01.Toyota Prius C
Price: From $27,519 (base), $30,609 (i-tech)
A new Prius has entered the hybrid market, designed for city travel and the base model is roughly half the price of the larger Prius i-tech.
While Toyota’s advertising is targeting a younger market, it’s suitable for anyone who is getting around the city and doesn’t plan on going on extensive long distance travel.
- It took 12.6 seconds from 0 to 100 km/h, which is adequate, but not particularly quick. The engine has to work really hard to overtake cars/trucks especially at higher speeds, and the noise increases at a faster rate than your progress.
- The brakes feel powerful and will stop the car quickly from any speed – 10.5 metres from 50 km/hour on a damp road.
- The steering is very light and quick, and it’s also direct which our tester really liked.
- The car has constantly variable transmission which works well, but it’s slow to respond when putting the right foot right down.
- The ride is comfortable, but quite firm, and the car feels sure-footed even when cornering fast.
- The body also feels solid.
The cabin is reasonably comfortable; seats are firm, and the backrest and pew of the driver’s seat provide enough lateral support. The dashboard and door trims are hard plastic.
There is a lot of road noise entering the cabin when driving even on even surfaced roads, and slight wind noise is present from the A-pillars over 80 km/h and really noticeable at 100 km/h.
The touch screen in the middle of the dashboard controls the audio functions, reversing camera and Bluetooth. There are some nice touches such as a score for the most economical use of fuel, plus you can set your fuel price to show how many dollars you’ve saved.
While the theoretical Toyota claims are 3.9 l/100 km, we found around 4.9l/100km, which is still pretty good. However, it's not much less than the claims for the Yaris in the same class. You aren't making a lot of savings on fuel, and payback times on today’s prices would take over 30 years. Like the larger Prius, the petrol engine turns off if you come to a stop, thus saving fuel.
A little low on power, the Prius C model is also around $9000 more expensive than the Toyota Yaris which makes this an expensive city driving car. However it’s responsive, and reasonably comfortable to drive. It’s recommended if you’re looking for a smaller car and want to reduce your fuel consumption as well.
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