2012 Toyota Prius C Long-Term Road Test

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2012 Toyota Prius C: Fuel Economy Update for June

July 2, 2013

2012 Toyota Prius C

June marks the final month with our long-term 2012 Toyota Prius C. Little changed since last we posted a fuel economy update on the Prius C. All mpg milestones remain intact from May. After all, we drove it just 400 miles before it sold June 13. The only change between this month and last was the odometer.

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2012 Toyota Prius C: Logging Some Last Miles

June 13, 2013

2012 Toyota Prius C

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.

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2012 Toyota Prius C: Fuel Economy Update for May

June 4, 2013

2012 Toyota Prius C

The Prius C continues to impress, delivering real-world mileage of 45.3 mpg combined. That's a real number most metropolitan commuters can relate to and plan around. More than that, the Prius C delivers convenience. You'll cover anywhere from 350-400 miles, sometimes more, before needing a gas station.

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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: Fuel Economy Update for April

May 2, 2013

2012 Toyota Prius C

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.

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2012 Toyota Prius C: It Really Does Do 50 MPG

April 22, 2013

2012 Toyota Prius C

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.

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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: Fuel Economy Update for March

April 2, 2013

2012 Toyota Prius C

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.

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2012 Toyota Prius C: Spring Training Road Trip Fuel Economy

March 18, 2013

2012 Toyota Prius C

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).

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2012 Toyota Prius C: Fuel Economy Update for February

March 7, 2013

2012 Toyota Prius C

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.

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2012 Toyota Prius C: Fuel Economy Meter Accuracy

February 7, 2013

2012 Toyota Prius C

When we ran the Fuel Sipper Smackdown back in 2009, the 2010 Prius we used had an overly optimistic in-car MPG meter. On the soul-sucking city driving section of the test, that Prius' meter read 5.4 mpg over the actual results, which came to an 11-percent difference. On the backroad section, it reported 6.8 mpg over actual (14 percent).

Since there's not a lot to inspire me in our long-term Prius C, I invariably pay a lot of attention to its fuel economy. And that's the whole point of this car, right?

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2012 Toyota Prius C: Fuel Economy Update for January

February 4, 2013

2012 Toyota Prius C

During the Month of January, our long-term 2012 Toyota Prius C performed all the duties expected of a city car and not much else. Most of the miles logged were limited to our daily commutes and we averaged 41.34 mpg during the last two months. That's a good deal short of the EPA-estimated 50 mpg, but still nothing to scoff at, especially considering our heavier-than-normal feet on the gas pedal.

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2012 Toyota Prius C: It's No Turkey

November 22, 2012

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The Prius C is my ride for the Thanksgiving break and it's been a cheerful companion through all the holiday-related errands and runs. In the spirit of the season, I figured I'd make a list celebrating all the things I like most about this pint-sized Prius.

1: Hurray for its nav system interface, which is easy to read and use. The system is also relatively quick. I know we've criticized the nav system's voice control feature for being somewhat slow on the uptake, but to be honest, I have tried it yet -- on a recent trip to unfamiliar Inglewood to sample the wares of a well-reviewed restaurant, it was simple enough for me to input my destination via touchscreen. Haven't felt the need thus far to get any fancier than that.

2: Its compact footprint makes it a breeze to park and maneuver. And despite its petite dimensions, the cabin still feels roomy enough for my frame.

3: And then, of course, there's its gas mileage. With all the recent drama surrounding a certain company that promised one thing on the fuel economy front and delivered something less impressive, you have to appreciate a car whose real-world mileage lives up to manufacturer claims.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor

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2012 Toyota Prius C: Range!

November 02, 2012

Prius C range.JPG

As most of you have noticed (and some of you have disagreed with strongly) we LOVE cars with range and using every mile of said range. According to the EPA, our 2012 Toyota Pirus C has an estimated range of 428 miles out of its 9.5-mile fuel tank. With my commute, this works out to needing gas once every 23 days and then it'll only cost me about $43. A 30-day pass to take the bus to work here in LA would cost me $70.

Mike Magrath, Features Editor

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2012 Toyota Prius C: $25 to Vegas

November 01, 2012

Prius c Vegas.JPG

I drew the short straw and had got to drive our 2012 Toyota Prius out to Vegas for SEMA 2012. I'm a big fan of our Prius C during my normal, 8-mile, all-city commute. On the highway? Not so much.

The Prius C deals well with the high winds encountered along the 15 -- I didn't realize it was windy until I saw an Escape swaying along -- but the Prius C is woefully down on power on the hills and it's incredibly loud at +/- 75 mph. So loud that my ears are still ringing.

On the other hand, I averaged 44.5 mpg-- easily the best I've ever managed on this drive-- and it only cost $25 to get to Vegas. That's like one hand of blackjack. Hard to argue with that.

Mike Magrath, Features Editor @ 8,627 miles

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2012 Toyota Prius C: Which One is Right For You?

September 17, 2012

Back in May I produced the little infographic you see above for a quick little piece that went up on Edmunds here. For some reason, it never got posted here. So, you're welcome.

It doesn't point out which one is "best," rather it spells out the differences between the Prius liftback, C, Plug-in and V. Depending on your priorities, be it mpg, cost or cargo.

If were considering a carbon offset for my wasteful lifestyle, I'd probably get a Prius C. I don't need a lot of cargo space and I like the way the C drives more than the others.

So if you had to pick between the Prii, which one would you choose?

Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor @ 6,588 miles

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2012 Prius C: Operation Dog Transport Revisited

September 7, 2012

In a previous post, I explained how much wrangling it took to get a 14 cubic foot dog crate into our 2012 Volvo S60 T5...so when planning a similar trip, we wanted to get something a little bit cargo friendly. The 2012 Prius C has a hatch and fold flat rear seats, so no problem, right?

No fault of the Prius, but on my initial look-see I failed to account for the 27 inch height of the crate. When it came to the morning of our departure it was just barely too tall to fit into the rear hatch. Not wanting to force or break anything trying, I reverted to the old system of taking the crate apart and reassembling across the two back seats.

Problem solved - and the cargo area was free to hold a couple bags and the rest of our stuff.

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2012 Toyota Prius C: T.M.I.

August 22, 2012

Is it just me or does this information screen look like it's trying to do too much? It's like they took two screens worth of icons and crammed them onto one.

I know the Prius folks love stuff like "ECO Scores" and all that, but really, this seems like overkill. Just push the gas pedal less and you'll get good mileage. I don't need a fancy computer display to tell me that.

Ed Hellwig, Editor, Inside Line @ 4,878 miles

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2012 Toyota Prius C: Fuel Economy Thoughts

July 18, 2012

Prius_C_fillup.JPG

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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2012 Toyota Prius C: Cheap Is OK With Me

July 13, 2012

prius_c_parking.JPG

A couple weeks ago I read another publication's review of the Toyota Prius C. It was not a favorable review, The crux of the article was that Toyota's single-minded attempt at cost reduction for the C results in an absolutely dreary car to drive.

I understand the author's point, particularly in regards to the C’s cheapo interior and brittle ride quality. But I like the Prius C anyway, and maybe even because of its faults.

I respect that frugal A-to-B focus. The C reminds me of the old Civic HFs and Geo Metros, commuter cars that could be enjoyable in an odd sort of way if you geeked out over the fuel economy you were getting. It’s the same thing with the C. I like watching the display readouts and trying to maximize fuel economy for a car that’s already the top-rated non-electric car in America for city fuel economy.

I suppose that arguement could also be applied to other cars. Like our Mitsubishi i, for instance. But the Prius C seems different. More approachable. Better resolved. It's basic transportation with great fuel economy. I like that.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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2012 Toyota Prius C: High Fuel Economy ... If You Have The Patience

June 21, 2012

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It took me a couple days of driving to figure it out, but our Prius C responds really well to mild hypermiling techniques for city driving. Of course, you're saying "Well, duh Brent, it's a hybrid," but it's been a while since we've had a full hybrid (not our Honda Insight) in the fleet that's readily available.

There are three main things you can do. The first is coasting as soon as you know you're coming up to a red light. The Prius C's gas engine shuts off almost immediately for low or moderate-speed coasting, so less gas use there. You also start to get electric regeneration this way.

Then you can follow that with the second technique, which is light braking to further electric brake regeneration and not get into using the energy wasting friction brakes. The third opportunity is light throttle acceleration, which keeps the Prius C in all-electric drive mode. That's probably good for up to 25 mph or so, though I rarely had the patience to go past 10 mph. The configurable display pictured above shows you how much throttle you can apply before you activate the gas-engine activation boundary.

As a bonus technique, you can select the special EV mode and lock in the Prius C for all-electric low-speed mode. That's good for eking out a little more gas savings in places like neighborhoods or parking structures.

Ah, but there's a key word here: patience. The problem with these techniques is that that you end up being a rolling chicane for other drivers behind you. They like to charge up to stoplights (even if they're red ones) and snap away from stoplights. Can't blame them; that's just how we're used to driving. But I don't mind too much. For city driving, we're all getting to wherever we're going the same time anyway.

The alternative is just to not care and drive the Prius C like a regular car. You'll still get good fuel economy, probably in the 40s. But I doubt you'll get 50 combined like the EPA says. And you won't get 60-70 mpg like I was able to do on a few city errand trips.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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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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