I took our Prius C to reacquaint myself with the driving experience of this little hybrid and here's my open email to my brother.

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2012 Toyota Prius C: 15,000-Mile Update

May 17, 2013

2012 Toyota Prius C

Seems that time has been flying in our long-term 2012 Toyota Prius C. So much so that the 15,000-mile benchmark whizzed by and we didn't even realize it.

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2012 Toyota Prius C: Abysmal Low-Speed Braking

May 9, 2013

2012 Toyota Prius C

The low-speed braking tendencies of our 2012 Toyota Prius C long-term hybrid are annoying.

I found this out as I was driving slowly at the test track, dropping slalom cones out the driver's door into their respective painted squares. Just a little before I wanted to stop each time to drop the cone, the braking force would suddenly increase and cause the Prius C to jerk to a stop.

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2012 Toyota Prius C: Welcomes You Back

May 3, 2013

2012 Toyota Prius C

A lot of cars nowadays seem to incorporate technology that allows them to "recognize" their drivers. Examples include Jaguar's ignition button pulsing with a heartbeat cadence, or Cadillac's CUE system initiating the moment your posterior hits the leather.

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2012 Toyota Prius C: Fuel Economy Update for April

May 2, 2013

2012 Toyota Prius C

Most months we struggle to accumulate miles on our long-term Toyota Prius C. This car is built for city use. And in the city, you just don't cover the sort of ground possible on the open highway. This month was somewhat of an exception.

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2012 Toyota Prius C: I Can't Log In

April 30, 2013

2012 Toyota Prius C

It's fair to say I've been an eager supporter of Entune in our long-term 2012 Toyota Prius C. I think it offers decent feature content (most notably, on-screen traffic data) for a decent price, well, decent in the realm of factory-installed navigation and electronics interfaces.

But last night Entune let me down. I hadn't driven our Prius C in a while, so the Entune app on my phone had logged me out of my account. I waited until I was topside (that is, not in the depths of our subterranean office garage) and hit the sign-in button. The little pinwheel spun on my phone, but the app was unable to talk to Toyota's network. I tried a couple more times while waiting at a traffic light, but no dice. I had to get on the freeway with no traffic information on the nav system's maps.

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2012 Toyota Prius C: Are These Buttons Waterproof?

April 29, 2013

2012 Toyota Prius C

Call me crazy, odd or both, but I like the satellite steering wheel buttons in the Prius C. They are some of the strangest buttons I've seen in a while, whether the car was cheap or expensive.

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2012 Toyota Prius C: Simple Ventilation Controls

April 24, 2013

2012 Toyota Prius C

This, friends, is a simple HVAC setup. It's essentially one knob, one mode button and one fan button. Yes, there's an "off" button and an "auto" button as well, but it's a fairly Spartan arrangement.

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2012 Toyota Prius C: Will Gigantor Fit?

April 23, 2013

2012 Toyota Prius C

This guy, believe it or not, is a Toyota Prius owner. He's six-and-a-half-feet tall and his 2008 Prius required the use of seat rail extenders to provide adequate leg room. So, naturally, when he saw me driving the smaller Prius C he wondered how he would fit.

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2012 Toyota Prius C: It Really Does Do 50 MPG

April 22, 2013

2012 Toyota Prius C

Until I drove this long-termer, I hadn't driven a Toyota Prius since before 2000. It was a right-hand-drive, pre-production model, so back then the car was more a novelty than anything else. For the last few years my driving experience has mostly been with European machinery, and frankly, it's sort of made me a snob. I approached the Prius C looking down my nose at it.

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2012 Toyota Prius C: Where's The Speedometer?

April 18, 2013

2012 Toyota Prius C

Just tell me one thing: Why are there no gauges here?

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2012 Toyota Prius C: Can't Complain About the Simplicity

April 18, 2013

2012 Toyota Prius C

If there's one thing that makes the Toyota Prius C enjoyable to drive, it's the simplicity of its interior. Much of that is due to the fact that it's an inexpensive car designed to go as far as possible on a gallon of gas. There isn't room for anything extra.

That doesn't mean the Prius C shouldn't get points for a thoughtful design. I mean, the temperature dial is a little bigger than it needs to be, but everything else is about as simple and easy to use as possible.

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2012 Toyota Prius C: Feels Like the Original Honda Insight

April 16, 2013

2012 Toyota Prius C

Every time I drive our Toyota Prius C it reminds me of a long-term car from some time ago, the original Honda Insight. We had one back in those days and it was considered ahead of its time in terms of technology.

It was kind of fun to drive in an odd way. For one, it was a stick shift, so it would turn on and off as you depressed the clutch pedal at a stop. It was also very small and low, so you really felt like you were in the world's more elaborate recumbent bicycle.

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2012 Toyota Prius C: Instrument Panel Glare

April 15, 2013

2012 Toyota Prius C

Here's a game I like to play in the Toyota Prius C when the sun comes through its side windows at a low angle as is common on my evening commute. It's called: "How fast am I going?" Bonus points to anyone who figures it out. Also, should you figure it out, you'll see my colleagues' rich sense of humor at work.

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2012 Toyota Prius C: Hybrid Styling

April 12, 2013

2012 Toyota Prius C

Pod.

Josh Jacquot, Senior Editor

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2012 Toyota Prius C: Camping in the Cargo Hold

April 11, 2013

2012 Toyota Prius C

No, we didn't go camping in our long-term Prius C. Barbie did.

During the Easter holiday we loaded Barbie and her camper full of treats into the Toyota Prius C's roomy cargo area and delivered her to a sweet, little four-year-old friend.

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2012 Toyota Prius C: Accommodates When It Can

April 5, 2013

2012 Toyota Prius C

Our Prius C is far from luxurious. In fact, it's one of the most bare bones cars we've had in the fleet for some time. Toyota didn't cheap out, though, it simply eliminated any wastefully heavy options. It's what makes this Prius deliver the incredible mileage it does.

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2012 Toyota Prius C: Fuel Economy Update for March

April 2, 2013

2012 Toyota Prius C

Not sure what I did to help the cause, but the average lifetime mileage of our 2012 Toyota Prius C edged up to 44.8 miles per gallon in March. Pretty impressive given that this little hatchback needs a serious helping of right foot to get it up to speed on the highway.

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2012 Toyota Prius C: And Then I Went to San Diego

March 26, 2013

2012 Toyota Prius C

Days after I returned from Arizona spring training, our long-term 2012 Toyota Prius C and I hit the road again for San Diego. It's a much shorter drive, but would our hybrid hatchback wear out its welcome after two road trips in a week?

Not really.

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2012 Toyota Prius C: Entune Prefers Android

March 25, 2013

2012 Toyota Prius C

I use Toyota's Entune system every time I get into our long-term Toyota Prius C, because it's the only way to see traffic data on the navigation system's maps. But as we've written, it's kind of a hassle to set up, because my iPhone 4S (and the 4 before it) has to be plugged in and running the Entune app before you can establish the Internet connection.

During my recent trip to Arizona, we used my spouse's Samsung Galaxy S III for Entune purposes, and honestly, it's easier with an Android phone.

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2012 Toyota Prius C: Prius Is Most Popular Model in California

March 22, 2013

2012 Toyota Prius C

If you're driving down any random California street, chances are you'll spot a Prius. And another Prius. And another Prius. We here in the Golden State love our hybrids, and the Prius line trumps all others in popularity.

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2012 Toyota Prius C: Spring Training Road Trip Fuel Economy

March 18, 2013

2012 Toyota Prius C

My road trip to Arizona provided a good opportunity to see how fuel-efficient our 2012 Toyota Prius C is as a highway car. Remember, we spend a lot of time commuting in city traffic in this hatchback, and its series-parallel hybrid drivetrain is at its most efficient in stop-and-go conditions (well, really, it's all the stopping it likes).

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2012 Toyota Prius C: Road Trip to Arizona Spring Training

March 14, 2013

2012 Toyota Prius C

Spring training games are some of the most enjoyable baseball games you'll ever watch in person. No, they don't count, but the stadiums are small, the weather is mild, the fans are friendly and every team is still in contention. Taking a page from James Riswick's playbook, my husband and I drove the long-term 2012 Toyota Prius C to Arizona for a pair of games.

Now, this might not strike you as a terribly compelling vehicle choice for a road trip. The Prius C makes a fine commuter car, but who would want to drive 1,000 miles in one over 48 hours?

Well, it turns out I would.

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2012 Toyota Prius C: Second-Least Expensive Hybrid

March 12, 2013

2012 Toyota Prius C

There was a time when shoppers had to pay steep premiums for the privilege of enjoying hybrid technology. It was a backward way of looking at things, really. After all, the primary benefit of owning a hybrid is that it'll save you money at the gas pump, and if an unreasonably high price tag eats into those savings, the car's advantages become more nebulous. Cleaner emissions are great and all, but they won't put cash in your pocket.

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2012 Toyota Prius C: Fuel Economy Update for February

March 7, 2013

2012 Toyota Prius C

There's no doubt the 2012 Toyota Prius C is currently the most frugal vehicle in our long-term test fleet, earning an average of 44.7 mpg so far during its year-long test.

It's going out on a road trip soon, so we'll see if adding a few hundred miles moves the mpg needle.

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2012 Toyota Prius C: Why Is the Wheel an Oval?

March 6, 2013

2012 Toyota Prius C

Why is the Prius C wheel an oval? Is there something about hybrid and/or environmentally friendly driving that decrees a circle is inappropriate?

On a possibly related note, you may notice the bottom is nearly flat. Now, I would seriously doubt it's flat for the same reason a Volkswagen GTI's is flat. I'm guessing it's because Toyota identified that its customers are apt to put a single hand in that gap and drive at 6 o'clock. And why not, that's how all the pros do it, right?

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2012 Toyota Prius C: Why Is It Not Beeping?

March 1, 2013

2012 Toyota Prius C

As I was backing up our Toyota Prius C into my garage parking space, I noticed that something didn't seem quite right.

"Wait, why isn't it beeping?"

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2012 Toyota Prius C: Needs Bumper Protection

February 28, 2013

2012 Toyota Prius C

The rear bumper of our long-term 2012 Toyota Prius C caught my eye this week and not just because it was dirty from recent rains. The bumper on our car is bare.

Toyota offers a bumper protector as a $79 port-installed accessory on 2012 models like ours as well as 2013 models. Although our Prius C's bumper remains pristine after nearly 12,000 miles in service, I consider a protector a necessity on any vehicle with a hatch and if I had it my way, this feature would be standard.

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Edmunds Insurance Estimator

The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2012 Toyota Prius c in VA is:

$131 per month*
* Explanation
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