2012 Toyota Prius C Long-Term Road Test

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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: 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: 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 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: 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: 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: Hybrid Styling

April 12, 2013

2012 Toyota Prius C

Pod.

Josh Jacquot, Senior Editor

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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: 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: 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: Easy Does It

February 12, 2013

2012 Toyota Prius C

As a car enthusiast, I appreciate vehicles that hit their intended target, whether it be as an all-out performance machine, a versatile family shuttle or an economical and environmentally friendly commuter. Upon grabbing the keys, the Prius C may not get me giddy the way the 911 would, but it hits the bulls-eye in terms of achieving its mission.

Although the Prius C's performance isn't exactly thrilling, in the real world of crowded city driving, it has enough poke to deal with L.A.'s hordes of inattentive drivers. And of course it feels good getting over 40 MPG while slogging through rush "hour" traffic. Yes, the C's dash design is ugly, but the seats are comfortable, the controls are easy to use, it has a good Bluetooth setup, it's got satellite radio, and it's a snap to park. Monday through Friday around these parts, this is the right tool for the job.

John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 10,940 miles

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2012 Toyota Prius C: Cleanest Mass-Production Vehicle

January 31, 2013

2012 Toyota Prius C

Every year, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) takes a look at the country's greenest mass-production vehicles, and produces a list showing which ones are friendliest to the environment. This year, the Toyota Prius C was the big winner, coming in at the number one spot in the annual rankings.

ACEEE Vehicle Analyst Shruti Vaidyanatha points out that the list is flush with hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and battery-electric cars — a sure indicator that a shift is occurring as automakers focus more on vehicles that emphasize fuel efficiency and clean emissions.

The runner-up was Honda's Fit EV, with the top five rounded out by the standard Prius, Prius Plug-in and Honda Civic Hybrid. Other models that made the cut include the Honda Insight, Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid, Smart Fortwo, Scion iQ and Ford Focus EV.

For the full story, click here.

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor

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2012 Toyota Prius C: Some Days Bridgestone Turanzas Have Their Place

November 30, 2012

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Suffice to say the Bridgestone Turanza EL400-02 is not an aspirational tire -- especially not in the barely-there P175/65R15 84H size on our Toyota Prius C Three. But at the end of the day, this is an economy car that just happens to have an unusually elaborate and expensive drivetrain to help you get 50 mpg on the way to work. It doesn't have awesome tires and it doesn't need them.

But so far, I'm liking the wet weather grip of these Turanzas. We're in the midst of the first sustained winter storm in Southern California. It has been raining for a couple days, and the roads are saturated and in some cases flooded. It took me two hours to get to the office this morning. There was ample opportunity for slipping and hydroplaning, but the tires never checked out on me. A quick glance at the treads reveals dozens upon dozens of grooves for channeling water. Of course, my drive to work wasn't anything like the fun Magrath's going to have in the BRZ, but it was safe, predictable and comforting like a hot bowl of cream of wheat.

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2012 Toyota Prius C: The Bright Side of Frugality

November 29, 2012

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Between this spicy little number spotted at the ongoing L.A. Auto Show (in a shade called Habanero, appropriately enough) and the cheery light-blue Summer Rain Metallic model in our garage, you certainly can't accuse the Prius C of having a boring color palette.

The Prius C comes in basic black, white and gray, but also offers bolder choices like Blue Streak Metallic, Absolutely Red and the two listed above. Wonder what the take rate is on these brighter colors.

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor

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2012 Toyota Prius C: 10,000 Miles

November 26, 2012

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Our little Prius C sipped its way past 10,000 miles this weekend. So far it's delivered as expected: completely reliable, and frugal to an almost unreal degree -- excellent fuel economy, with no hypermiling required.

We got the car back in May, so it's on track to rack up 20,000 miles during its stay with us, which is always our goal.

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor @ 10,008 miles

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2012 Toyota Prius C: California Loves Hybrids

November 14, 2012

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Any guesses as to what percentage of last year's total domestic hybrid purchases are attributable to the Golden State? Answer after the jump.

Roughly 25 percent of all hybrids purchased in the U.S. last year were bought in California.

Some other interesting facts:

- California purchased just under one-third of all electric vehicles bought in the U.S.

- the Toyota Prius is the best-selling car in California

- Californians also buy the most cars by volume. They purchased 11.1 percent of all cars sold in the U.S. last year

- electric and hybrid vehicles currently comprise 3.4 percent of the total number of vehicles in the U.S., a figure that represents a one percent increase from last year's

Full article here (much of data for the article was provided by Edmunds.com).

Warrren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor

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2012 Toyota Prius C: Rich Guy Car?

November 08, 2012

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So I have a friend who pretty much never has to worry about money. Travel, real estate, charter flights, and cars are just a whim away, yet he chooses to drive plug-in Prius. He's a very different rich guy than I'd be, primarily because he's still a rich guy, and by this point I would have squandered all of my money on my favorite indulgences.

That's not to say he doesn't have fun, though. He has a race car and a really nice modern collectable car. He's also looking into a classic roadster this weekend. But he can't stop talking about his Prius. Maybe it's the idea of lightening our reliance on foreign oil. Maybe it's the idea of leaving a better world for his son. Maybe it's politics, or maybe it's the whole Beverly Hills green movement. I don't really know. I started explaining where the Prius batteries come from and what it takes to process those materials, but it had little effect on him.

But I get it. Or, I would if I had an unlimited budget.

For the everyday errands, I can see how driving a track-focused car might get old for most people. I can also see how driving a really nice car can become nerve-wracking around the "talented" drivers in L.A. He loves his Prius, sure, but he wouldn't shed any tears if it got damaged in a fender-bender. It is essentially a very efficient workhorse.

He has an order in on a Tesla S, and that makes a lot more sense to me. It looks cool and it goes fast. I'm pretty sure he'd get rid of the Prius when that happens.

But that begs the question, if you had all of your dream cars, what would your everyday car be?

Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor

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2012 Toyota Prius C: HTNA Tweaks the C for SEMA

November 05, 2012

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Of all of the cars I put into the "Long Term Cars of SEMA 2012" gallery, the Prius Cs by HTNA garnered the most feedback.

And for good reason, they're crazy. The orange one they call "Sweet" and it's all leopard print and lace. The blue one's called "Luxes" and it looks like they skinned a teddy bear to make the interior.

Getting our Prius C modded by HTNA would certainly be one way to set it apart from the 9-billion other Cs on the road, but somehow I don't think Oldham will go for it.

Mike Magrath, Features Edito

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2012 Toyota Prius C: High Marks From Consumers Reports

October 29, 2012

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The Toyota Prius C earned Consumer Reports' top score overall in CR's new reliability report, just released this morning.

Toyota is "setting the pace in reliability," Consumer Reports said. Scion, Toyota and Lexus swept the top spots in the reliability study.

Ford didn't fare so well.

Kelly Toepke, News Editor

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2012 Toyota Prius C: Give Me a High Hat

October 26, 2012

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You ever sit in traffic and your favorite song comes on and you just start drumming to the beat on your steering wheel? Well, I'll have you know that our 2012 Toyota Prius C's steering wheel comes with a pretty decent substitute for a cymbal: that silver plastic trim on either side of the airbag. When you hit it with your nails it adds a nice sharp sound to contrast the dull thumps of the rest of the steering wheel.

I do a mean steering wheel backup to Led Zeppelin's "Rock and Roll."

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor

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2012 Toyota Prius C: The People Have Spoken

October 20, 2012

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Every now and then I like to check out our consumer reviews to see what the folks who actually own a given car have to say about it. Cruising through the reviews for the Prius C I saw the expected praise for the impressively high fuel economy and park-ability as well as kudos for features (on the upper trims) such as the keyless ignition/entry and easy-to-use Bluetooth. Amazingly, a commentator with the username "Ispeed" hated the car (his fiancee has one) because it was too slow for him.

Of course these consumer reviews are subjective, and some may argue that folks feel obligated to only say good things to justify their purchase. But most folks seem to be fairly even-handed and I feel these are a valuable research tool. Regardless of whatever car you may be considering, it's always a good idea to hear what the owners think.

John DiPietro, Automotive Editor

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2012 Toyota Prius C: The Cute One

October 18, 2012

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You've heard it before here. Seems the official car of Santa Monica, where Edmunds HQ is located, is the Toyota Prius. And frankly I'm so over that car. I see it EVERYwhere. So I have to admit that it felt a little nice to drive our 2012 Toyota Prius C around town. In most cases it was the only C on the road. I imagined the Prius drivers looking at it with envy. Sort of like how iPhone 3GS owners envy those with the 5. OK, not really.

In any case, superficially speaking, I appreciate its compact size and that crazy, eye-catching color in this sea of Prii. Out of the Prius family, it's definitely the cutest....

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor

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2012 Toyota Prius C: You Can't Miss It

October 17, 2012

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That's gotta be the biggest temperature knob ever. Wonder why Toyota decided to dedicate that much real estate to the 2012 Toyota Prius C's temp knob. Is that something consumers usually have a hard time spotting? Otherwise, I like how everything is laid out plain as day. No guesswork involved.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor

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2012 Toyota Prius C: Just Another Hatch?

October 10, 2012

One of the biggest selling points of the original Toyota Prius was its unique look. It wasn't necessarily a good look, just a different look, one that screamed "I'm a hybrid!" which is exactly what certain people wanted.

Now that the Prius "family" has expanded, some of that uniqueness has faded, at least that's what I think whenever I look at our Prius C. It's still a little on the funky side, but I think most people would take one look at it and assume it's just another compact hatchback.

In many ways it is, and that makes it functional, easy to drive and efficient.

But you might not get as many thumbs-ups from The Fraternal Order of Other Hybrid Drivers.

Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 7,624 miles

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2012 Toyota Prius C: Keyless Morning

October 9, 2012

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With gas prices soaring, I decided to do my part today and work from home, thus saving the fuel from my 74-mile round-trip commute to Santa Monica.

Sounds plausible, right?

Actually, I couldn't find my keys this morning, which includes the key to the Toyota Prius C I drove this weekend.

After searching, and calling a few people I saw over the weekend, I found the keys. Unfortunately, they're not in my house, and the Prius C and I are trapped here until late this afternoon.

Tell me your worst lost-key story.

Kelly Toepke, News Editor

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2012 Toyota Prius C: Color Crazy

October 5, 2012

This morning in the middle school drop-off loop, a couple of 7th grade girls yelled, "We love your car color!"

Didn't surprise me. Our Prius C is just their shade of shocking tween turquoise.

Kelly Toepke, News Editor

The brief color conversation reminded me of when my Grandma bought her first new car, must have been at least 30 years ago now. She didn't get her driver's license until she was in her early 60s, after my Grandpa passed away. Until then, he did all the driving, and she never felt the need.

The first car she purchased on her own was a gold Ford Tempo. After she brought it home, I remember her fretting about her color choice.

"I should have bought the silver," she said. "The gold clashes with my white hair."

Why did you choose the color of your car?

Kelly Toepke, News Editor

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2012 Toyota Prius C: Nine Airbags

October 4, 2012

One - steering wheel.

Our 2012 Prius C has eight more airbags.

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2012 Toyota Prius C: Data Driven

September 19, 2012

A business maxim says that what gets measured gets done. At Edmunds, we're in Week Five of a fitness challenge and, armed (or legged) with pedometers, many of us are walking and exercising like never before. Hitting 10,000 steps a day has become a bit of an obsession for me.

Data is obviously a focus in the Prius C. After a couple times in the car, I find that I've altered my driving style so I can achieve good eco scores and excellent mpg. It's the perfect antidote to feeling (without reference to any data) how underpowered and sluggish the car is. I tell myself that I can get a better eco score if I don't demand too much of it. I'm guessing Toyota thought all that through when it deciced to show us nuggets of data crack as we drive.

Back to the human data for a minute: I got more than 10,000 steps in yesterday. But my desktop pedometer program shows me that my daily average is only 5,668. Time for a walk.

Carroll Lachnit, Features Editor @6,978 miles

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2012 Toyota Prius C: Newest Status Symbol?

August 23, 2012

The L.A. Times ran a story recently that reports how the Prius has become a status symbol in rich neighborhoods in which the residents place a priority on environmental responsibility.

According to the article, Century City here in Los Angeles, for example, has an average annual income of $751,000, making it fifth on the wealthiest ZIP codes list. (Had no idea Century City was full of so many high rollers -- L.A. residents, does that ranking seem right to you?) Anyway, in that big-money enclave, the homely, frugal Prius is the most popular vehicle, believe it or not.

This makes me wonder if the Prius C is destined to fill a similar niche. At the moment, it seems to be a much less common sight on the streets than its big brother, which could only serve to enhance its appeal with the wealthy, environmentally conscious set.

What do you think?

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor

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2012 Toyota Prius C: 5,000 Miles Done

August 23, 2012

This morning I looked down just in time to catch the odometer in our Prius C clicking its 5,000th mile. We bought the little hatchback back on May 3rd of this year and have had no repairs or problems since. Great little car.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief

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2012 Toyota Prius C: Unlikely Lust Object

July 30, 2012

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The streets of Los Angeles are home to some of the finest examples of high-end automotive machinery in all the nation. For this reason, it always makes me smile when a humble model like our Prius C (shown here getting its weekly bath at the official Edmunds car wash) manages to attract attention.

At a weekend showing of Savages (liked it quite a bit, by the way), I returned to the Prius C after the movie to find it being fawned over by a very suburban, very Prius-y couple. The wife, especially, seemed quite taken with the car, gazing at it as if it were a puppy in a pet shop.

I don't know whether it was our little Toyota's fetching Summer Rain Metallic paint job or seductive promise of Prius fuel efficiency in a smaller, more affordable package that had her so hot and bothered, but whatever it was, her excitement was palpable.

Enthusiasts will tell you that cars like the Prius C aren't emotional purchases, but this couple reminded me that a purchase like the C can be very emotional -- it all depends on what your priorities are.

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor

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2012 Toyota Prius C: The Hilux Factor

July 16, 2012

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The Toyota Prius C is the hybrid I like best, I think. It has a dimension of practical efficiency that's appropriate to its mission, yet it also expresses a certain adventurousness in the way it looks, outside and in (especially inside), that is refreshing.

It's the best thing Toyota makes, I think. They should park one on the lawn down there at U.S. corporate headquarters just to remind themselves of what the company is all about. The Prius C would look great parked in a little display next to the 1968 Toyota Hilux pickup truck, which is for me the other vehicle that is the essence of the Toyota Way.

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2012 Toyota Prius C: Prius Hangout

July 09, 2012

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I had to snap this picture over the weekend. And no, it wasn't staged. I parked when the furthest left of the gray Prii was there, and by the time I came back from shopping the other two cars had joined in.

Having seen a few other Prius Cs around town now, I was curious to know the Prius C's sales. Alas, Toyota isn't breaking the new C and V out separately. But overall Prius sales were up by 324.9 percent for June 2012 compared to June of last year (4,340 units jumping to 19,150), so something's definitely working for Toyota.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 3,471 miles

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2012 Toyota Prius C: Not Keyed In

July 04, 2012

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You know how it goes. You get where you're going, you park, you're in a hurry, you're distracted.

That's how it went for me one morning last week, and the price of my distraction was that I left the Prius C running in our office garage. Got out of the car, locked it, walked away, turned in the key. Takahashi, the next driver, found the Prius humming away. The car was uninjured.

I'm chagrined, as you can imagine. But at least it didn't happen in the attached garage of a home. More about that in a minute.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has identified a problem with keyless ignition systems. Actually, there are three problems:

  • The driver doesn't know how to stop the car in a panic situation. Not all keyless ignitions turn off in the same way. The inability to stop a car with a push-button ignition in a panic situation is the most serious problem, and was a factor in the unintended acceleration accidents of a couple years ago.
  • The driver pushes the switch to shut down the engine without first putting the car in park. Cars that are on any kind of incline can roll away, possibly hurting or killing the driver or passersby.
  • The driver exits the car "with the vehicle propulsion system unintentionally left active," as NHTSA puts it. I'm that guy.

NHTSA has received four reports of near carbon-monoxide poisoning as a result of car owners leaving keyless-ignition vehicles running in garages that are attached to homes. The agency also recounts one carbon-monoxide death in Florida that is being investigated for a link to a keyless ignition issue. Other deaths also have been reported.

Here's a description of an incident sent to NHTSA by a hybrid-car owner (a plug-in vehicle, from the sound of it):

"Our garage is attached to our house with our bedroom above the garage. With three kids, my wife and I have been distracted, leaving the car in the garage to unload groceries or help with the children.

"When on electric power we have neglected to turn off the ignition since the car is silent. Only when the carbon monoxide detector sounded in our garage did we realize the engine had started while we were in the house. We think this could be deadly to other families without carbon monoxide alarms who may also forget to turn off the engine when parked in an attached garage while on electric power."

The problems with keyless ignitions are troubling enough that NHTSA is requiring carmakers to standardize their operations and warnings in several ways. To help prevent drivers from leaving a car that's still running, regulations would require an alert of no less than 85 decibels in a particular frequency range for no less than a second outside the car. (Currently, the Prius C displays the warning message you see in the photo. The interior buzzer sounds once. The exterior buzzer chirps three times.) The agency expects that these measures will be in place by the fall of 2015.

I don't blame the car for what happened to me. I acted like a new hybrid-car owner, unfamiliar with how incredibly quiet it is. I missed the warnings the Prius C offered. No question.

Cars are getting more complex all the time, and not all the features behave in the same way from car to car. Sometimes owners -- and short-term drivers -- need help to keep up.

NHTSA put it this way in its proposed rule: "The common automotive practice of the rotating ignition switch, combined with a physical key, has standardized engine shut down procedure before the advent of new electronic convenience controls. We believe standardizing the operation of these new controls, combined with the new alerts, will have the same effect."

Carroll Lachnit, Features Editor

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2012 Toyota Prius C: Natural Habitat

June 27, 2012

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My Mac abruptly decided to stop opening PDFs, so I made a Genius Bar appointment at the Santa Monica Apple Store, grabbed the keys to the Prius C and glided over there. I'm usually racing to beat traffic on the 405 to get home, so I don't hang out much in Santa Monica. But yesterday was different. Once Hoyt (who IS a genius) cured my computer, I went shopping, cruised trendy Montana Avenue and stopped for ice cream.

James has written that the Prius C did not fare well on pockmarked Wilshire Boulevard. Conversely, it is perfectly adapted to the traffic, parking and overall ambience of green-chic Santa Monica.

Like Brent and Donna, I didn't find the Prius C to be quite as good an experience under greater demands. Trying to pass a Guinness truck this morning on a freeway transition ramp nearly gave it an infarction. But for suburban/city driving, it was maneuverable in traffic and easy to park, both on the street and in busy lots teeming with hulking vehicles. If I was a Santa Monican mainly in need of a car for around-town trips, the Prius C would be worth a look.

As my colleague Jessica Caldwell points out, Southern Californians love their Prii. Prius is the fourth most registered vehicle for retail buyers in Los Angeles in 2012. I don't have registration data for Santa Monica, but I'd be willing to guess it's even higher here.

Carroll Lachnit, Features Editor @2,883 miles.

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2012 Toyota Prius C: You Have Chosen...Wisely

June 14, 2012

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A few months ago, I wrote-up a full road test on the Prius C. You read the epic tome here (seriously, where's my Pulitzer?). Of the things that bugged me, two of them were options. That test vehicle was a Prius C Four (huh huh...C4...boom) and had the 16-inch alloy wheels. Normally, I'm all for fully-loaded cars, but not in this case.

The Prius C Four trim adds something called SofTex-trimmed seats. The material was just plain odd. It felt like plastic. No wait, that's not fair to plastic. It felt like the coverings they have on a doctor's examining table, or maybe the upholstery in a dentist's chair – neither of which I'm particularly fond of.

Then there were those 16-inch alloys. I like bigger wheels, as long as they don't affect the ride quality or handling. The Prius' big wheels did neither, but they did impact the turning radius. Dan Edmunds explained to me the reasons why and how the optional wheels impacted the suspension geometry and thus, the turning circle, but my mind wandered off to motorcycles and bacon. Reasonings aside, the bigger wheels increase the turnabout width by six feet.

SIX FEET! (huh huh...six feet over)

That's insane for any car, let alone a little city hybrid. City cars should be able to perform a U-turn in my shower. But no, the test car required a three-point turn in front of CasaHashi. Un-Ack-Sep-Taw-Bull.

So that leads us back to our long-termer. Like the Grail Knight so eloquently put it in the Last Crusade, "You have chosen…wisely." So if you're looking at a Prius C, do what we did. That is all.

Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor @ 1,430 miles

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2012 Toyota Prius C: What Color Is This Car?

May 31, 2012

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I find that men and women see blues and greens differently. When a color falls between blue and green on the color wheel, most men will call it green, while most women will call it blue. This is my personal observation.

The original Crayola 64-box had a blue-green and a green-blue. They were two very different colors.

I've heard some of the guys describe our Prius C as sea green. On the Toyota website this color looks very green. But in person I think it is blue. In close-up, you can see the blue paint has a green shimmer to it. It's more like a nail polish than a car color.

Toyota calls this Summer Rain Metallic. How would you describe it?

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor @ 1,075 miles

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2012 Toyota Prius C: The Payback

May 24, 2012

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What I like best about the 2012 Toyota Prius C is that it pencils out.

Probably "pencils out" is not quite the right phrase for the careful calculation of the period of time that it takes to recover in fuel savings the premium cost of hybrid technology. But you get it. It's possible to think of the Prius C as a car that pays for its exotic technology in a time frame that's less than the half-life of a plutonium isotope.

Not only has Edmunds long believed in the evaluation of any fuel-efficient vehicle according to this metric with its Internet tool available here on the Edmunds.com Web site but also the federal government is now in the game with its own site found here.

The feds offer a pretty basic calculation, since only fuel costs and the vehicle's MSRP are factored into the result. There's nothing to factor buying incentives, insurance, maintenance and resale value. "Based on MSRP and fuel costs alone, hybrid vehicles can save you money versus a comparably equipped conventional vehicle," the site tells you.

All this is of real interest now that the price of gasoline seems to be declining while the availability of conventionally powered high-mpg vehicles is increasing. Here's the complete news item from Edmunds Inside Line.

I'm liking the Prius C because it brings hybrid technology to people who have been standing on the sidelines because the price of admission to the whole hybrid thing has been too much. Of course, for me, the payback that a hybrid gives you remains a statement of personal values rather than pure pocketbook economics, but I'm totally okay with that. At the same time, I figure it's smart to know the whole deal no matter what kind of Prius C shopper you might be.

Michael Jordan, Executive Editor, Edmunds.com @ 860 miles

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Edmunds Insurance Estimator

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

$126 per month*
* Explanation
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