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2012 Toyota Prius c

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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.


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 73 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
    8.5/10
    Styling
    8.7/10

Best choice I ever made for a car!

By on Wednesday, July 22, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 605

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: "Great Gas Mileage, Easy to Drive, Fun, Comfortable"

Cons: "None right now!"

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

"I was not sure about switching from a Jeep Patriot to a Prius C because my Jeep did so well in the snow! However, I used to own a Yaris and I never got stuck in the snow so I think it is mostly about the driver with small cars (unless a massive snow storm hits). I will find out in the winter how it does. But from the month I have had this car I have only filled the gas tank once and I have 605 miles on it. So, I used a tank and 1/3 to get 605 miles, I think that is amazing! The EPA rating is pretty accurate if you drive fairly normal and go more than a couple miles each time you are in the city. However, if you are slow to accelerate (on purpose) you can get so much more. The best I have gotten in the few miles I do drive around to get to work was 83 mpg in the city. Also, the highway miles have not been accurate for me. I drive about 53 mph everywhere because that gets the best gas mile for me and the best I have gotten on the highway was 70 mpg. This is almost 30 mpg more than the EPA estimate!!! I will say the power would be noticeable to someone going from something bigger and with a nice engine in it, but since I have had small cars up until my jeep the power did not seem bad. It has good get up and go even compared to having my jeep. The interior is very comfortable. I am an average height of 5'6 and the seat fits my back perfectly so it supports it. I had to get used to kind of "hopping" down into the car instead of just hopping in, but it is not so low you are struggling to get in and out. When I test drove it I had myself, my fiance and the salesman in the car and everyone had decent leg room. Even if you are in the passenger seat you can pull the glove box down and not be cramped for space. That is without the seat being all the way back either. I loved the color options being so bright! In my old yaris is was black so at night it was hard to see me coming and cars would often cut me off or almost push me off the road. However, now with the sun fusion yellow paint people see me coming and often slow down or wait for me to pass instead of cutting me off! I have the Prius C Two and from what I had before it was such an upgrade! I have a touch screen that has bluetooth for my phone to make calls, read text messages, and play music. The system to make calls works great I never fell like I am yelling and when I say a name it gets it right the first time, all the time! I would say that if you want to save gas and/or help the environment but do not want an all electric car this is the way to go! It is super reliable and has great warranties on the parts and the hybrid battery (8 years for your battery alone)! This was the best decision I made and I am so happy with everything about the car! I am going to keep this car until it cannot run anymore and then probably get another prius c if they still make them that is!"

12 people out of 19 found this review helpful

Love my Prius C!

By on Wednesday, July 15, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 60,000

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
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Great gas mileage. Fun to drive."

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

"Totally dependable. Great gas mileage. Consumer Reports has rated the dependability at the top of its category for three years now. Also...and this is something people miss when they talk about this model...it is great fun to drive. This is our running around car...and we have done a lot of running around with it."

2 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Excellent choice for small fuel efficient vehicle

By on Sunday, July 05, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 29,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Very reliable, very fuel efficient, easy to drive"

Cons: "No rear cabin lights or vents"

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

"If you're looking for one of the most fuel efficient cars on the market, and not needing the size to accommodate more than two people with luggage, this is an excellent choice. It's not powerful but works fine for everyday driving. Very reliable. Good visibility. Dash and ignition more like a conventional vehicle than a hybrid."

10 people out of 22 found this review helpful

Sporty Feel, Great Handling, Avg. 50mpg

By on Wednesday, June 24, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,100

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "50+mpg, good sound system, fun drive overall"

Cons: "plasticky feel to interior, slow to accelerate"

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

"I'm really happy with this purchase. I'm kind of evangelical about the Prius line in general, but this is my first C, and it's a much sportier-feeling car than the Prius sedan. It doesn't have the best highway-ramp pickup, but once it gets to the 60-70mpg range it feels great and stays high in fuel economy. My only small complaint is that the interior feels more plasticky and has an overall lower-quality build than the Prius sedan (e.g. no lights in the visor mirrors, a hollow sound to the doors when they close, etc."

11 people out of 18 found this review helpful

OVER 100K miles and no problems

By on Wednesday, June 17, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 105,000

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
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

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

"I bought my red c in April 2012. I deliver pizza and now have over 100k miles. My maintenance? Tire rotate every 5k and synthetic oil every 10k. Do NOT spend extra money fro the warranty. This lil trooper is a TANK! I will drive it til the wheels fall off and then I will get another one. Very peppy from 0-35 due to electric motor kick. 40-70 kind of a bummer, especially with passengers, but I'll take that trade for 50 mpg. It is the best car I've ever had."

7 people out of 16 found this review helpful

Great for my driving situation

By on Sunday, June 14, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 25,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Mileage, reliability, fun to drive"

Cons: "Complicated electronics controls. Wimpy horn."

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

"We have had this car for three years and 25,000 miles. We drive 99% of the time in the city, so the "C" (city) designation fits our driving needs. The mileage is great, even though I don't baby it. I never thought I'd like a subcompact, but the size makes parking, washing/waxing, and fueling a snap. Adequate storage space. The only problem is that other drivers have no respect for a small car when it comes to cutting in, etc. Overall the Prius C fits our lifestyle (retired city dwellers)."

6 people out of 9 found this review helpful

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