Prius Expands the Brand 2012 Toyota Prius c Times Union

17 Июн 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи Prius Expands the Brand 2012 Toyota Prius c Times Union отключены
Toyota Prius c Electric Cars

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MSRP: $18,950-$23,230 (+$760 destination)

Toyota is an old hand at new technology. Their gas/electric hybrid Prius was introduced to the American market in 2000. Now, 12 years is a mere blip in the cosmic time line, but in the world of automotive evolution, 2000 is practically ancient history.

Such has been the popularity of Prius that since its arrival, Toyota has sold 1.1 million in the U.S. to date, and 2.5 million worldwide. That sales success logically lead Toyota to the next step: expanding the Prius brand. We drove a pre-production version of the plug-in Prius last year (9/10/2011), and that model comes to market next month.

A stretched, V model went on sale last fall.

This week, we look at the latest new addition to the family the Prius c.

That’s c as in City. Toyota developed the latest Prius as a gateway car into the Prius lineup, aimed especially at those who dwell and drive in urban settings. Cars designed with city use in mind have certain common characteristics.

Key among them is a small footprint. A little car can slice and dice its way through narrow, traffic-clogged streets, parking where larger cars wouldn’t dare try.

Using the existing, Prius liftgate as the benchmark, the new c is indeed smaller (19 inches shorter and 542 lb. lighter). The car’s compact form and tidy turning radius make it well suited to tight quarters.

The Prius c carries the same type of hybrid hardware that the Liftback does, just scaled down in size. The battery pack is at 68 lb. about 2/3 the dimensions, weight and capacity of the one used in the Liftback. Together, the 1.5 liter, Atkinson cycle four-cylinder gas engine and electric motor/generator form a hybrid system with a net output of 99 horsepower.

In the 2,498 lb. Prius c, that’s enough to post a top speed of 105 mph. The 0-60 time of 11.5 seconds seems to be, like this writer, none too swift. In practical terms, the Prius owner quickly learns to pick his or her spots when making high demand moves like lane merges and passing.

Otherwise, the torque-heavy nature of electric motors means that Prius’ acceleration is fine off the line, and there’s adequate power on tap for all routine driving.

Prius c has three switchable driving modes. In addition to the normal setting, the EV mode allows the driver to stay with electric-only power for up to 1/2 mile, at 25 mph. The ECO setting automatically modifies throttle response and air conditioning operation to maximize your fuel economy in all conditions.

So set, even the lead-footed can enjoy the benefits of better mileage.

And that mileage is impressive. EPA ratings for this urban runabout check in at 53 city/46 highway. The combined average of 50 mpg’s is a pretty flashy number, and Prius c ranks as the highest city mileage rated car you can buy without a plug.

Toyota Prius c Electric Cars

With its 9.5 gallon tank and that 50 mpg average, the c has a theoretical driving range of 475 miles. In all, it’s a very effective prescription for warding off gas pump anxiety.

The c is the smallest Prius, yet large enough inside to still maintain some practicality. Front seats fit most anyone, back seats are workable for average size passengers, and occasional use by taller folks. Given the car’s expected market (singles/ couples age 30-35), it’s likely that one or both of the split, back seats would be folded forward much of the time, and the space coopted for cargo.

That process greatly expands storage room beyond the 17.1 cubic feet available behind the rear seats. The liftover height in back is low, but the load floor is uneven: the seat backs fold about an inch higher than the remainder of the cargo bay.

Up front, an abundance of hard plastic on dash and doors confirm the car’s entry level status, though choosing the two-tone option improves things visually. Prius has numerous small storage spots, including a shelf for your phone/iPod, right next to the input jacks, and a decent sized center console whose lid doubles as a sliding center arm rest.

The dash includes a multi-purpose screen that the driver can toggle through a variety of different readouts. Most of the displays dish out data about the hybrid system gas vs. EV use, current mileage, past trip mileage, etc. and the driver can choose to take in as much or as little of the onboard information as they want to. Controls are simple to find and use, even with the available nav system.

The audio system upgrade is worth considerisng; the Entune system has a bright, crisp sound. And when you’d rather that the world just shaddap, you’ll find that the cabin is noticeably quiet, thanks to engineering efforts to squelch noise, vibration and harshness.

Prius c is offered in four trim levels, with a handful of additional, stand-alone options. Prices range from $19,710 $23,990 delivered. The addition of new variations to the Prius clan makes it easier for buyers to custom fit one to their own situation.

If your driving life includes a lot of city, stop and go travel. or you don’t need a big car, or if you’re just plain sick of shelling out at the gas pumps the 50+ mpg Prius c is well worth considering.

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