Think of the 2017 Toyota Prius C as the skinny latte of the Prius family. It still seats five, has four doors and performs the same Herculean fuel-efficiency feats as the larger Prius and Prius V wagon, but in a slimmer, city-friendly package. This is a car that embraces its life's purpose as a fuel-sipping, easy-to-park and practical little hatchback, a conclusion we reached after spending a year with one.
The smallest of Toyota's hybrid lineup, the Prius C is 19 inches shorter than the standard compact sedan Prius. It's also the lowest-priced of the family and one of the least expensive ways to get into a hybrid. It's no watered-down hybrid, either. Its EPA-estimated fuel economy is 50 mpg combined, although our yearlong test revealed that number to be a tad optimistic (we averaged 45 mpg combined over 16,000 miles but did achieve a handful of 50 mpg fill-ups). In addition to great fuel efficiency, the C's diminutive size and lighter weight make it more agile and a snap to park.
The downside 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 plastics. The Prius C is also loud inside and slow compared to its competition. But given its high-mpg mission, we don't consider those deal-breakers. Compromises and annoyances, yes, but not deal-breakers. And given Toyota's rock-solid reputation for reliability and low running costs, there's really no other hybrid out there that compares. To get the best fuel economy on a budget, the Prius C is your car.
trim levels & features
The 2017 Toyota Prius C is a four-door subcompact hatchback offered in four trim levels: One, Two, Three, and Four. The One is pretty basic, but it offers the essentials and a measure of creature comforts. The Two adds a few more conveniences to the mix, while the Three and Four increase the tech and some cabin comforts (heated seats, imitation leather upholstery). All 2017 Prius C trims come standard with forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and intervention, and automatic high beams.
The One comes with 15-inch steel wheels, LED headlights, taillights and brake lights, automatic climate control, 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 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 Three adds 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, imitation leather upholstery, a rearview camera and heated front seats.
Options are few. On the Three, you can get 15-inch alloy wheels and a sunroof. On the Four, 16-inch alloy wheels are optional.
noise & vibration
ease of use
getting in/getting out
child safety seat accomodation
audio & navigation
edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.