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Toyota Prius c Electric Cars

2012 Toyota Prius C First Drive

by Brad Leach — 28/03/12

Toyota brings the environmental benefits of hybrid technology to more people with the all-new Prius c hatchback sharply priced from $23,990. Toyota Prius c undercuts the freshly facelifted Prius III by $10,000 and comes loaded with lots of kit, impressive safety features and doesn’t skimp on interior space.

Looks are a major talking point the all-new Toyota Prius c is based on Toyota’s European ‘B’ segment platform (as used in the Yaris) and its appearance is more like a conventional contemporary hatchback than the uniquely-styled Prius III.

Toyota Prius c joins the Prius III and locally-made Camry Hybrid to currently provide Toyota Australia with a three-model Hybrid range. However in a couple of months the Prius hybrid lineup grows again with the launch of the Prius V the world’s first seven-seat hybrid-powered vehicle.

According to Toyota’s research, ‘Generation Y’ could be the tipping-point which take us away from internal combustion engines for our vehicles as much to minimize the hip-pocket impact of wildly fluctuating petrol prices as for the ‘green’ credentials of hybrid motoring. Problem is, money-wise post-GFC ‘Gen-Yers’ aren’t keen on shelling-out more than $30,000 for their new cars.

Toyota Prius c covers those bases.

“Toyota Prius c is designed for people who want a dynamically-styled, fun-to-drive city car and the undeniable ‘cool’ factor of driving a car with cutting-edge technology and fantastic fuel economy,” explained Matthew Callachor, Toyota’s sales and marketing chief.

Toyota Prius c Overview

Like the Prius III, Toyota offers the Prius c in two model grades the entry-level Prius c and high-grade Prius c i-Tech.

Prius c $23,990

Prius c i-Tech $26,990

Over the regular Prius c, i-Tech models score satellite navigation, upgraded interior trim, alloy wheels, self-leveling LED headlights with washers and a rear spoiler.

Toyota Prius c Engine

The Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive system in the Toyota Prius c comprises a 1.5-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine and the AC synchronous electric drive motor. Combined power is claimed to be 74kW.

Toyota’s 1.5-litre petrol engine is designated 1NZ-FXE. An Atkinson cycle engine, it delivers 54kW of power at 4800rpm and peak torque of 1111Nm at 4000rpm but is inoperative when reversing or when stationary (electric power exclusively then).

Running silently through a reduction gear, the 520V electric motor provides 45kW of power and 169Nm of torque.

Everything drives through an electronically-controlled continuously variable transmission (E-CVT).

You can run exclusively on zero-emissions battery power (EV mode) for up to two kilometers at 40km/h.

Toyota Prius c maximizes its fuel efficiency with auto start/stop and electric operation of the power steering, air-conditioner and water pump.

Combined cycle fuel consumption is rated at 3.9l/100kms and exhaust C02 emissions score 90g/km.

Toyota Prius c The Interior

Now this is cool enter the price you pay at the fuel pump into the Toyota’s Prius c 3.5-inch full colour multi-information display and you can get displays showing the cost of your consumed fuel: “Gee look, it only costs me $5.00 to drive to work, why would I catch the train?”. Just one example of the contemporary inclusions inside the Toyota Prius c.

Like the Prius III you can also get significant historic data from the Prius c to show how your fuel consumption is averaging over time so you can consider ways to improve (maybe different routes or times or adjusting your driving style).

Toyota Prius c Electric Cars

Toyota rightly points out ‘Gen Y-ers’ want to be ‘on-line’ with their car like they are with their PC hence they appreciate that real-time and historic data.

You immediately notice a few other differences compared to Prius III. For starters the steering wheel (rake and reach adjustable naturally and sized for easy access) is a few degrees closer to vertical for a sportier driving position.

The front seats too are different. The frame has been tuned and the seat contoured to provide more pelvic and lateral support (hence greater comfort on long journeys).

And the gear-lever is a more conventional size in place of the compact unit fitted to Toyota Pius III.

Prius c runs two-tone cloth seats while range-topping i-Tech scores a more up-market trim in one colour. The information-packed dashboard contains lots of colourful displays and of course the versatile 3.5-inch Multi-Information Display screen.

Toyota Prius c i-Tech gains an excellent satellite navigation system with SUNA live traffic updates, voice recognition and 3D maps plus a nice steering wheel. Audio is a Cd system featuring a home screen which can be ‘personalized’ for the 6.1-inch display, SD card slot, voice recognition, Bluetooth, USB and AUX input ports.

Relocating the battery pack under the rear seat has paid big dividends for back-seat passengers and cargo space. Toyota says the Prius c can accommodate five people (but three adults in the rear really only for short journeys) and despite the full-size spare wheel, luggage capacity is an impressive 260-litres.

Toyota Prius c Exterior Styling

As we mentioned, Toyota Prius c adopts a more conventional, contemporary hatchback look than the unique Prius III. And it’s a stylish look too with a low bonnet (and despite the electric motor now being under the bonnet, Toyota has delivered impressive levels of pedestrian protection).

Cooling is important for hybrid vehicles too and you’ll notice a substantial air intake under the front bumper of Toyota Prius c. Headlights (auto-leveling LEDS on Prius c i-Tech) adopt a modern triangular design and the rear tail-lights/indicators are a very contemporary look with LED lights.

Heavily influenced by aerodynamic requirements, Toyota Prius c adopts a triangular silhouette and the rear spoiler isn’t just for a sporty look.

Toyota Prius c On The Road

Toyota Prius c ramps-up the refinement levels inside over Prius III. For example, extra insulation means the switching noise (when swapping from EV to petrol power) is reduced by 50 per cent.

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