Used As Intended - 2012 Toyota Prius c Long-Term Road Test

2012 Toyota Prius c Long Term Road Test

2012 Toyota Prius C: Used As Intended

November 29, 2012


Ordinarily, my commute is not really suited to the 2012 Toyota Prius C's personality. I live a pretty good distance from the office and I make the journey at off-peak hours to maximize my average speed. Of course, the Prius C (like the regular Prius) gets by fine at fast freeway speeds, but stop-and-go traffic is what it really prefers.

Well, this week, I've spent most of my time in downtown Los Angeles covering the 2012 L.A. Auto Show, and the Prius C has been in its element. I've always liked its smaller size and its reasonably precise electric power steering -- it just feels more wieldy than the standard-size Prius.

At city speeds, the blending of its gasoline and electric power sources feels smooth and refined -- you don't really think about the transitions because the gas engine doesn't have to work that hard and doesn't command your attention as a result. I've been leaving the car in Eco mode and that has provided adequate throttle response for scooting away from stoplights.

Braking feels pretty natural, too -- well, maybe not natural, but normal for a hybrid car with regenerative braking -- but I think about it a lot, mainly because the car's Eco Score coaching display grades you on braking efficiency, plus starting and coasting. I do OK at braking, by the car's measure, but I'm better at starting.

About the only thing a Prius C owner might complain about in this environment is ride quality. It's decently smooth, but a lot of our surface streets are crumbling and it can be a little punishing over seams and broken pavement.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 10,151 miles

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