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2012 Toyota Prius c

Overview
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2012 Toyota Prius c Review

By

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.


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 64 Ratings for the 2012 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.5/10
    Quality
    9.2/10
  • Reliability
    9.8/10
    Performance
    8.7/10
  • Comfort
    8.6/10
    Styling
    8.8/10

Great on gas!

By on Friday, May 01, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 13,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "gas mileage, price, features, styling"

Cons: "road noise, acceleration, blind spots"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"This is the perfect car for someone looking for all the new amenities in a vehicle, but also wanting to save money at the gas pump. The Prius C may not be the right car for carpooling children around, but it offers everything most people would ever need in a vehicle. I love this car because of Toyota's reliability, and being the most fuel efficient non-plug in car is exactly what I wanted."

5 people out of 8 found this review helpful

Enjoying the savings

By on Sunday, April 26, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 46,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Gas savings. Comfortable."

Cons: "No rear wiper."

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

"Superb gas mileage. My average is 55-60 mpg. No electrical system issues thus far. Rear wiper should be standard. Cruise control would be great to have. Worst problem: A/C control gets stuck in the off position and is annoying when trying to turn on the A/C and doesn't respond."

3 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Great car to drive for UBER

By on Monday, April 20, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 70,000

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

Pros: "It can actually Go!! and of course save gas"

Cons: "bad placement for driver arm rest"

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

"For those of you that don't know you can replace each battery cells individually and cost only 50$ to replace. Youtube it!!"

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

I love everything about this car

By on Monday, February 09, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,500

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

Pros: "everything because I save a ton of money driving"

Cons: "not a babe magnet lol"

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

"I love when I stop it tells me how far I went and how much I spent in gas right on the dash. Example 20 miles 54.4mpg $.80 this is to too cool. I like the ride, the handling and can't say anything bad. If you want pep or performance go else where but if you want some money in your pocket, then stop here and buy it now or do like I did and wait for Toyotathon to save the most. sticker, almost 22k and paid 18.2k"

19 people out of 36 found this review helpful

If ALL you want is MPG's, This is the auto.

By on Sunday, December 28, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 33,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "Cheap to drive for first 5 years. Very quiet."

Cons: "Unconfortable, and expensive to keep & maintain."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"I drive 60 miles to work one way each day. Consistently get 45 - 50 mpg's. (depending on winds.) Seats ARE Hard and become uncomfortable before my 60 mile trip is over. Not fun or sporty to drive. Cargo area holds two suitcases. That is it, without using back seat. It would be fine for two travelers if it had comfortable front seats, and you Did use the back seat for cargo. Dealer already informed me the battery's will need to be replaced when about 5 or 6 years old, and they ARE expensive. Plan to trade it when about 5 years old, and allow someone else to have that (regular & predictable) expense. (if not buying fuel, I guess you pay elsewhere...like battery's in this auto's case.) Often pedestrians do not hear it coming when driving up on them on side streets, and it startles them when suddenly beside them."

22 people out of 36 found this review helpful

Love the fuel economy, navigation and feature pack

By on Thursday, December 04, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 21,250

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Fuel Efficient,Navi Fun to own,5 Star Safety Sys"

Cons: "No large water bottle holder, Handling, Road Noise"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

My 2012 Prius C

"I purchased this car because I wanted an auto that was miserly on fuel and this Prius certainly is. Keep in mind that you have to trade in your luxury, plush and sound deadening insulation cravings for utilitarian and spartan appointments, cabin layouts and slightly lower quality finishes. I still love this car. I gave up driving my Leaf so I could be reunited with my Prius C Hybrid, the longest history of use and best in its class in my opinion."

15 people out of 29 found this review helpful

My 2012 Prius C

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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?