Back again as our 5-Year Cost to Own Award winner in the Hybrid/Alternative Energy segment, the Toyota Prius C continues to reign supreme among the green machines by matching an extremely attractive price of entry with impressive fuel economy numbers. Starting at just over $20,000, the most affordable member of the Prius family earns stellar EPA ratings of 53 mpg in the city and 46 mpg on the highway. For 2016, this roomy and versatile 5-door hatch bolsters its already formidable standards/options roster by offering a selection of new advanced driver assist features.
Available in four different model grades, even the Prius C One boasts premium touches like LED front/rear lighting, automatic climate control, digital instrumentation, an Entune Multimedia system with 6.1-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth and USB/iPod connectivity. The Prius C Three and Four, which feature faux-leather SofTex interior trim and navigation, also can upgrade the Prius C's standard Toyota Star Safety system with a new Pre-Collision System, Lane Departure Assist and Automatic High Beams.
Motivating all Prius C variants is a 73-horsepower 1.5-liter gasoline engine paired with a 60-horse electric motor. Backed by a CVT automatic and making a collective 99 horsepower, that duo gives the car leisurely - 0-60 mph in 11.5 seconds - but adequate acceleration. A more discernable downside is road noise, which can become fairly intrusive at freeway speeds.
While it might not be perfect for everyone, the Toyota Prius C's blend of reliability, affordability and outstanding efficiency does make it a hybrid worth considering for value-driven buyers.