I love my C! It is nimble, well-made, and fun to drive. Plus, unlike so many other hybrids, the mileage is no hype. I average 50 mpg and I've owned my car for about 4 months now. You go so long between fill ups that you almost forget about getting gas. Regarding the comments about acceleration, it's no Ferrari, but I've found it to be fine on on ramps and here in Philly that's no joke. Also, many of the comparable hybrids sacrificed reliability. I don't think I should have to choose between great mileage and being stuck by the side of the road. I picked the C, and am very happy with the choice.
Most people see the C as a downgraded Prius. I see it as the ultimate Econo-box. Even in the basic trim (One) this car has built in bluetooth, turn signal indicators on the side mirrors, mp3/usb, a digital speedometer, and that 4" color screen chock full of information. Best part? 49-50mpg with A/C blasting in the summer and the heater blasting in the winter while driving it like a regular car (from stop & go to FWY speeds). Feels about the same as my previous car, a manual transmission Yaris Hatchback with a way more modern / techy feel and design. Price-wise, the cheapest C is comparable to the highest trims of the Yaris or Fit. Looking @ newspapers, I've seen the One advertised for ~$17k.
Thanks to some great deals, I managed to get a new 2013 Prius C Two for $17k, which was comparable to the non-hybrids I was looking for and came with many more features. The Two has all features I could ask for. There is obviously some initial adjustment if you've never driven a hybrid, but the fuel economy is as promised. There were complaints about lack of power but I drove a V6 before and had no problem adjusting. The car is a lot roomier than it appears, particularly the backseat. Headroom is great, and the trunk space is good as well. Of all the cheaper hybrids, this had the best features and room, and with a good deal it can cost you less than many non-hybrids.
Two 4dr Hatchback (1.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
I bought my 2013 Prius C two new over 3 years ago. So far it's not been to the dealership for anything than oil changes/tire rotations/scheduled maintenance. Although I did wear out one set of tires & just had 100K mile service completed (drain/fill coolants). It gets great gas mileage 52-54 mpg summer - high 40's in winter. I don't baby it too much... & I drive 50+ miles to work each way on a state hwy (60 MPH posted speed limit) thru lots of rural villages (slow down or stop in them). I love the fold down rear seats, because I can haul quite a lot. It holds four adults reasonably comfortably (maybe 200 miles tops). The interior finishes aren't made from top end materials, but its a commuter vehicle, not a luxury car. I'll likely buy another in a few years when this ones tops 200K+. It might not be an exciting or overly fun/sporty car to drive - but it has plenty of electronics that make you more conscious of your energy usage & engages to want to play the energy savings game as you drive.
I was a Prius sedan owner for 10+ years and was waiting for an AWD version (still waiting). A few nonessential systems started to fail that would have been $1500+ to replace, and there was this adorable little C on the lot with 19,000 miles on it. The interior feels a little plasticky compared to the full-size, but it has a better sound system and a fun, sporty ride. I'd compare it to that of a Mini Cooper: low-riding, road-hugging, but getting an average of 49mpg with a fair amount of highway driving. The price was great and I like the car more every day.