New 2017 Toyota Prius c Hatchback New 2017
Toyota Prius c Hatchback

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KBB Editor's Overview

By KBB.com Editorial Staff

As the least expensive hybrid in the company’s lineup, one might think the 2017 Toyota Prius C subcompact is a bare-bones proposition. But that’s just not the case. While the Prius C is smaller and less powerful than its larger hybrid siblings, it offers a nice array of standard equipment, including Toyota’s Safety Sense-C system that includes pre-collision warning and braking, automatic-high-beam headlights and lane-departure warning. With a price tag starting around $21,000, the Prius C isn’t all that far from comparably equipped non-hybrid competitors, and its EPA estimated 48-mpg city (adjusted down quite a bit from last year’s 53-mpg figure) handily bests cars like the Ford Fiesta SFE, Toyota Corolla LE Eco and Mitsubishi Mirage.

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You'll Like This Car If...

If your budget is lean, don’t think a hybrid is out of reach. In the 2017 Toyota Prius C, buyers can have the quality and reliability of the standard Toyota Prius, albeit in a smaller, less powerful version. For around $25,000, Prius C buyers can have a nicely equipped, eco-friendly driver.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Although their fuel economy is slightly lower than the Prius C, non-hybrid cars like the Ford Fiesta SFE, Honda Civic Hatchback and Chevy Spark also cost a lot less, offer better performance and more features.

What's New for 2017

For 2017, Toyota’s Prius C hybrid hatchback comes standard with Toyota’s Safety Sense-C, which adds pre-collision warning and braking, lane-departure assist and automatic high beams. The Prius C gets a slight visual refresh and a reshuffling of standard features on upper trims. Base models gain standard alloy wheels.

Driving It

Driving Impressions

Toyota’s subcompact Prius C hybrid for 2017 may not be quick, but it isn’t dull, either. With the compact Yaris serving as its platform, the Prius C comes to play with a sturdy body, precise steering and a fairly even front-to-rear weight distribution. It’s no Mazda3 for sure, but even at high speeds the Prius C feels confident in the curves. If only it had a bit more oomph for passing and merging. Truth be told, the Prius C is most at home in urban settings where its compact size makes it easy to maneuver and park. In normal driving mode the Prius C returns a 48-mpg-city rating, and while there is an electric-only mode, it can only be employed for about one mile at speeds under 25 mph. The price paid for the Prius C’s 99-horsepower output? It takes nearly 12 seconds to reach 60 mph.

Favorite Features

TOUCH-SCREEN MULTIMEDIA SYSTEM
The 2017 Toyota Prius C hybrid features an improved version of Toyota’s Entune audio. The system’s 6.1-inch touch screen is easy to operate and features large icons for functions, as well as an ample multimedia bundle.

46 MPG
Toyota’s 2017 Prius C hybrid is one of the most fuel-efficient cars in its class. The 46-mpg combined rating is not a joke, and many owners report even better mileage when they go easy on the throttle (a practice known as “hypermiling”).

Vehicle Details

Interior

Far from bare bones, the 2017 Toyota Prius C subcompact offers the standard Prius’ center-mounted gauges and multifunction steering wheel that carry over directly from the larger Prius liftback. The Prius C has 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.

Exterior

Although it's based off the Yaris subcompact, the Toyota Prius C hybrid for 2017 offers styling that puts it squarely in the Prius family, even if it is the runt of the hybrid litter. New front and rear designs join a black-out rear spoiler to give the Prius C a slightly sporty look, but the sweeping headlights with standard LEDs and distinctive taillights remain firmly rooted in the Prius design language. Unique touches include a "boomerang"' shape within the rear doors. Prius C base models come with 15-inch alloy wheels, while the top-line Four offers 8-spoke 16-inch aluminum-alloy wheels and fog lights.

Notable Standard Equipment

Like other Prius models, the 2017 Toyota Prius C hybrid comes in trim levels designated by spelled-out numbers. The Prius C One comes with standard LED headlights, power mirrors, Entune audio, Toyota Safety Sense-C, 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, a power moonroof and a rearview 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 amenities.

Notable Optional Equipment

Because of the 4-tier model lineup, individual options are sparse for the 2017 Prius C hybrid, and are confined to the Three and Four models. The Prius C Three model can be fitted with a power moonroof, and the Four model can be upgraded with 16-inch alloy wheels.

Under the Hood

Lift the hood, and the 2017 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 a 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
73 horsepower @ 4,800 rpm
82 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
45-kilowatt electric motor
60 horsepower, 125 lb-ft of torque
Total System output: 99 horsepower
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 48/43 mpg

Note: Due to changes in EPA testing to more effectively reflect real-world conditions, some 2017 models show slightly lower fuel-economy scores than their 2016 versions.

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Pricing Notes

When you include the $865 destination charge, the base 2017 Toyota Prius C One hybrid subcompact has a modest Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) around $21,000. That climbs to around $26,000 for the Prius C Four, still not terribly expensive. Those prices come in at about $5,000 less than that of the traditional Prius liftback. There are less expensive gasoline-only cars on the market, such as the Hyundai Accent, Ford Fiesta and Honda Fit, but none hold a candle to the Prius C's fuel economy. If gasoline ever rises above $4/gallon, that advantage turns into big savings over the years, beyond any psychological lift you get from using less gas. Before buying, be sure to check KBB.com's Fair Purchase Price to see what others are paying in your area, and know that when you buy, the Prius C should hold its value as well as the rest of the Prius family.

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