June 13, 2013
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.
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.
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 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 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?
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).
December 01, 2012
Honestly, I never expected much in the way of driver seat comfort from the Toyota Prius C. I've never found the standard-size Prius that comfortable, and this junior version is a subcompact, and subcompacts often compromise on comfort. The C's steering wheel tilts and telescopes, but the range of adjustment is minimal. At the launch event last winter, I remember opening the glovebox into my shins while riding as a passenger... the footwells are not large.
Due to poor planning this week, though, I made a couple two-and-a-half-hour drives in our long-term Prius C. And strangely, the cloth seats in our Three model proved quite comfortable. There's a plush layer of cushioning on top of each seat but also enough structure underneath that to give you some support. I do put the seat all the way back on its track, but for me (a 5-foot-10 adult), it's not maxxed out and I can still use the seat-height adjuster to improve the view over the dash without causing the seat-bottom cushion to angle too far forward.
Bottom line: If you find the driver seat/seating position in the regular Toyota Prius uncomfortable, don't assume it'll be the same story in the Prius C. For me, the smaller Prius is actually better.
Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 10,275 miles
November 16, 2012
I'm working on a story about conversion vans for mobility-challenged drivers. Doing research for the feature required me to visit a couple of relatively far-flung mobility-conversion dealerships -- Better Life Mobility in Riverside, and Mobility Works in Van Nuys.
My vehicle of choice was the Prius C, and in all, I put more than 250 miles on the odo over the past two days. Some driving impressions follow after the jump.
The Prius C feels bouncy on uneven stretches of highway. There was a lot of vibration going on over a particularly rough stretch of the 405. And on surface streets, this refinement deficit was even more jarring. Coming back from lunch at Govinda's, I hit a patch of uneven pavement on Bagley, and it wasn't pretty. For me, not a deal breaker. But we get emails every day from readers seeking cars with a serene ride. If that's one of your key priorities, this isn't the choice for you.
Also, this isn't a car that just allows you to weave in and out of openings in traffic without a care in the world. While power is adequate for most situations, it's not abundant, so passing maneuvers, for example, require some forethought. It definitely forces you to interact with traffic in a different way than you would if you were behind the wheel of car with a stronger engine.
However, criticisms aside, the ride to and from these dealerships was pretty pleasant. And I'd easily recommend the Prius C to buyers, for one primary reason: gas mileage. I got a very real, very tangible sense of satisfaction from checking out the fuel-economy gauge as I cruised past traffic on the 60.
Exact mileage figures from my trip will follow in my next post.
Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor
October 25, 2012
Good news, the air conditioning in our 2012 Toyota Prius is ice cold and immediate. Even after being parked in the sun for a few hours, it chills the cabin with shocking quickness.
It's the only thing about this car that's overpowered.
Mike Magrath, Features Editor @ 8,255 miles
September 24, 2012
The Prius C has lots of information for you to consider. Seven different readout choices orbit the multi-information display, from Eco Savings to Past Record to Drive Information. There's also a master "Settings and Display Off" screen. Each drive-performance screen offers various slices and dices of how you're expending energy and saving money (or not) during your drives.
But with all those data sets, what you want to see might not be front and center at every moment. For example: This weekend was another hot one in Southern California. The Prius C does an admirable job of cooling itself off quickly, as we've said before. But cooling itself off from what outside temperature?
I've made the Eco Score screen my default setting because it's the one that helps me eke out the best fuel economy. But that's not where Toyota put the outside temperature display.
August 09, 2012
I finally got some freeway time in our Prius C and I'll I can say is that I agree with Dan Frio. He noted that this little hybrid is quite the wanderer on the highway. I figured it would demand a little more attention than usual, but it's really a handful, at least on our poorly surfaced local freeways.
Don't get me wrong, though, it's not some darty little death trap. It's just a small, lightweight car with hard tires, so it tends to follow grooves when it finds them. The fact that the steering isn't particularly responsive doesn't help matter much. I guess that's the price you pay for big mileage numbers.
Apart from the vague highway handling, it's surprisingly comfortable for such a small car. Decent seat, simple controls and good visibility. It's about what you would think a stripped down Prius would be.
Ed Hellwig, Editor, Inside Line
July 17, 2012
In this weather, I am happy to say our Toyota Prius C has a pleasantly effective air conditioner. It cools the cabin quickly and has well-positioned air vents. I like when cars have the round vents straddling each side of the dash. They are so easy to use and look attractive.
The long, narrow vents above the entertainment screen work very well without taking up much space. I don't like when cars have the vents on the sides of the nav screen. They usually end up blowing cold air on my hand. We've had several long-term Hyundais and Kias that had this awkward design.
So, I give high marks to the design of the climate system in the Prius C.
Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor @ 4,038 miles
June 21, 2012
I frequently see disguised Ford and BMW test mules driving down Wilshire Boulevard in my neighborhood. Why? Because it features a special sort of horrific pavement. It's really hard to describe just how bad it is, with nearby Highland Avenue a close second in terms of the amount of ruts, potholes, sinkholes and crappy repatch jobs. As such, LA's Miracle Mile is an interesting test for a car -- albeit one that's hardly indicative of what most Americans experience on a daily basis. Afghans, maybe.
Sadly, the poor little Prius C felt like it was being utterly obliterated as I drove first down Highland and then Wilshire. As I pulled over to take the above picture, I half expected it to pull out a white flag and asked to be carried home. It has the same sort of surprisingly harsh ride as the regular Prius over this stuff, and the lightweight, toy feel of the car exasperates the general sense of calamity even further. The Prius C feels brittle in a way that other small cars like the Fiesta, Sonic and the Beetle I drove yesterday do not.
Are they comfortable on Wilshire? Absolutely not, but then again, only a Rolls-Royce Phantom or maybe a hovercraft wouldn't have a crap ride in the Miracle Mile.
James Riswick, Automotive Editor