Officially one of the most LED-intensive compact vehicles on the market for 2015, the new Prius C is becoming quite a looker in its own light.
The big news is all about the bright new design themes in front and inside with a huge new Entune touchpanel inside. Wild colors are part of the section for 2015 for this ultra-economical Prius hatchback.
But the biggest news perhaps? The C in Prius C now officially stands for City versus Compact.
2015 Toyota Prius C
2015 Toyota Prius c: Light, Tight, Bright and the Highest City Fuel Economy of Any Vehicle Without a Plug
- 53 MPG City / 50 MPG Combined in Toyota’s Most Affordable Hybrid
- Distinctive Youthful Design Appeals to All Ages
- Aggressive, Sportier Look With LED Headlights and Newly Designed Taillights
- Upgraded Interiors and Available Technology Features
- Sized Like A Subcompact Outside, a Larger Compact Inside
- Available With Toyota Entune® Premium Audio with Navigation and App Suite
TORRANCE, Calif., November 19, 2014 – Toyota’s most affordable hybrid vehicle is also its most fuel efficient. The Prius c with EPA-estimated 53 MPG city / 46 MPG highway / 50 MPG combined, offers the highest MPG of any vehicle on the road today (MPGe vehicles not included).
There’s much more to the Prius c than super-high fuel economy. A restyled front with standard single LED projector low- and high-beam headlights, new exterior colors whose names demand almost as much attention as their hues (Electric Lime Metallic, Tangerine Splash Pearl and Sparkling Sea Metallic), and new “light pipe” taillights add a futuristic touch to the design. Add to that a cabin upgraded with premium materials, and Prius c makes a compelling choice among compact cars, hybrid or not.
For years, the iconic Prius liftback has been synonymous with “hybrid.” Today, the Prius is available in four different flavors. The Prius Family includes the larger standard Prius liftback, the even larger and roomier Prius v and the Prius Plug-in Hybrid that can handle daily driving for many people without using gasoline. In addition, Toyota offers hybrid versions of its Camry and Avalon sedans and Highlander SUV, making Toyota the clear leader in the number of hybrid vehicle offerings and sales volume.
Toyota Value in Four Grades
Prius c is available in four value-packed grades. In all trim levels the cabin combines futuristic design elements with everyday comfort and practicality.
In addition to the all-new single LED projector low- and high-beam headlights, standard features in the Prius c One include a sharp shark-fin antenna, automatic climate control, a full color TFT Multi-Information Display and remote keyless entry with illuminated entry. The tilt-telescopic steering wheel features integrated switches for audio, climate control and Bluetooth® hands-free phone capability. The standard 3.5-inch TFT color Multi-Information Display shows outside temperature, fuel economy information, cruising range, EV miles driven, Hybrid System Indicator, ECO Score and energy monitor.
The Entune Multimedia Bundle features a 6.1-inch touch-screen display, AM/FM CD player with four speakers, a USB 2.0 port with iPod connectivity, voice recognition, Bluetooth hands-free phone capability and music streaming and an auxiliary audio jack.
The Prius c Two sweetens the package with a piano black front grille, piano black and chrome interior accent upgrades, a height-adjustable driver’s seat, 60/40 split fold-down rear seats, cruise control, 6-speaker audio system upgrade, cargo area cover and light and more. In addition, an all-new two-tone fabric seat option featuring a Dark Blue Gray/Dark Charcoal color is now available on the Prius c Two and Three models.
Stepping up to the Prius c Three adds the Entune Premium Audio with Navigation and App Suite. The system is equipped with the Entune Multimedia Bundle with a 6.1-inch high resolution touchscreen with split screen display and also includes six speakers, SiriusXM™ All Access Radio with 3-month complimentary trial, and HD Radio™.
The Toyota Entune App Suite is a collection of popular mobile applications and subscription-free data services. Once a smartphone is paired to the vehicle using Bluetooth or a USB cable, Entune apps are operated using the vehicle’s controls or, for some services, by voice recognition. Entune offers apps for Bing™, Facebook Places, iHeartRadio, MovieTickets.com, OpenTable®, Pandora®, and Yelp™. Real-time data services include traffic, weather, fuel prices, sports and stocks.
The Prius c Three also adds the convenience of Smart Key with Push Button Start. And, it gets a feature from the larger Prius line, the Touch Tracer Display. Touch sensors on the steering wheel switches display a duplicate image on the instrument panel, directly in line of sight, reducing driver eye movement for better concentration on the road. Prius c Three also offers optional 15-inch 8-spoke alloy wheels that can be packaged with a power tilt/slide moonroof.
The Prius c Four adds the luxury of SofTex® trimmed seats and steering wheel, heated front seats, an all-new integrated backup camera and a standard moonroof. Prius c Four also continues to offer 16-inch alloy wheels.
The “c” Stands for City. But It Makes Sense Out in the Country, Too.
Toyota designed the Prius c as an urban-friendly runabout, and yes, the “c” stands for city. However, you certainly don’t need to live in a city to reap the benefits of ownership. That 46-MPG highway fuel economy rating is a boon in America’s wide-open spaces, where gas stations are few and far between.
The Prius c is sized like a subcompact outside but has the room of a bona fide compact inside. (It is classified as a compact by the EPA.) Efficient packaging of the hybrid powertrain, battery pack and fuel tank results in 104.5 cu. ft. of total interior volume (87.4 cu. ft. passenger volume, 17.1 cu. ft. cargo volume). Thirty-five inches of rear legroom puts it near the top of the class. The efficient packaging also gives the Prius c a low center of gravity and excellent weight distribution, which translates to fun-to-drive agility. And with NVH improvements for the 2015 model year, the drive experience is even better than before.
Youthful Exterior and Interior Design
The Prius c design projects a fun, youthful attitude that appeals to all ages. It’s also slippery, cheating the wind with a low 0.28 coefficient of drag (Cd). Its lower-body area is wider below the beltline, and combined with very short overhangs and sculpted rear flares, it gives the car an athletic stance.
A wide-ranging color palette provides hues to satisfy every taste. In addition to the aforementioned new colors, the Prius c looks light and lively in Sun Fusion, Moonglow, Blue Streak Metallic, Absolutely Red, Black Sand Pearl, Magnetic Gray Metallic or Classic Silver Metallic.
What Makes It Go (on So Little Gas)
The Prius c uses its own version of Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive, the technology found in all the brand’s hybrids. The gas engine, electric motor and battery pack are all smaller and lighter than in the standard Prius.
The SULEV (Tier 2 Bin 3)-certified 1.5-liter in-line, 4-cylinder gasoline engine runs on the Atkinson cycle to increase efficiency. It produces 73 horsepower and 82 lb.-ft. of torque, contributing to a total hybrid system output of 99 hp. Locating the Prius c’s 144-volt nickel-metal hydride battery pack under the rear passenger seat, near the center of the vehicle and low in the chassis, helps achieve a low center of gravity for excellent agility.
Like all Toyota hybrids, the Prius c is a full hybrid, meaning it can run on the gasoline engine alone, battery alone, or a combination of both. Hybrid Synergy Drive combines the output of the gas engine and electric motor through an innovative planetary-type continuously variable transmission.
As on other Toyota hybrids, the Prius c employs a slew of other technologies to curb its fuel usage. Regenerative braking helps to recapture electrical energy under deceleration, sending it to the battery, which helps to reduce fuel consumption. Electric power runs the water pump and power steering assist, eliminating drive belts and even some maintenance needs.
One of the three drive modes, EV Mode can let you drive the Prius c solely on electric power for under one mile while remaining below 25 mph. Where would you do that? Maybe when you think circling city blocks while looking for a parking space would be wasting gas.
There’s also Normal Mode, which is ideal for everyday driving, and Eco Mode, which can help optimize fuel economy when you’re willing to give up some throttle response and don’t need the air conditioner to be ice cold.
Light, Tight and Agile
A stiff body structure, made so by extensive use of lightweight, high-strength steel, helps make the Prius c safe, and also allows suspension tuning that yields an admirable combination of handling responses and ride comfort. Front suspension is a MacPherson strut design, and the rear tuned torsion beam configuration employs coil springs.
The Prius c rolls on 15-inch wheels, available in steel or aluminum alloy, depending on the trim line. The steel wheels come with a newly designed cover for the 2015 model year. A 31.4-ft. turning circle means you might forget how to make K-turns, because you won’t need to. On the top trim line, Prius c Four, 16-inch alloy wheels and quicker steering (2.28 turns lock to lock) ratchet up driving enjoyment.
Big on Safety
The Prius c is equipped with nine airbags, including a driver and front passenger Advanced Airbag System, driver and front passenger seat-mounted side airbags, driver knee airbag, driver and front passenger seat cushion airbags, and front and rear side curtain airbags.
Like all 2015 Toyota models, the Prius c is equipped with the standard Star Safety System™, which includes Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC), Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA), and Smart Stop technologies.
Limited Warranty and Toyota Care
Toyota’s 36-month/36,000 mile basic new-vehicle warranty applies to all components other than normal wear and maintenance items. Additional 60-month warranties cover the powertrain for 60,000 miles and against corrosion with no mileage limitation. The hybrid-related components, including the HV battery, battery control module, hybrid control module and inverter with converter, are covered for eight years/100,000 miles.
The Prius c also comes standard with Toyota Care, a complimentary plan covering normal factory-scheduled maintenance and 24-hour roadside assistance for two years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first.
Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of Car-Revs-Daily.com, an innovative and rapidly-expanding automotive news magazine.
He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank.
Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)car-revs-daily.com.