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Used 2013 Toyota Prius c Hatchback Review

2013 Toyota Prius c Hatchback

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Edmunds Summary Review of the 2013 Toyota Prius c Hatchback

  • B Edmunds Rating
  • As the entry-level model, the 2013 Toyota Prius C represents a more responsive and affordable Prius. It has some drawbacks, but for top fuel economy on a budget, you won't do any better.

  • Pros

    Stellar fuel economy; favorable pricing; roomy interior; fairly sporty for a hybrid.

  • Cons

    Ride can be stiff over some roads; poor interior materials quality; noticeable wind noise; slow acceleration.

  • What's New for 2013

    Besides some upper trim interior materials making their way into the lower trim levels, the Toyota Prius C returns unchanged for 2013.

Full Edmunds Expert Review: 2013 Toyota Prius c Hatchback

What's New for 2013

Besides some upper trim interior materials making their way into the lower trim levels, the Toyota Prius C returns unchanged for 2013.


When it comes to all-out high-mpg cars, you can't overlook the venerable Toyota Prius. With four models to choose from, there's a good chance one might fit your needs. The smallest of the Prii, the 2013 Toyota Prius C, manages to distinguish itself on a number of levels.

As the entry-level Prius, the C model undercuts the standard Prius liftback's price by a considerable margin. In exchange, you'll have to sacrifice some refinement in terms of ride quality and interior materials, but we don't consider either of these deal breakers. On the plus side, the Prius C gains a bit more agility and responsiveness via its smaller dimensions and lighter weight.

Of course, the Prius C performs when it comes to fuel economy, too. With an EPA-estimated 50 mpg in combined driving conditions, there is simply no other subcompact hatchback that even comes close. In our long-term experience, the Prius C nearly meets that estimate.

Overall, we give the Prius C high marks, but we would advise a closer look at some features and options during the decision process. In particular, the 16-inch wheels and sportier steering has the unfortunate side effect of increasing the turning radius by a significant 6 feet. We'd also recommend trying out the "SofTex" faux leather seat upholstery beforehand, as it feels nowhere close to a material found in nature. If heated seats are a priority for you, however, there's no escaping this odd vinyl covering.

But even with these faults, we have no hesitation recommending the 2013 Toyota Prius C over its closest (but still distant) competitors. The 2013 Honda Insight is similarly priced, but is handily beat when it comes to miles per gallon. The same goes for the 2013 Honda CR-Z, which only seats two, though it does feature a sportier image. If power and acceleration are secondary concerns, we'd even suggest the Prius C to those shopping conventional gas-only-powered hatchbacks; it's that hard to overlook.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2013 Toyota Prius C is offered in numbered trim levels from One to Four. The base Prius C One comes with 15-inch steel wheels, automatic climate control, full power accessories, a folding rear seat, a 3.5-inch multifunction display, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player and a USB/iPod interface.

The Prius C Two adds cruise control, a height-adjustable driver seat, a center console storage bin and armrest, 60/40-split-folding rear seats, a faux leather dash panel, a cargo cover and a six-speaker sound system. Upgrading to the Prius C Three gets you navigation with a 6.1-inch touchscreen, keyless ignition/entry, satellite radio and voice control. Also included is Toyota's Entune smartphone integration system that adds Bing search functions, streaming Internet audio and traffic, sports and stock information. Alloy wheels are available as an option.

The range-topping Four adds alloy wheels, heated mirrors, foglights, a faux-leather-wrapped steering wheel and seat upholstery and heated front seats. Options for the Four include 16-inch wheels and quicker-ratio steering. A sunroof is available on both the Three and Four.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2013 Toyota Prius C is powered by a similar but smaller hybrid powertrain than its bigger Prius siblings. A 1.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine produces 73 horsepower and 82 pound-feet of torque, while a pair of electric motor/generators supplies an additional 60 hp. The gas engine acts as a main propulsion source as well as a generator to charge the nickel-metal hydride batteries. The electric motors also contribute to propulsion and charge the battery pack under deceleration. Combined power output comes to 99 hp and is sent to the front wheels via a continuously variable transmission (CVT).

In Edmunds performance testing, the Prius C needed 11.3 seconds to reach 60 mph, which is quite slow even for a subcompact car.

Of course with any Prius, the most important numbers relate to fuel economy, and the Prius C does not disappoint. EPA-estimated mileage stands at 53 mpg city/46 mpg highway and 50 mpg in combined driving, making it the most economical non-plug-in hybrid on the market.


Standard safety features on all 2013 Toyota Prius C models include stability control, traction control, antilock brakes (front discs, rear drums), hill start assist, front seat side airbags, side curtain airbags, a driver knee airbag and unique front seat cushion airbags that help prevent occupants from sliding under the seatbelts in the event of a collision. In Edmunds brake testing, a Prius C came to a stop from 60 mph in a better-than-average 118 feet.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the Prius C the highest possible rating of "Good" in the frontal-offset, side-impact and roof strength tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

Inside, the Prius C features a sleek, modern design with a mix of the familiar as well as the unconventional. Centrally located gauges are mounted high atop the dashboard, which can be a bit odd at first, but makes for easier reading. To its detriment, the cabin's plastics are several steps below the materials you'll find in other subcompacts like the Ford Fiesta and Hyundai Accent. The cloth seat upholstery is nothing special, but it's certainly preferable to the optional "faux leather." The latter may be made from eco-friendly materials, but it's probably the cheapest-feeling material we've sat on in quite some time.

In terms of comfort, the Prius C presents a mixed bag, particularly for taller passengers. The driving position is slightly compromised by the lack of enough extension for the steering wheel's telescoping function, and the tall, upright dash can be hard to peer over. The front passenger may also take issue with the glovebox that intrudes into the footwell. Backseat occupants will likely fare better, as there's ample head- and legroom for adults, and the fully flat floor allows for even more flexibility.

The base Prius C One's rear seat folds down as one piece, but Two and above feature a 60/40 split for greater passenger/cargo versatility. With all the seats in use, cargo capacity stands at 17.1 cubic feet, which is about what you'd expect from a hatchback in this class.

Driving Impressions

The Prius liftback has never been described as fun or engaging from behind the wheel, but the 2013 Toyota Prius C manages to liven things up. Its smaller footprint and more advantageous positioning of hybrid components allow for a bit more nimbleness, though it's still a far cry from conventional hatchbacks. Acceleration is comparatively slow, but power is perfectly acceptable for around-town driving and getting up to highway speeds.

As expected, fuel economy is outstanding. Outside of a plug-in hybrid, you're not going to do better than a Prius C. An unfortunate downside to the economy-focused mission, however, is a noticeable degradation in ride quality. More severe road imperfections are met with an uncharacteristic harshness and, combined with noticeable wind noise at higher freeway speeds, give the Prius C a budget-car feel.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Average Consumer Rating (See all 14 reviews) Write a Review

This ain't no yaris!!!

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Vehicle: 2013 Toyota Prius c

I rented a Yaris for week in California and it felt cheap, ran noisily and definitely suffered from wind noise. But I did like the subcompact size of it. So my fear when test driving a used 2013 Prius C (30k miles) was that it would have these same problems. Wrong! The Prius C is much more solidly built and does not feel like a tin can. While the interior for the Prius C 2 is indeed plastic (with unfortunately, cloth side door armrests which stain easily), they've done a great job with a blue/back color combo in my silver C2. I was surprised that, though lower to the ground, the wind noise was less than my more cavernous 2001 Toyota Highlander that I traded it for. I could tell that it didn't have the power of my Highlander's 2.5 litre engine, so I haven't taken as many chances with it whipping in and out of daily traffic. But I find it peppy enough, even when entering freeways. The seats are comfortable though a bit firm (I got a special seating pad for longer trips). I love all the onboard electronic screen that allows you to geek out if you wish (I usually keep it on the screen that tells me my average mpg). And to tell you at the end of trip how many pennies your trip cost (often getting 50+ mpg in the city especially in stop/go traffic).The trunk space over my Highlander has taken some getting used to. And I can't fold the backseats completely down unless the back seat headrests are (easily) removed). Speaking of interior size, I am 5'9" with long legs and I'm comfortable in the drivers seat. I haven't had rear passengers yet, but just sitting back there I was surprised at the leg/headroom. You really can't tell from the outside of the car. One drawback in the rear seating: The car's electric battery sits below the back passenger's seat right behind the driver. There's a grill on the rear seat that keeps the battery cool; it cannot be blocked. So that means no legs or items blocking it. Overall, this is a fun car to drive, MPG is insane, and it's pretty darn cute. Love the built-in bluetooth, auto climate control and an insanely good sound system that rival the Bose system in my Highlander (though it has some challenges with really heavy bass). For my lifestyle, I made just the right choice.

First car

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Toyota Prius c

This is my first car purchase, and I love it for a first-time car owner!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Prius c earns a b+

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Toyota Prius c

While I bought this car because it was a hybrid and didn't look as goofy as the regular Prius, I've been pleasantly surprised at the overall ability of the car. I've driven it in mountains with no lack of acceleration, or braking, averaged an honest 49.8 mpg with spikes to 54mpg no matter where or how I drive it. In terms of cargo ability it's been able to carry almost everything I wanted. I couldn't get a bicycle all the way in with the back seats down, but I don't think any passenger car could do that. The only concern I have is the long term cost of taking it to Toyota for oil changes. My first one I had to pay for cost $80, of course it uses synthetic blends so maybe I shouldn't complain. That's oil, rotate tires, new oil filter, new cabin filter.

This car is at least a c+++

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Toyota Prius c

The Prius C is a small car but for a single driver who is commuting, and occasionally carrying boxy items, it can be a perfect fit. After 2-1/2 years I've had no major issues or mechanical problems with my car. It goes in for oil changes and once to have a remote release adjusted. That's the total maintenance and mechanical problems I've had. Others have said the car is noisy. If you floor it off a traffic light, yes. In ordinary driving, you can easily hold a normal voice level conversation with the people in the back seat.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Long time toyota owner, first-time hybrid owner

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Vehicle: 2013 Toyota Prius c

I traded in my dying 2006 Toyota Matrix XRS with 170k on the odometer. I was getting around 30mpg and it was a pretty speedy car with lots of room. I had limited time to look around and ended up finding a Black 2013 Prius C One with black tinted glass and only 30,000 miles. It was also a Toyota Certified Car so it came with reliability, an extended warranty, and peace of mind. It wasn't love at first sight though - I was looking at it from a practical point of view; I liked the idea of saving money on maintenance and the awesome 20+mpg jump in MPG more. Also, the price I paid was in my range. It does its job as a commuter car and it has actually saved me a lot even though I now have payments. I have even taught myself a few hybrid tricks to get better fuel mileage (no warming up the car, no fast acceleration, moving the gas pedal so it uses electric only mode more) and I now am getting between 50-60mpg with mixed highway/road driving. I love the fact that it tells me how much money in gas I have spent to drive to a place. While the technology on the engine/hybrid system is awesomely advanced, the rest of the car feels like a cheap economy car. That's exactly what it is, though, so I didn't really expect too much in terms of refinement. You basically pay for the hybrid system in what is a car like a Yaris. It has automatic windows, a bluetooth CD player, automatic AC, Steering wheel controls, and a CVT for convenience. It does not have Cruise Control, there are no variable intermittent wipers, no trunk light, and only has a 2 speaker CD player. It's odd to me to have automatic AC but no trunk light??? I feel like these are things that became a staple in economy cars in the 2000's. The saving grace of the CD player is it's bluetooth capability which works better than higher end Volkswagens. It has clear sound, nobody I'm talking with can tell I am using the internal bluetooth microphone for calls, and it is easy to sync devices. When I got the car I made two immediate upgrades - I changed all the lights on the interior and exterior to LED, put in HID headlights, and changed out the hubcaps to something a little better. The HID upgrade was great and the LED's really made the car stand out at night. The handling of the car is great! If I were to put sporty tires on the car I'm sure it would be great at an Autocross. The turning radius is also great and has allowed me to get in and out of some tight spaces without issue. In the end, it serves its purpose and I'm hoping it will take me into the next decade without issue.

Good gas mileage

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Toyota Prius c

The first only reason to buy this car is for the 48 mpg you will get in all around driving. That's a powerful reason but the only one I can find to own this otherwise bland car.

Talk About The 2013 Prius c

2013 Toyota Prius c Discussions See all Started By

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Gas Mileage


  • 53
  • cty
  • 46
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
Edmunds Insurance Estimator

The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2013 Toyota Prius c Hatchback in VA is:

$60.08 per month*

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