Toyota Prius C hatchback makes hybrids affordable

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Tail-end photo of a Toyota Prius C on display at the 2010 Detroit Auto Show.

The Prius C will have a sticker price of less than $19,000. (Photo Credit: CC BY-SA/artq55/Flickr)

Hybrid vehicles are all the rage, but few people can say that the love affair lives on once they take a look at the sticker price. Toyota believes that its new take on the Prius – the Prius C hatchback – will keep the fires burning. According to reports, the cost of the Prius C will fall below $19,000 before destination charges.

Prius C goes on sale in March

In March 2012, the Toyota Prius C will hit the U.S. market. The automaker estimates that the hybrid hatchback will get 53 mpg in the city, claiming that this is the best fuel economy available for any vehicle that uses gasoline.

On the highway, the numbers are slightly less favorable, which is not uncommon for hybrids, as the engine does not have a chance to rest. The Prius C still turns in a highly respectable 46 mpg on the freeway, which works out to an outstanding total of 50 mpg combined. It can also be driven for a mile at speeds of up to 25 mph in battery-only mode.

Based on the Toyota Yaris platform, the Prius C will feature a shorter wheelbase, 19 inches shorter than the Yaris overall. The Prius C is also about 550 pounds lighter than the standard Prius, contributing to the increased economy. The weight is saved by going with a smaller displacement engine, 1.5 liters compared with the standard Prius total of 1.8 liters. Combined output of the 73-hp Atkinson cycle engine and the hybrid motors equate to 99 hp, reports Automotive News.

From concept to familiar

Reports on last year’s Detroit Auto Show spoke of a Prius C concept with “exuberant styling” like nothing the Prius line had seen before, but what will be produced, while smaller than the existing Prius, is altogether familiar. Prius’ little brother will include nine airbags standard, 15-inch wheels, automatic climate control, tilt-telescopic wheel, remote locks and illuminated entry. The stereo will feature a USB port, iPod and Bluetooth connectivity and hands-free access.

In short, the Prius C is Toyota’s effort to bring younger drivers into the hybrid fold. For those who are looking for family hybrid economy, the recent Prius V wagon release is sure to satisfy. By the summer of 2012, a plug-in Prius all-electric vehicle will reportedly be available.

Prius C prototype on the road


Automotive News

Chicago Tribune

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