The Toyota Prius C is the cheaper cousin of the larger Prius i-tech. While it's targeted at the younger end of the market, it's also fine if you're wanting to scoot round the city, rather than doing a lot of long-distance travel. Our tester took it for a spin – let's see what he has to say about it.
- It took 12.6 seconds from 0 to 100km/h, which is adequate, but not particularly quick. The engine has to work really hard to overtake cars and trucks, especially at higher speeds. The noise increases at a faster rate than you actually progress.
- The brakes feel powerful and will stop the car quickly from any speed – 10.5 metres from 50km/hour on a damp road.
- The steering is very light and quick. 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 support. The dashboard and door trims are hard plastic.
- There's a lot of road noise entering the cabin, even when driving on even-surfaced roads. Slight wind noise is present coming from the A-pillars (each side of the windscreen) over 80km/h, and really noticeable at 100km/h.
- The touchscreen 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 Toyota's theoretical fuel use claims are 3.9L/100km, we found it was more around 4.9L/100km, which is still pretty good. But it's not much less than the claims for the Yaris in the same class, a far cheaper car.
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, another fuel-saver.
A little low on power, the Prius C model is also around $9000 dearer than the Toyota Yaris, which makes this an expensive city driving car. On the positive side it's responsive, and a pretty ride. We recommend it if you're looking for a smaller car that will cut your fuel use costs.
Cost: from $27,519 (base model), $30,609 (i-tech)
Fuel usage claim vs measured per 100km: 3.9L vs 4.9L
Acceleration to 100km/h: 12.6s
Braking distance from 50km/h: 10.5m
ANCAP safety rating: 5 Star