2012 Toyota Prius C: You Have Chosen...Wisely
June 14, 2012
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