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2012 Toyota Prius c

Overview
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2012 Toyota Prius c Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 7.9

Taking Hybrid Synergy Drive (HSD) technology down to its smallest size yet, the 2012 Toyota Prius C - for "City" – arrives on the scene as the latest and most fuel-efficient member of the automaker's ever-expanding Prius family. With a starting price below $20,000, this subcompact 5-door hatchback also is the most affordable. It should prove particularly appealing to those leaning toward conventional rivals like the Chevrolet Sonic, Ford Fiesta, Honda Fit, Hyundai Accent, and even the Toyota Yaris.

You'll Like This Car If...

Anyone seeking a scaled-down sustainable transportation solution that matches practicality, versatility and a surprising level of affordability with outstanding fuel economy will be well served by the new Toyota Prius C.

You May Not Like This Car If...

While the Prius C is attractively priced for a hybrid, some buyers may find that a more affordable conventional alternative – like the Ford Fiesta SFE, Honda Fit or Hyundai Accent – may deliver a better long-term total return on their investment.

What's Significant About This Car?

Aimed at young, value-oriented consumers, the 2012 Prius C is coupled with four trim levels – named One, Two, Three and Four. An outstanding roster of standard features and a 50-mpg EPA combined rating endows the new Prius C with a grand slam of character traits that should endear it to budget-conscious buyers of all ages.

Driving the Prius c

Driving Impressions A strategically reinforced body and optimally positioned battery and powertrain elements coupled with purpose-tuned suspension bits elevate handling dynamics of the new Prius C well beyond the Toyota Yaris on...

which it's based. Although low-rolling resistance tires limit cornering grip to acceptably modest levels, body roll is impressively controlled and the column-mounted electric power steering offers surprisingly positive feel and decent feedback in standard form as well as with the quicker-ratio setup that accompanies the 16-inch wheel/tire package. The same holds true of the Prius C's well-regulated regenerative disc/drum antilock brake system. Ride quality skews towards the firm side in all models and can be somewhat harsh on rough road surfaces, particularly on the C Four with the wheel/tire upgrade. While fully capable of dealing with urban commuting and freeway cruising duties, the Prius C's 11.5 second 0-60 mph time does encourage a bit of driver discretion prior to engaging in any dramatic overtaking maneuvers.
Favorite Features


Display Audio System

Standard in Prius C Three/C Four trim grades, the 6-speaker Display Audio System with Navigation and Entune multimedia includes a 6.1-inch LED touchscreen, voice recognition capability, HD Radio, SiriusXM Satellite Radio with Real Time traffic/weather/sports/stocks/fuel prices, plus a smartphone interface that allows access to various downloadable apps, including Bing and Pandora.


Enhanced Multi-mode Eco Display

The Prius C is the first of Toyota's HSD clan to be fitted with an upgraded Multi-information Display that offers even more Eco Savings-related data-logging features – including the ability to calculate actual mpg and fuel-cost savings over various time/distance intervals as well as present relative cost comparisons versus other vehicles.

2012 Toyota Prius c Details
2012 Toyota Prius c photo Interior

Prius family values are clearly evident inside of the Prius C's surprisingly spacious and well-finished passenger compartment. The commonality is clearest in the offset positioning of the hatchback's main gauge display and the design of its multifunction steering wheel, which carries directly from the Prius liftback sedan. Well-formed bucket seats provide a good combination of comfort and support up front while the Prius C's rear bench – which features a 60/40 split back in all but the C One model - can accommodate a pair of average-size adults or three kids. It easily folds flat to virtually doubles the capacity of the Prius C's already generous 17.4-cubic-foot cargo bay.

Exterior
2012 Toyota Prius c photo

While based on the Toyota Yaris platform, a comprehensive recasting endows the 2012 Prius C with the distinctive "Triangle Silhouette" design motif seen in other members of the Prius family. Aerodynamically optimized front/rear exterior treatments and the jaunty sweep of its C-pillar and body side contouring add visual interest to this diminutive newcomer while helping mask the fact that it is over a foot and a half shorter than the standard Prius liftback. Prius C One/Two/Three variants wear 175/65 low-rolling resistance tires on 15-inch steel wheels while the C4 gets standard aluminum rims and offers optional 16-inch alloys and 195/50 rubber.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Offered in four distinct variants, all Prius C models are impressively equipped and include automatic climate control, an enhanced Multi-Information Display, remote keyless entry, seven airbags and the comprehensive Toyota STAR Safety system. Even the baseline audio system offers AM/FM/CD/MP3/WMA capability plus AUX/USB/iPod inputs and Bluetooth connectively. The C Two adds things like premium 2-tone fabric trim, a tilt/telescoping steering column, cruise control and a 6-way driver's seat, while the Prius C Three and Four models gain a Display Audio/Navigation/Entune multimedia package, Touch Tracer display and push-button starting. The primo C Four also features leather-like and eco-friendly SofTex upholstery, heated front bucket seats and fog lights.

Optional Equipment

The Prius C is essentially configured in four different equipment-specific trim grades, and consequently, the extras list is minimal. Save for a choice of nine exterior colors and various dealer-installed accessory items, there are no options for either the Prius C One or C Two models. The Prius C Three can be fitted with a power tilt/slide moonroof and 15-inch alloy wheels, while C Four buyers can opt for the moonroof as well as a 16-inch alloy wheel upgrade that also nets quicker-ratio electric power steering.

Under the Hood

Sole powertrain for the Prius C is a new, downsized but upgraded version of Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive system that teams a 73-horsepower/1.5-liter Atkinson Cycle 4-cylinder gasoline engine with a new smaller, lighter hybrid transaxle that contains a 60-hp drive motor energized by a compact nickel-metal hydride battery that's located beneath the rear seat. Collectively, this gas/electric pairing makes 99 quite serviceable horsepower and works in concert with an equally new, slimmer and trimmer Power Control Unit. The Prius C offers the choice of Normal, Eco and EV modes, with the latter delivering up to one mile of zero-emissions travel at up to a 25-mph pace. However, the more meaningful upside is the Prius C's real-world fuel economy, pegged by the EPA at an estimated 53/46 mpg city/highway.

1.5-liter inline-4 + 45-kilowatt Electric Motor and 0.87kWh battery pack
73 horsepower @ 4,800 rpm/60 horsepower (99 net system horsepower)
82 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm/125 lb-ft of torque
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 53/46 mpg

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2012 Toyota Prius c Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.3
Out of 10

Based on 46 Ratings for the 2012 - 2014 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.5/10
    Quality
    9.2/10
  • Reliability
    9.8/10
    Performance
    8.8/10
  • Comfort
    8.6/10
    Styling
    8.9/10

Best bang for your buck car...

By on Tuesday, April 08, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "MPG!!!, easy to park, feels really solid for size"

Cons: "No love on the freeway"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"We bought this car brand new Sept. 2013 and we love it so far. Owned it about 7 months and my husband does heavy driving on this car for work. We've put close to 11,000 miles on it already. He averages around 48mpg highway and street driving combined. It only takes about $32 to fill up the tank and lasts him all week. I have no complaints when it comes to the savings we have with gas. We got the two year complimentary toyotacare so it has cost us nothing to maintain the car either. We have the c4 so we have the navigation. It works for us, but the screen is a little dim and small. We also wish Toyota didn't add the weird lines all over the car cause it just looks like someone scratched the interior and the seats. It's a design flaw. The back head rests are also a little big for the car and becomes a blindspot. Overall though, love love love this little car."

2 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Great ca very good mpg

By on Sunday, March 23, 2014

I own this car

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Great MPG alot of features and options."

Cons: "Slow pick up and can have bumpy ride on highway."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Very good MPG I have got as high as 57 mpg and as low as 45 against the wind in cold weather. The fit and finish is very good and navigation system easy to use. Radio apps work real well. Great car."

Cheap Commute for 40 mile Round Trips

By on Thursday, March 20, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 250

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Mileage / Warranty /Fit and Finish / Features"

Cons: "Slow Accel to Save fuel / Crazy "Other" drivers"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I bought this car because I became tired of paying $4.10 for a gallon of premium for my 2003 Dodge SRT-4 and only getting 23 mpg tops in it since I bought it new. When I bought the SRT-4 back in 2003 premium gas was only $1.60 a gallon. Then Katrina hit and the petrol market exploded on prices and has never recovered. With this new sipper I can save over $30 a week on my commute to work, and save the rest to have fun in my 280hp turbo SRT-4 on weekends, or once in awhile at the track. I got the best warranty toyota offered @ 8 years / 125,000 mile warranty so if it breaks it is not my problem... its toyotas. I will repost my findings as of now my car only has 250 miles on it. but so far the power is plenty to get me from A TO B w/o beating my wallet up at the pump. I am still waiting for elio to produce their 84mpg car to buy. Maybe next year."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

So Much to Love About this City Car!

By on Tuesday, March 18, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I love my Prius c! The gas mileage is AMAZING. Easy to park and zip around town. Don't let the size fool you. Fold down the back seats, and you have unexpected large cargo space. Plenty of cup holders and compartments. Controllers from steering wheel and Bluetooth functionality are really the cherry on top. A great value."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Spartan Fuel Miser

By on Friday, February 21, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 9,700

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
6/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "Great mpg"

Cons: "Very sluggish acceleration; seats not supportive"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6

"Having owned a Gen 2 Prius, tried the new sibling of the Prius family, the Prius C ~ which has been noted to have exceptional gas mileage of 48-50mpg. My experience ~ 50% gridlock Boston traffic and 50% highway (driving fast - not conservative) - overall mpg of 43mpg. Definitely superior gas mileage, but not as expected.....spartan front dash is simple and easy to navigate...plenty of room with the back seats folded down (more than anticipated). However, acceleration is tortoise-like at best. Very slow. But gets up to speed on the highway and can easily cruise at 80pmh. For reliability and mpg, the Prius C can't be beat. But if you love to drive, and want a more comfortable ride (the front seats are adequate, but not supportive after an hour+ driving time - no lumbar support, and strains the neck)...there are plenty of other alternatives."

6 people out of 8 found this review helpful

Not great in winter. No insulation.

By on Sunday, February 16, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 53,000

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
2/10
Performance
2/10
Styling
2/10
Comfort
2/10

Pros: "Feeling green."

Cons: "Poor cabin heat. Poor mpg in winter."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2

"This car gets great gas mileage in the summer - mid 50's on a 95% hwy drive of 126 miles daily. In the winter it gets in the high 30's. They tell me it's normal and because of winter mix gas. Also, when it is cold, the heater doesn't start until you have gone at least 5 miles. They tell me that is also normal. A plug in heated seat cushion is a life saver ($10 at Menards). The road noise is awful. I'm sure I'm damaging my hearing by cranking the radio up so far so I can hear it. I'm hoping a different brand of tires will help. I haven't had any mechanical problems but I hit a raccoon and that caused $1600 damage because it is so low to the ground. It is sluggish and I feel vulnerable driving on the freeway with semis."

10 people out of 12 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?