Fuel Economy Thoughts - 2012 Toyota Prius C Long-Term Road Test

2012 Toyota Prius C Long Term Road Test

2012 Toyota Prius C: Fuel Economy Thoughts

July 18, 2012


On the last Big List of Fuel Economy, our Prius C checked in with a 43.5 mpg average, the best in the fleet. But that's also a ways off from EPA combined, which is 50 mpg. Statistically, the C seems to be mid-pack for our fleet in terms of meeting EPA combined. Some cars are worse (Impreza and Beetle, for instance) while others are better (Quest and Camry). Yet the Prius is optimized for city use, which might lead one to think that it would have an advantage for doing better than average.

So what's the explanation?

Alas, I don't have a firm answer for you, only my guess. In my time with the car, I found that it is indeed possible to get quite impressive mileage from the car (noted in this post) but it also takes an active driver to do so. If you just drive the Prius like a regular car (i.e., no real effort to take advantage of the car's hybrid powertrain), well, you're not going to get the results.

I think that is what's going on here. While a few intrepid editors might get some really good fuel economy in the coming months (perhaps trying for records, like we did with the Jetta TDI), I suspect the C will hover right around that 43.5 mpg average for the remainder of its stay with us.

Getting 43 mpg is pretty cool. But I'd be happier if we were getting 50 mpg.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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