2012 Toyota Prius C + Wilshire Blvd = :(
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