2015 Toyota Prius c

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2015 Toyota Prius c Review

By Keith Buglewicz

KBB Expert Rating: 8.3

The 2015 Toyota Prius C is the entry-level Prius hybrid, putting amazing fuel economy within reach of those on a shoestring budget. With a base price of right about $20,000, the Prius C isn't a big financial stretch, costing notably less than something like a Volkswagen Golf TDI diesel. However, the Prius C still carries five, has plenty of cargo space, and even looks sharp. Best of all is the fuel economy, which averages 53 mpg in the city and 46 mpg on the highway. While not as fun to drive as a Ford Fiesta SFE, its fuel economy is far more accessible on a day-to-day basis, and it can even be driven solely on electric power for short distances, making it the greenest of the subcompact set.

You'll Like This Car If...

The Toyota Prius C puts hybrids in reach of those with tight budgets. It also comes with plentiful standard features, and its efficient packaging means you still have plenty cargo and passenger space despite the small size.

You May Not Like This Car If...

While the Prius C is fun to drive for a Prius, there are plenty of other fuel efficient subcompacts that offer more bang for the buck. The Ford Fiesta SFE comes to mind, as do the Hyundai Accent and Chevy Sonic.

What's New for 2015

The 2015 Toyota Prius C gets styling updates to the nose and tail, including a larger grille and standard LED headlights. The little hybrid also gets a smattering of updated materials inside, along with Toyota's Entune touch-screen infotainment system.

Driving the Prius c
Driving Impressions

The 2015 Toyota Prius C is surprisingly fun to drive...for a Prius. Based off the Toyota Yaris subcompact, the Prius C hybrid offers better handling thanks to a stronger body,...

... surprisingly sharp steering, and better weight distribution However, a quick drive in the Ford Fiesta and Chevy Sonic will remind you that this is no sporty hatchback. Instead, the Prius C is at its best in its home environment – that "C" stands for "City," after all. It's where the little Prius gets its best fuel economy of 53 mpg, and if you're easy on the throttle, it'll do even better. The Prius C takes about 11.5 seconds to get to 60 mph, not surprising since the hybrid has only 99 horsepower to work with. It's not dangerously slow, but the pokey acceleration, combined with a high level of road noise, won't exactly endear the Prius C to road-trippers.

The 2015 Toyota Prius C gets an upgraded version of Toyota's Display Audio system, including upgrades to Entune, an app-driven suite of programs that expands the capabilities of the standard system.

50 MPG
Not only does the Prius C hybrid get a 50-mpg combined rating for city/highway fuel economy, and not only does it make it the most fuel efficient non-plug-in car on the road, but that number is easily beatable if you just take it a little easier on the gas pedal.

2015 Toyota Prius c Details
2015 Toyota Prius c photo Interior

The 2015 Toyota Prius C gets a few upgrades to the interior. Most notable are things like new air conditioning vents, and an upgraded climate-control layout. It adds a layer of refinement to the Prius C, albeit a somewhat thin one. Otherwise the interior is the same, offering the Prius-standard center-mounted gauges, and the multifunction steering wheel that carries over directly from the larger Prius liftback. The Prius C offers comfortable and supportive seats up front, and a back seat that's good for two adults or three kids. Those rear seats fold to nearly double the 17.1-cubic-foot cargo area.

2015 Toyota Prius c photo

Even though it's based off the Yaris subcompact, the Toyota Prius C offers styling that puts it squarely in the Prius family, even if it is as the runt of the hybrid litter. The sweeping headlights – now standard LEDs – and redesigned taillights all are part of the Prius design language. Unique touches include a "boomerang"' shape within the rear doors. Prius C base models come with steel wheels and plastic wheel covers, while the top-line Four comes with 8-spoke aluminum-alloy wheels and fog lights.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Like other Prius models, the 2015 Toyota Prius C comes in trim levels designated by spelled-out numbers. The Prius C One comes with standard LED headlights, automatic climate control, cloth seats, and Bluetooth phone controls. Prius C Two models add cruise control and a center-console storage compartment, while Prius Three models get push-button start. Prius C Four models get heated faux-leather seats and a backup camera. Audio systems all include a 6.1-inch touch-screen display and USB input, but Three and Four models get navigation and a few other goodies.

Optional Equipment

Because of the 4-tier model lineup, individual options are sparse for the 2015 Prius C hybrid, and are confined to the Three and Four models. A power moonroof is available for both, while the Prius C Three model can be fitted with 15-inch, 8-spoke aluminum-alloy wheels and the Four model can be upgraded with 16-inch alloy wheels.

Under the Hood

Lift the hood, and the 2015 Toyota Prius C will look familiar to any Prius driver. Using a smaller version of the Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive found in the larger Prius, the Prius C teams a 73-horsepower, 1.5-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine with 60-horsepower electric motor energized by a compact nickel-metal hydride battery located beneath the rear seat. It combines for a peak of 99 horsepower, sending it through a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) to the front wheels. Normal, Eco and EV drive modes let drivers amp up the thriftiness, from Normal's already good settings to Eco's subtle adjustments of throttle response and climate control to maximize efficiency. EV takes gasoline completely out of the equation for short periods of time at speeds below 25 mph.

1.5-liter inline-4 + 45-kilowatt Electric Motor and 0.87-kWh battery pack
engine: 73 horsepower @ 4,800 rpm/battery pack: 60 horsepower (99 net system horsepower)
engine: 82 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm/battery pack: 125 lb-ft of torque
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 53/46 mpg

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