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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 New for 2012

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
9.2
Out of 10

Based on 80 Ratings for the 2012 - 2016 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.4/10
    Quality
    9.1/10
  • Reliability
    9.8/10
    Performance
    8.6/10
  • Comfort
    8.5/10
    Styling
    8.6/10

Reliable Gas Saver

By on Thursday, July 21, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 109,000

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
6/10
Value
4/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "Reliable and Great MPG"

Cons: "Rides like a tank"

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

"I bought this car new and have put about 110,000 miles on it since purchased. If you are looking for a reliable car that gets 48-50 mpg, this is the car for you. If you are looking for comfort, this is not the car for you. The seats are very hard and for such a little car it drives like a tank, I have a 2003 Dodge Durango with 174000 miles on it that rides more comfortably than this thing does. Overall it is a good little car, but the price for them is a little high in my opinion"

OK Car

By on Friday, June 10, 2016

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

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
6/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
2/10
Comfort
4/10

Pros: "Great mpg for driving 45mph average"

Cons: "Want better quality for $30k"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5

"Prius Persona - $30k. Gas mileage is not as promised which is the main reason I bought this car. The only way to achieve the advertised gas mileage is to drive around 45 mph or drive a combination of a truck driver and my grandpa. That is to say you have to drive like a truck driver by driving slow uphill and use momentum to gather 'free' speed downhill. And like my grandpa for driving slow to get the most mileage out of a gallon of gas. If you drive normal you will only get about 31-36 mpg - not 50 mpg. In that case it is not worth the extra money for no bang for the buck. There are plenty of cars out there that get gas mileage in the 30-36 mpg range for less money. The interior is made of cheesy looking plastic and 'pleather'. I have the Persona version that was advertised as coming with heated seats. The dealer said it does not come with heated seats. Who lied? The dealer or the manufacturer? It is especially not worth it if you live in hilly areas. It will be difficult to obtain decent gas mileage. I travel 70 miles freeway round trip for work on rolling hill terrain and it is impossible to get 50 mph unless you use the techniques I previously discussed. Had a couple times when the car acted freaky by making a weird sound I never heard come out of a car before. I quickly shut the car off and restarted it and the sound was gone."

1 person out of 3 found this review helpful

Consistently better MPG than rating, yet still fun

By on Thursday, May 19, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,000

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: "Fun and economical. Good infotainment system."

Cons: "Higher priced than comps when gas is cheap"

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

"Car has been very reliable. No mechanical issues from new. Always better MPG than rating. Despite economy, it is peppy and fun to drive."

2 people out of 5 found this review helpful

$20 to fill up the tank and its good for 400 miles

By on Tuesday, December 29, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 11,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "fun, fuel economy, very reliable, responsive"

Cons: "Slightly uncomfortable driver's seat"

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

"The 2014 Prius C is a great car! I've had it for 9 months and have already put nearly 11,000 miles so far! The gas mileage is INCREDIBLE! The car is fun and easy to drive. Very responsive. The suspension certainly doesn't like bumps, but on smooth pavement you might catch yourself doing 80mph on the highway, the car doesn't flinch going fast. No shake or anything. Most of the time we keep the car in ECO modes, which is your classic "hybrids are only good for cities" mode. Sluggish, but you don't feel it till you need to go over 50mph or need to go up a big hill. When it's time to do highway or go over hills I'll switch the car off of Eco mode. The change is instant and noticeable. You get a lot more power but sacrifice your mileage. In town I get ~55mpg, on the highway it averages out to ~42. Car is fun to drive. Maxing out efficiency is the name of the game. Bluetooth connectivity is great. People criticize the interior but I find it functional. Space is lacking, but we've fit coolers, skis, and suitcases with minimal stuffing required! Haven't needed to get anything fixed yet. Nothing breaks on these Toyota's. Great buy! Your wallet will thank you!"

15 people out of 22 found this review helpful

Great vehicle for commuting!

By on Monday, October 26, 2015

I don't 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
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "MPG, Comfort, Good Features"

Cons: "Noisey at high speeds - not the car just the wind."

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

"This is a great little car for commuting. It fits anywhere and is comfortable to drive. You can get up to the 60+ mpg with this car. As long as your a single driver or have a single passenger, you're fine. It's meant for hauling anything and it's not for drag racing. If you don't mind driving at a normal speed, this car is for you!"

12 people out of 24 found this review helpful

I drive 2K miles per month and this car is perfect

By on Saturday, September 26, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "better mpg than advertised. Great price for hybrid"

Cons: "small cargo space. road noise"

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

"This is exactly what I needed. I do a lot of driving (highway and city) for my job. My previous car got 22 miles per gallon so I wanted a great mileage vehicle to maximize my gas check profit. I got more than I expected from this car. I can get 48 mpg going 70+ mph on the highway and 53 mpg on long stretches of non-highway roads going 55 mph. City I can keep it over 58 mpg. All this and I am a heavy footed driver. You can hear the road noise but it does not overpower the stereo. It is also not the smoothest ride (It rides like most compact cars). I am 6'2" and very comfortable in the car; lots of head and leg room. One weird thing is that my toe hits the bar of the brake pedal. A/C is strong; which is important here in Florida. I love the look of the front end of the '15; it is a much more aggressive look. I personally think it is the best looking of all the compact cars. I very highly recommend buying this car if you are a looking for a small affordable high mpg car. You wont be disappointed."

29 people out of 35 found this review helpful

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