By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.7
As the smallest and least expensive hybrid in the Toyota family, the 2014 Toyota Prius C makes owning a hybrid affordable on almost any budget. With a starting price under $20,000, the Prius C is considerably less expensive than the VW Golf TDI diesel, yet it can still accommodate five passengers, has a spacious cargo area and offers more fluid styling then the Prius liftback. Best of all, the Prius C is supremely miserly, attaining a 50 mpg combined city/highway fuel economy figure. While it's not as fun to drive as the 45-mpg Ford Fiesta, the Prius C can be driven solely on electric power for short distances, making it the greenest of the subcompact set.
If you thought a hybrid car was out of your price range, the 2014 Toyota Prius C will surprise you with its affordability and wealth of standard features. Efficient packaging of the hybrid battery packs gives the Prius C a deep 17.1 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats.
Although competitively priced, you can still get more bang for your buck from such fuel efficient subcompacts as the Ford Fiesta SFE, Hyundai Accent or Chevy Sonic. Even the Mini Cooper offers respectable fuel economy and is much more fun to drive, not to mention more expressive.
There are no major changes to the 2014 Toyota Prius C.
Driving Impressions Based on the same platform that gives rise to the Toyota Yaris, the Prius C displays noticeably better handling dynamics over its lesser sibling. A stronger body...and better weight distribution are key factors contributing the Prius C's nimble handling, although when it comes to carving up the curves, the Ford Fiesta and Chevy Sonic are still leaps and bounds above the Prius C. Because the 1.5-liter gas engine and electric motor have a combined output of just 99 hp, the Prius C will take a leisurely 11.5 seconds to reach 60 mph. Not that the Prius C is dangerously slow, but passing and rapid merging maneuvers should be undertaken with some discretion. We were surprised by the Prius C's electric power steering that delivered unexpectedly positive feedback. Ride quality, however, seems to favor the firm side and can even become somewhat harsh depending on the road surface.
TOUCHSCREEN MULTIMEDIA SYSTEM
Step up to Prius C Three and Four trims and you'll get Toyota's excellent Display Audio system with navigation. They system includes real-time traffic/weather/sports/stocks and fuel pricing updates. Toyota's Entune infotainment system is also included, allowing for downloading of such popular apps such as Pandora Internet radio.
The Prius C's 50-mpg combined city/highway fuel economy figure makes it the most efficient pure hybrid on the road. A plug-in hybrid like the Chevy Volt can beat the Prius' combined fuel economy rating, but you won't find one for less than $20,000.
The C's Prius family resemblance is evident inside the hybrid's surprisingly spacious cabin. The most notable ties are in the offset positioning of the main gauge display and the multifunction steering wheel that carries over directly from the larger Prius liftback sedan. Up front, the Prius C has comfortable and supportive bucket seats. In back is a rear bench that can accommodate a pair of average-size adults or three kids. The rear seat folds to nearly double the capacity of the hatchback's already generous 17.1-cubic-foot cargo bay. Top-line models have leather-like SofTex seating, while the others feature fabric.Exterior
Though based on the Yaris platform, the Toyota Prius C has its own identity and exterior traits that define it as a member of the Prius family, albeit one that's over a foot and a half shorter than the standard Prius liftback. Among those visual cues are sweeping headlights, long and vertical taillights, and window design that includes a stylish boomerang shape within the rear doors. The 2014 Prius C comes with 15-inch wheels, with One, Two, and Three trims shod with steel wheels and wheel covers. Top-line Four models wear 8-spoke alloy wheels and further distinguish themselves with fog lights up front.
The 2014 Prius C comes in four trims, simply named One, Two, Three, and Four. Even the sub-$20,000 One model is quite well-equipped with automatic climate control, a 4-speaker AM/FM/CD audio unit with auxiliary and USB inputs and Bluetooth streaming, and keyless entry. Prius C Two models add cruise control, 60/40 split folding rear seats in lieu of a one-piece design, a 6-speaker audio system, and a cargo cover. Prius C Three trims include Display Audio navigation unit with the Entune infotainment system, and top-line Four models have aluminum-alloy wheels, fog lights, SofTex-trimmed upholstery, and heated front seats.
The 2014 Prius C is essentially preconfigured in four equipment-specific trims, so options are minimal and confined to the upper two trim levels. Among the extras that can be had in Prius C Three and Four models are a power moonroof and upgraded wheels. For the latter, the Three model can be fitted with 15-inch, 8-spoke aluminum-alloy wheels, while the Four model can be upgraded with 16-inch versions.
The Prius C is powered by a similar but smaller version of the Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive system used in the larger Prius liftback. The Prius C teams a 73-horsepower/1.5-liter Atkinson Cycle 4-cylinder gasoline engine with a smaller, lighter 60-horsepower drive motor energized by a compact nickel-metal hydride battery located beneath the rear seat. In total, the gas/electric pairing supplies an adequate 99 horsepower. All Prius C models have a CVT automatic transmission, are front-wheel drive, and use regular unleaded gasoline. The Prius C offers three drive modes: Normal, Eco, and EV. Eco mode adjusts throttle response and climate control to maximize efficiency, while EV mode allows you to drive short distances (less than a mile) at speeds below 25 mph on electric power alone.
1.5-liter inline-4 + 45-kilowatt Electric Motor and 0.87-kWh 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
With a starting price of just under $20,000, the 2014 Toyota Prius C is a high-mileage hybrid that doesn't cost much more than a comparably equipped economy-car. Even a loaded Prius C Four only reaches around $25,000. The Prius C's starting price is about $5,000 less than that of the traditional Prius liftback sedan. While it's certainly possible to buy a gasoline-powered competitor such as a Hyundai Accent, Ford Fiesta, or Mazda2 for less, nothing on the market without plug-in capability can touch the Prius C's fuel economy. Depending on how many miles you rack up and if gasoline rises above the $4/gallon level, that can pencil out to an advantage over the years, never mind the good mood that getting 50 mpg can foster. Like others in Toyota's family of hybrids, the Prius C is expected to hold its value well in the years ahead.
By Brooke on Thursday, July 03, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 11,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I've had this car for a year now and I absolutely love it. In the spring/summer/fall I average 60 miles per gallon. Which is fantastic. It is a 400 mile 8 gallon tank - which means you hardly have to fill up and when you do it's never a huge expense. In the winter time I average about 45 miles per gallon - which is still better than most. Yes, the pickup isn't the best and you feel low to the ground. You also feel obligated to drive slower on the highway because you drive a Prius that monitors your eco score. But, really, you don't need much faster pickup than it gives you. When you need to go somewhere, you get there. Where you think it is a small car and it may be hard to fit 5 people driving, it really is very accommodating to that. The con's I have are: The seat color is incredibly easy to stain The headrests are very large in comparison to the car I feel like I have to turn up the radio because the road noise It is a smooth ride, and while you can feel pot holes more so than a larger car, you have to remember that you are in a tiny car. You can easily park in spots without question. Any spot - even in between two SUV's! I love the hatchback - you are driving a tiny car and yet you can still carry stuff! Yes, it's small but the benefits outway the cons. :)"
8 people out of 13 found this review helpful
By Sandi on Wednesday, June 18, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,635overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "price, fun to drive (geek factor)"
Cons: "people will bug you to trade it in"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I love everything about this car except the height of the driver's seat. I got the c2 and it is not adjustable. I have learned to live with it. I average 63mpg over the whole year. I do not run the heat or air-conditioning whenever possible---it uses fuel for heat and NiMH-storage for the AC. I use the "B" like a jake-brake is used in a tractor-trailer and it fills in for slowing down to a stop before (or perhaps not having to) apply the brakes. It is less wear and tear on the brakes and the "B" function adds more juice to the storage battery. I don't give a fig for "tearing out" of places or passing people on the streets or highway. I drive the speed limit or slightly under and let all the crazies who want the stress of passing me to go ahead and have that stress. I got this c2 for the price of a c1 as a c1 was not available where I live. Of the 3 extra dumb things that I didn't want to pay for in a c2, I use one: the tonneau top for the hatch opening. But, I could just as easily live without it. I plan to never trade this baby in. :-)"
4 people out of 9 found this review helpful
By About it on Tuesday, May 13, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Price, Value & MPG"
Cons: "Seats & acceleration."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I'm rather picky on what I call nice, because I've sold Cars before. For what I paid for the car, it is way more bang for your buck than buying a full Prius. Now I've drove a standard Prius as a demo car for about a week & loved it, it was a fully loaded Prius 3. Going from a standard Prius to a Prius C is a big change. you lose a lot of what was considered Prius only character. The Prius C looks more like a Toyota Yaris than its big brother Prius. With the price you get a great value but loose some comfort & styling. however you'll keep the famous Prius MPG & acceleration, only at a cut in Quality. I would Recommend it to almost anyone who always leaves in a timely manner & doesn't need to speed."
10 people out of 14 found this review helpful
By Bonaparte on Sunday, May 11, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 500overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "fuel economy, price"
Cons: "acceleration from 40 to 65, goofy stock look"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"This is a rating for a model 1. Coming from someone who owned much faster cars before, the Prius C is a humbling experience. It will force humility if you have none while trying to get onto highways. It goes from 0-35 or so just fine but getting it to the next level is an exercise in patience. This car definitely feels much more comfortable on the street. I'd rate this car on the street 10/10 when considering fuel mileage but highway 2/10. It's that much of a difference. If you're ever entering a highway where you're immediately tossed on the runway, do not try to out-speed anyone. The much vaunted fuel mileage is what this car is all about. After slamming the car to see what it could do for about 400 miles, finally got to the point where I needed to fill up around 450 with a mixture of street and highway driving. I'm now at 500 driving like a human being and still with a full tank. It is also a small tank, 9.5 gallons to fill so all your gas price fears evaporate instantly upon purchase. Aesthetically this car is underwhelming but definitely has mod potential, which is why I went for the cheapest model so I can make my own adjustments for the right price. A 16 inch light weight alloy wheel and a drop of about a few inches would make a world of difference and not effect gas mileage since standard rims are heavy fuel efficient steal. The blue tooth hooked up beautifully with my iphone with no issues. Speakers don't have much bite at level 1 though. Might get something aftermarket. If you're used to cruise control, don't think about buying this car without it. I'm a man on the taller side (6ft) and the gas pedal is very small! Smaller than any car I've ever been in, covers about half my foot and feels funny pressing down or holding any speed. Never been a cruise control guy but the small pedal almost makes me wish I got the feature. All in all, great car. Every gripe I've had cannot compare with the fuel economy and the price I paid for it. Haggle a bit, you should at least get 1000 off the MSRP. If you don't, walk out! They'll change their tune. :)"
12 people out of 14 found this review helpful
By Martin on Wednesday, May 07, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 11,350overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Excellent MPG, Sporty, Many Utility Uses"
Cons: "No PHEV option available yet"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"The real world average mpg of the Prius C is equivalent to the original liftback Prius. The price tag, however, is significantly lower. The base model comes standard with cloth seats which require care to avoid dirt/stains. It will be nice if future generations of the Prius C plug in like the PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle) Prius. Overall, the Prius C is a Ridiculously Good Value!"
5 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By Lyssa on Tuesday, April 08, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
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."
8 people out of 11 found this review helpful