High fuel economy at an entry level price is what distinguishes the Toyota Prius C in the hybrid/alternative energy car category, and its low sticker is one of the reasons it's also a leader in the 5-year Cost-to-Own rankings. This 5-door hatchback is the junior member of the Prius family, and it delivers 46 mpg on the highway and an amazing 53 mpg in the city, all for a starting price of about $20,000.
Despite its low cost of entry, the Prius c offers plenty of upscale touches including LED headlamps and Toyota's touch-screen Entune infotainment system. Other creature comforts include automatic climate control and Bluetooth connectivity. Upper lever models are equipped with push-button start, steering wheel-mounted controls, cruise control and center console storage unit.
Since the Prius c is the most fuel efficient non-plug-in hybrid on the market, you can expect its performance is at best leisurely. Equipped with a 73-horsepower 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine and a 60-horsepower electric motor, the smallest Prius packs a total powertrain output of 99 horses. As a result, it takes about 11.5 seconds to get to 60 mph. It's not dangerously slow, but the pokey acceleration, combined with a high level of road noise, won't exactly endear the Prius c to road-trippers.
While there are cheaper gasoline-only alternative to the 2015 Prius c on the market, like the Mazda2 and Ford Fiesta, and more expensive and technologically advanced hybrids and EVs, the Toyota strikes a unique balance between affordability and high mileage in an attractive 5-passenger package.