Toyota Prius C Research & Reviews

Overview & Reviews

Average Score

4.45/5 Average
84 Total Reviews
Model Overview:

Capitalizing on the success of the original Prius, the Toyota Prius C is a smaller and more urban-friendly variant. The Prius C's smaller dimensions allow for a downsized hybrid powertrain and a lighter curb weight. These, in turn, result in improved driving dynamics while returning nearly identical fuel economy figures to its larger sibling. As further enticement, a new Prius C rings in several thousand dollars less than the standard Prius liftback.

Sacrifices made in the name of pricing are few, and are generally limited to ride and interior refinement. Considering the Prius C's strengths of unmatched fuel economy, nimble handling (for a hybrid) and hatchback versatility, we think it's a pretty smart choice for an affordable economy car, hybrid or not.

Current Toyota Prius C
The Toyota Prius C debuted in the 2012 model year as a smaller, entry-level alternative to the standard Prius liftback. The smaller size places it in the four-door subcompact segment. As one would expect, the Prius C is powered by a smaller, less powerful version of the hybrid powertrain used in its larger stablemates.

A 1.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine is paired with two electric motor/generators that combine to produce 99 horsepower. The gas engine both drives the wheels and charges the nickel-metal hydride batteries, while the electric motors augment propulsion and charge the battery under deceleration. Power is sent through a continuously variable transmission (CVT) to the front wheels. The Prius C obviously won't provide much in the way of excitement, but its performance is adequate, and owners will likely find satisfaction with an EPA-estimated 53 mpg city/46 mpg highway and 50 mpg in combined driving.

The Toyota Prius C is available in trim levels that are numbered from One to Four. Standard feature highlights for the Prius C One include 15-inch wheels, automatic climate control, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming and a USB/iPod interface. The Prius C Two adds cruise control, a height-adjustable driver seat, 60/40-split-folding rear seats and an upgraded sound system. The Prius C Three is further enhanced with navigation, keyless ignition/entry, Toyota's Entune smartphone integration system and satellite radio. Finally, the Four adds alloy wheels, heated mirrors, faux leather upholstery and heated front seats. Sixteen-inch wheels and quicker-ratio steering are optional on the Four, while a sunroof is available on both the Three and Four.

While the Toyota Prius C is pretty similar to other Prius vehicles, there are a few distinct differences to be aware of. Taller drivers may find it hard to be comfortable due to a lack of steering wheel adjustment range, while the front passenger's footwell is limited by an intruding glovebox. Backseat adult passengers, by contrast, will enjoy ample head- and legroom. The cabin suffers from an overabundance of hard plastic surfaces, which give the Prius C a decidedly cut-rate feel.

Hybrid vehicles in general, and the Prius lineup in particular, tend to be rather dull and uninspiring to drive. The Prius C, with its more compact dimensions, manages to inject a little liveliness into the mix, with more responsive steering and composed handling. Unfortunately, this added athleticism results in some ride harshness. But considering the Toyota Prius C's miserly fuel consumption and its favorable pricing, these faults are pretty easily forgiven.

Used Toyota Prius C Models
The Toyota Prius C debuted in 2012. Since then, changes have been very minor.

User Reviews:

Showing 1 through 10 of 84.00
  • Ignore the snobby critics - 2015 Toyota Prius c
    By -

    To be honest, since this is a hybrid car and its main purpose is to get you from point A to Point B while cheap on gas, I am totally pleased with this car. I got even better mpg than the claims. Acceleration is not neck breaking however it isn't slow like critics claim. If you mash the gas it will scoot so I'm not sure why anyone would buy a Prius to race it. This car is very nice and I know that whoever chooses this car will love it like I do. I am convinced that the magazine and internet critics that rag on this car probably drive Mercedes to work and I can't help but feel as if they are biased in their opinions toward this car. They gave a good review of the Ford Focus and when I drove the Focus SE, the transmission kept slipping from 1st to 2nd during the test drive (it was a new car). Anyways, if you like the idea of a hybrid and want to save money on your gasoline, this car is the smart choice. Like I already mentioned, I love this car.

  • Ignore the snobby critics - 2015 Toyota Prius c
    By -

    To be honest, since this is a hybrid car and its main purpose is to get you from point A to Point B while cheap on gas, I am totally pleased with this car. I got even better mpg than the claims. Acceleration is not neck breaking however it isn't slow like critics claim. If you mash the gas it will scoot so I'm not sure why anyone would buy a Prius to race it. This car is very nice and I know that whoever chooses this car will love it like I do. I am convinced that the magazine and internet critics that rag on this car probably drive Mercedes to work and I can't help but feel as if they are biased in their opinions toward this car. They gave a good review of the Ford Focus and when I drove the Focus SE, the transmission kept slipping from 1st to 2nd during the test drive (it was a new car). Anyways, if you like the idea of a hybrid and want to save money on your gasoline, this car is the smart choice. Like I already mentioned, I love this car.

  • It is what it is - 2013 Toyota Prius c
    By -

    I have owned my PC2 for 6 months now and have put just over 7k on it. I purchased it to be my commuter vehicle. I wanted something simple, reliable, and efficient. The PC is all of that. My wife and I took it on a 1500 mile road trip and found it more than comfortable enough for two people and gear. The only disappointments I have with it are some rattles coming from inside the dash and I have not achieved the fuel economy numbers others have mentioned. Averaging 44-45 over the life of the car. This is a small complaint since very few vehicles can get that on their best day. *Note to residents of colder climates. I notice about a 10% drop in fuel economy under 40 degrees F.

  • A Hybrid Accessible to Everyone - 2013 Toyota Prius c
    By -

    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.

  • Awesome Prius c :) - 2015 Toyota Prius c
    By -

    I got my silver Prius c One about 3 months ago, and I am absolutely loving this car!!! Since most of my driving is in the city, I'm averaging a ridiculous 57 MPG without doing anything special. I also love the look and feel of the interior - feels very premium for an entry-level car. The light gray seats (only available on the One) are super soft and comfortable (so much better than all non-leather seats on other cars). The color combination of the seats and dashboard/head unit looks amazing with the silver exterior color. There is also a surprising amount of space inside - way more than you would think looking at the car's exterior. I'm also very pleased that Toyota added a touch screen, softer interior materials, and LED headlights & taillights all standard for the 2015 model - they really give the car a premium feel. Combine this with an incredible price of $18,500 ON THE ROAD, free 2 year maintenance, rock-solid Prius reliability with a tried-and-true hybrid system - and you have a car that's very hard to beat. The only reason I wouldn't recommend this car is if you do ALL of your driving on the highway - you'd be better off with a Corolla or Mazda3 for the same price. But even if you do mixed city/highway, this car is still fine - I have no problem getting this car up to 80-85 MPH (slightly more road/wind noise than Corolla/Mazda3). And if you do mostly city like me, the Prius c is the halo car for congested, stop-and-go traffic areas like mine - not only for fuel efficiency, but more importantly for pollution (which can be 10 times less compared to other cars in these conditions). The bottom line: I could not have wanted a better car than my 2015 silver Prius c One :)

  • Awesome Prius c :) - 2015 Toyota Prius c
    By -

    I got my silver Prius c One about 3 months ago, and I am absolutely loving this car!!! Since most of my driving is in the city, I'm averaging a ridiculous 57 MPG without doing anything special. I also love the look and feel of the interior - feels very premium for an entry-level car. The light gray seats (only available on the One) are super soft and comfortable (so much better than all non-leather seats on other cars). The color combination of the seats and dashboard/head unit looks amazing with the silver exterior color. There is also a surprising amount of space inside - way more than you would think looking at the car's exterior. I'm also very pleased that Toyota added a touch screen, softer interior materials, and LED headlights & taillights all standard for the 2015 model - they really give the car a premium feel. Combine this with an incredible price of $18,500 ON THE ROAD, free 2 year maintenance, rock-solid Prius reliability with a tried-and-true hybrid system - and you have a car that's very hard to beat. The only reason I wouldn't recommend this car is if you do ALL of your driving on the highway - you'd be better off with a Corolla or Mazda3 for the same price. But even if you do mixed city/highway, this car is still fine - I have no problem getting this car up to 80-85 MPH (slightly more road/wind noise than Corolla/Mazda3). And if you do mostly city like me, the Prius c is the halo car for congested, stop-and-go traffic areas like mine - not only for fuel efficiency, but more importantly for pollution (which can be 10 times less compared to other cars in these conditions). The bottom line: I could not have wanted a better car than my 2015 silver Prius c One :)

  • I disagree with the haters...totally! - 2012 Toyota Prius c
    By -

    I just bought one today after doing research and driving one overnight. I have looked at and test driven many cars in the past month and this was my top pick. I am a small person-so the cabin space doesn't affect me. As for pick up-these cars get up and go better than my old PT cruiser did. I didn't notice any noise but I also blast my radio LOL Overall-this is an excellent price for the awesome mpg this car puts out-which mine has been getting about 51 mpg and that's with the air on and my driving. My bottom line-Don't believe everything you read-drive it for yourself and see.

  • To the Moon with my Prius C - 2014 Toyota Prius c
    By -

    First a disclaimer, this is my first hybrid and my fourth Toyota. Secondly, this is a sub-compact, economy, hybrid. So comments about lack of room and poor acceleration are a little silly. If you want a luxury or sports car, buy a luxury or sports car! I absolutely love this car. I considered the Prius lift back, but am so glad I got the Prius C Three. The cargo storage is limited, but with the fold down seat it's adequate for my needs. The interior is not plush, but it's very nice and comfortable. I love the look of it all! The Prius C is extremely easy to park. The turning radius is super short. The radio and navigation system are awesome. I average 55+ MPG!

  • So far, mostly great - 2016 Toyota Prius c
    By -

    Why I bought this car: I wanted a Toyota. I wanted a hybrid. I wanted heated seats. I needed an automatic transmission due to a shoulder injury. I wanted a compact or subcompact car. I didn't want an SUV. Things I knew going in: The acceleration would be pathetic, not at all zippy like the manual transmissions I have driven for decades. I knew this would be a very tech-y car. I'm a scientist. Of course I'd like that. Things I have found to be pleasant surprises: The car is quiet. It has a smooth ride even on a street that is notorious for its potholes, rough patches and "tank traps". It's quiet compared to the manual Toyota I drove on that same noisy street for years. The climate control is great. I set it and I don't have to mess with it. The backup camera is cool. I like the eco savings display. It's fun to monitor. The things I don't like that sort of surprise me: The rear window is really small. It doesn't matter much because between the backup camera, the mirrors and my own cautious habits I don't think it's a problem. The cornering is a lot less stable than I am used to. I'll adjust. I'm used to tighter handling. The cargo space is tiny. On the other hand, that means I won't load the car up with junk I don't need.

  • Worth the money and more...... - 2012 Toyota Prius c
    By -

    I waited 11 and a half weeks for my Prius C Model 4. It was worth the wait and now i know why Japan is not exporting and there is such a demand inside the country. The mileage is unbelievable. Forget the 46/53 as advertised. On the highway I get between high 50's MPG and low 70's MPG. If it's bumper to bumper I get 70"s MPG. In city traffic I have gottem 99.9 MPG and it may be more but the reading only goes up to 99.9 MPG.

Toyota Prius c Reviews By Year:
Great Deals Near You
  • Loading cars...

Selected Edmunds.com visitor vehicle reviews

Edmunds.com Visitor Vehicle Ratings and Reviews are the property of Edmunds.com, and may not be reproduced or distributed without the consent of Edmunds.com. Edmunds© is a trademark of Edmunds.com, Inc. Edmunds.com, Inc. is not affiliated with this website or app.

Powered By Edmunds

× Estimated monthly payments based on 3.9% APR, 60 month financing, and 20% down payment. Tax, tags, title, administration fees, and license fees are not included in price or payment. Subject to approved buyer credit. Actual purchase terms may vary.

Payment calculations are sourced by EveryAuto.com and may not reflect actual dealer financing terms.

Send Us Feedback ×


Locating Vehicles In Your Area