May 24, 2013
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.
May 20, 2013
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.
May 17, 2013
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.
May 9, 2013
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.
May 3, 2013
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.
May 2, 2013
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.
April 30, 2013
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.
April 29, 2013
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.
April 24, 2013
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.
April 23, 2013
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.
April 22, 2013
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.
April 18, 2013
Just tell me one thing: Why are there no gauges here?
April 18, 2013
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.
April 16, 2013
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.
April 15, 2013
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.
April 12, 2013
Josh Jacquot, Senior Editor
April 11, 2013
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.
April 5, 2013
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.
April 2, 2013
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.
March 26, 2013
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?
March 25, 2013
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.
March 22, 2013
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.
March 18, 2013
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).
March 14, 2013
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.
March 12, 2013
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.
March 7, 2013
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.
March 6, 2013
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?
March 1, 2013
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?"
February 28, 2013
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.
February 26, 2013
I've been commuting to work in our 2012 Toyota Prius C for about a week. As I've written here, it drives fine for a budget hatchback. The acceleration is OK, the ride quality is good enough, and the seats are comfy. I'm probably doing well at the mpg game, too, though I wouldn't know, because I'm living the hybrid car dream: I haven't had to refuel yet despite driving 30 miles each way.
With that said I'm realizing that a big part of the Prius C's appeal for me is the high level of connectivity in the cabin. I've never driven a car this cheap (well, with an as-tested MSRP of $23,470, it's not exactly cheap, but you get the idea) that had this much tech in the cabin.
Yet, if it weren't for my smartphone and its data contract, I wouldn't be nearly so entertained, er, infotained.
February 25, 2013
So here's a look at the driver seat in our long-term 2012 Toyota Prius C.
As you'd expect, it has full manual adjustments, including a simple seat-height lever that moves the seat-bottom cushion forward as you crank up the height. The steering wheel tilts and telescopes, but as in the bigger Prius models, not very much. I'd bring it closer to me if I could, but I can't, so the whole driver seat has to come forward instead.
These are typical compromises in a subcompact car, but the surprise is that comfort is still quite good for a 5-foot-10-inch, 150-pound adult. Seriously, I could commute for hours in this thing without feeling kinked up, which is exactly what you'd hope for in Southern California traffic.
I also like the Prius C's backseat, but not because it's especially roomy.
February 21, 2013
"What car is that?"
"Oh, that's the small Prius."
That's what I heard myself saying when I pulled up in our 2012 Toyota Prius C at a non-car person's house. It just seemed more natural to explain it that way rather than go into an extended explanation about how it uses a modified version of the B-segment Yaris platform architecture but has a hybrid drivetrain. She instantly knew what I meant: It's a little green car that gets great mpg and comes in a cuter color (with "cuter" open to interpretation).
February 20, 2013
We recently brought in the Prius C for its 10,000-mile service, which essentially consisted of an oil change/filter and a 32-point inspection that included an eyeballing of other vital fluid levels and a check on brake wear.