2015 Toyota Prius c Review

Pros & Cons

  • Stellar fuel economy
  • favorable pricing
  • roomy interior
  • nimble and easy-to-park size.
  • Ride can occasionally be stiff
  • substandard interior materials
  • noticeable wind noise
  • slow acceleration.
Other years
List Price Range
$9,999 - $13,599

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Edmunds' Expert Review

As the entry-level model, the 2015 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.

Vehicle overview

For entry-level hybrid cars, comfort and performance have to take a backseat to high fuel economy, affordability and practicality. But for many people who are shopping this segment, that's just fine. The 2015 Toyota Prius C embraces its station in life as a fuel-sipping, easy-to-park and practical little hatchback. Indeed, we came to that very conclusion when we spent a year testing our long-term Prius C.

As the smallest (19 inches shorter than a standard Prius) and lowest-priced member of the Prius family, the hybrid Prius C has specific good and bad points. The good is that it's one of the least expensive ways to get into a hybrid. And it's no watered-down hybrid either, at least for fuel economy. The EPA estimates that the Prius C delivers an excellent 50 mpg in combined driving. Plus, the C's diminutive size and lighter weight compared with that of the regular Prius allow it to be more agile and a snap to park. The downside, though, is that the C's entry-level status is pretty evident. The ride quality can be harsh at times, and the interior is full of uninviting hard plastic. Furthermore, the Prius C is kind of loud and rather slow.

But given this car's chief mission, we don't consider those demerits to be deal breakers. With that 50 mpg rating and Toyota's rock-solid reputation for reliability and low running costs, there's really no other hybrid out there that can get you around so inexpensively. Honda discontinued its Insight hybrid this year, so that leaves just the 2015 Honda Civic Hybrid or 2015 Honda CR-Z to think about. But really, neither can match the Prius C's fuel economy or practicality. To get the best fuel economy on a budget, the Prius C is your car.

2015 Toyota Prius c models

The 2015 Toyota Prius C is a four-door, subcompact hatchback offered in four trim levels named One through Four.

The Prius C One comes with 15-inch steel wheels, automatic climate control, full power accessories, a folding rear seat, a multifunction display, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a 6.1-inch touchscreen display, voice commands 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 cargo cover and a six-speaker sound system.

Upgrading to the Prius C Three gets you keyless ignition and entry, a navigation system, smartphone app integration, satellite radio and voice controls.

The range-topping Four adds alloy wheels, heated mirrors, foglights, a sunroof, simulated leather upholstery, a rearview camera and heated front seats. The Four can also be optioned with 16-inch wheels.

Options are few. On the Three you can get the 15-inch alloy wheels and sunroof. Sixteen-inch wheels are available on the Four.

2015 Highlights

For 2015, the Toyota Prius C gets refreshed front and rear styling with new headlights, the company's now-signature big-mouth grille and new taillights. There are also new color choices, slightly upgraded interior trim and for the top trim level, a few more standard features, specifically a sunroof and a rearview camera.

Performance & mpg

The 2015 Toyota Prius C is powered by a hybrid powertrain that consists of a 1.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine and an electric motor that's fed by a nickel-metal hydride battery pack. Combined power output comes to 99 horsepower, and it is sent to the front wheels through a continuously variable transmission (CVT).

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

As with any Prius, however, the most important numbers relate to fuel economy, and the Prius C does not disappoint. EPA-estimated mileage stands at 50 mpg combined (53 city/46 highway), making it one of the most economical non-plug-in hybrids on the market.

Safety

Standard safety features on all 2015 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 front-seat cushion airbags that help prevent occupants from sliding under the seatbelts in a collision.

In Edmunds brake testing, a Prius C came to a stop from 60 mph in a better-than-average 118 feet.

In government crash testing, the Prius C received four stars out of five for overall crash protection, with four stars for total frontal-impact protection and four stars for side-impact protection. The government also posted a "safety concern" about rear passenger protection, although that concern is not reflected in the ratings.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the Prius C the top rating of "Good" in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength tests. In the small-overlap frontal-offset test, the 2015 Prius C got the second-best score of "Acceptable." The Prius C's seat and head restraint design was rated "Good" for whiplash protection in rear impacts.

Driving

The 2015 Toyota Prius C feels a little more sprightly when driving through city turns than other Prius models, thanks to its smaller footprint and lower overall weight. It's also quite easy to park in small spaces (although you may want to skip the optional 16-inch wheels, as they significantly increase the car's turning circle). However, ultimate grip, agility and road feel through the steering wheel are notably missing when the Prius C is compared with some conventional small hatchbacks. Acceleration is comparatively slow as well, but as long as you keep your expectations in check, the C's power should be perfectly acceptable for around-town driving and getting up to highway speeds.

Naturally, 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 C, however, is its poor ride quality over broken pavement. Severe road imperfections cause uncharacteristic (for a Toyota) harshness and, combined with noticeable wind noise at higher freeway speeds, give the Prius C a budget-car feel.

Interior

Inside, the Prius C features a mix of the familiar with the unconventional. Gauges are mounted up high and in the center of the dash, which can be a bit odd at first, but actually makes for easier reading. Sadly, the cabin's plastics are rather mediocre in quality, especially compared with those in other subcompacts like the Ford Fiesta and Hyundai Accent. This year's addition of piano black and chrome accents on upper trims does lessen the effect somewhat. The cloth seat upholstery is nothing special either, but we actually prefer it over the SofTex vinyl that is used in the top trim level, the Four.

The C's top-of-the-line audio system features a suite of smartphone-connected services that include the Bing search engine, Pandora streaming radio and real-time sports and stock information. Getting started with the smartphone integration system can be a hassle, though, since you have to install an app on your phone and register for an account, plus you always need an active data connection to use it.

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 for shorter folks to peer over. The front passenger may also take issue with the glovebox, which intrudes into the footwell. Backseat occupants will likely fare better, as there's ample head- and legroom for adults, and the completely flat floor allows for even more flexibility.

The base Prius C One's rear seat folds down as one piece, but Two and above trims feature a 60/40-split seat 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.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2015 Toyota Prius c.

Trending topics in reviews

Most helpful consumer reviews

Safety
Lona,11/01/2015
One 4dr Hatchback (1.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
The best words I can say about this car is AMAZING SAFTY!!! If for no other reason you could find, the safety of thus car should be the #1 reason to buy it. Not only is it beautiful, gas savings, roomy (for a small car) it also has great safety). My son got a 2012 modle. The other day him, and 3 passengers were in a wreak. The air bags came out from the front, at all doors, the back seats and the trunk. Thank God, because all though the engine was all over the road from where it drops down for safety, NO ONE was badly hurt. All the pain was coming from the seat belts that kept them from bouncing around. I am so greatful that my son got this car and we will be getting another one. I wish there was a bigger way to express my graditude for the people who have worked hard for making this car safe. It's worth the price to buy this car.
If you think Prius c is too small, think again!
C. Kellaway,12/05/2015
Two 4dr Hatchback (1.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
For some folks, the Prius v, with reclining rear seats is a must and while most are drawn to the Prius liftback, (the Prius that started it all) I have to emphasize the amazing parkability of the Prius c! I was given a Prius c for a day by the dealership and at the time, decided the car was too small for the long term. A month later my roomate got the Prius c and for the last two years, I've had the pleasure of test driving it on weekends. Living in Los Angeles, it is extremely satisfying to be able to fit into parking spaces that you wouldn't even attempt with the worlds best selling car, also built by Toyota. That one parking space that is truly just big enough for a compact car, squeezed-in between a cement pillar on one side, and a large truck parked at an angle over the dividing line on the other,..The only space available in the lot because nobody else could fit in one so small and compromised,.. Pull in with pride in your Prius c! Sometimes, this is the difference between making your appointment on time and circling up or down level after level in a parking structure. The interior is spacious and comfortable and it drives with a wonderful center of gravity giving it the feel of a much heavier car. There's also the fact that the Prius c is the highest mileage non plug-in hybrid car available. I've averaged as high as 92.4 miles per gallon going from point A to point B 'from trip start.' Otherwise nothing short of 50 MPG under normal driving conditions. It has a surprising amount of pep for it's size an if you step down hard on the pedal, the car definitely holds its own. I've wanted a Prius for a long time, am the last one in my circle of friends and family to get one and am happier with the car than I’d anticipated. Passing fuel stations for weeks at a time and filling a nine gallon tank when I visit one is more exciting to me now than hearing the roar of a racing car engine used to be. If you don't know the awesome definition of SULEV, may I suggest you look it up, or better yet, call a Toyota store and ask. It is the best reason to get this car! Id like to see the Prius assembled in America like many other Toyota vehicles. A nice update would be replacing Entune with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It is my personal opinion that fog lights are a safety feature and therefor should be an available option on all trim levels.
Respect the Prius c !
Rob,10/26/2015
Two 4dr Hatchback (1.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
I have previously driven Honda Fits (07 and 2012) but I didn't care for the new redesign. I never really considered the Prius (was leaning more towards a Crz or Golf) but that was before I saw the c at a dealership one night. It was shining in the moonlight and looked so edgy- futuristic. I test drove it the next day and it was mine within the week! I REALLY ENJOY my c. It hugs the road through messy weather and brakes nicely. The interior is very stylish-blue instrumentation and a touchscreen light the front. The c is so quiet. One foggy night we left the movies and before we hit highway speeds it felt surreal - silently cutting through the fog, the futuristic interior/blue glow, and high powered LED lights- so memorable. The fuel economy is excellent! The acceleration takes some time getting used to but now I know how it handles- its not peppy like a Fit but it isn't a sluggard either. Because it is a Hybrid it is not a powerhouse but I never feel intimidated merging or traveling on the interstate as the engine does have a little kick when needed! The c holds quite a bit too-flatten the rear seats in any combo and it almost gives the Fit a run for its money in storage space. I do wish it had more hidey-holes and cup holders like the Fit though. I truly feel blessed to have and drive such an amazing little car. Respect the Prius!
Most economical hybrid, just don't expect ZOOM
Danny L,11/30/2015
Three 4dr Hatchback (1.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
Upgraded interior from the year before, definitely was a plus. Navigation and push start is standard at Three trim and above. LED headlights and tail lights are standard on all Prius C's. The car has a smaller engine than the regular liftback, but at the same time more efficient on gas. Easy to park, being about 155" long. We did a lot of research on compact cars before settling on this one, a close second was the Versa Note and the third car, the Honda Fit. Don't expect to take road trips without letting others behind you pass because you can't make it up the hill at the same speed as they are keeping. 10% inclines had us pushing the engine. The range that this car was most comfortable in is: 5 mph parking lot - 55 mph hwy. Overall, if I had to buy a car again, I would still go with this car because of the gas savings per month, I drive 2,800 mi per month, and I spend about $135 versus a gas-only car where I'd be spending $250.

Features & Specs

MPG
53 city / 46 hwy
Seats 5
Continuously variable-speed automatic
Hybrid
99 hp @ 4800 rpm
MPG
53 city / 46 hwy
Seats 5
Continuously variable-speed automatic
Hybrid
99 hp @ 4800 rpm
MPG
53 city / 46 hwy
Seats 5
Continuously variable-speed automatic
Hybrid
99 hp @ 4800 rpm
MPG
53 city / 46 hwy
Seats 5
Continuously variable-speed automatic
Hybrid
99 hp @ 4800 rpm
See all Used 2015 Toyota Prius c features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    Overall4 / 5
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    Overall4 / 5
  • Side Barrier Rating
    Overall4 / 5
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front Seat4 / 5
    Back Seat4 / 5
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover11.8%
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Good
  • Roof Strength Test
    Good
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Good
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2015 Toyota Prius c

Used 2015 Toyota Prius c Overview

The Used 2015 Toyota Prius c is offered in the following submodels: Prius c Hatchback. Available styles include Two 4dr Hatchback (1.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT), One 4dr Hatchback (1.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT), Three 4dr Hatchback (1.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT), and Four 4dr Hatchback (1.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT).

What's a good price on a Used 2015 Toyota Prius c?

Price comparisons for Used 2015 Toyota Prius c trim styles:

  • The Used 2015 Toyota Prius c Three is priced between $10,988 and$13,599 with odometer readings between 69508 and71747 miles.
  • The Used 2015 Toyota Prius c Two is priced between $9,999 and$13,590 with odometer readings between 23099 and66340 miles.

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Which used 2015 Toyota Prius cs are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2015 Toyota Prius c for sale near. There are currently 6 used and CPO 2015 Prius cs listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $9,999 and mileage as low as 23099 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2015 Toyota Prius c.

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Should I lease or buy a 2015 Toyota Prius c?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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