THE 2012 TOYOTA PRIUS c FOUR REVIEW
Summary Review by Tess: One Hot Hybrid
All-new for 2012, the Toyota Prius c Four subcompact hatchback incorporates advanced hybrid technology that provides best-in-class fuel economy and good performance in a sleek, modern exterior package. Sharing the same high efficiency engine with its siblings One, Two, and Three, the Four trim is the top of the line in terms of added features and interior comfort. While passenger room and cargo space is at a premium in this diminutive vehicle, the price tag and fuel economy make this one of the best choices currently available for budget-conscious buyers and green-friendly drivers.
Under the hood
The 2012 Toyota Prius c Four hatchback derives its power from a 1.5-liter inline four-cylinder gas engine paired with two electric motors to produce a combined 99 horsepower and 82 lb-ft of torque. The Prius c Four’s small size and light weight ensure that this is enough to power the vehicle effectively even in challenging driving conditions. Front-wheel drive is standard, and the Toyota Prius c Four features a continuously variable-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy is top-notch at an impressive 53 miles to the gallon in the city and 46 in highway driving. It is the most efficient non plug-in hybrid on the market. The Prius c Four incorporates a number of standard safety features that include hill start assistance, air bags, antilock brakes, and traction control.
Inside the cabin
As the top trim level of the Toyota Prius lineup, the Prius c Four is fully loaded with standard features including remote keyless entry and startup, full power accessories, automatic climate control, power adjustable front seats, navigation system, and a deluxe CD sound system with USB, iPod, and Bluetooth interfaces. Imitation leather upholstery is also standard along with alloy wheels, satellite radio, and cruise control. Options include a sunroof and 16-inch wheels.
(See available color options for the 2013 Toyota Prius c.)
On the road
Performance is certainly not the primary reason to buy a hybrid vehicle. However, the 2012 Toyota Prius c Four hatchback performs reasonably well in city driving and can even manage to merge into highway traffic without undue difficulty. Lack of insulation against road noise may impact the quality of the ride for driver and passengers, but overall the Prius c Four performs better than expected and delivers outstanding fuel economy for savvy buyers.
The Toyota Prius c Four knows its target audience and caters to them. At 53 miles to the gallon, most buyers will forgive the Prius c Four its few shortcomings in ride quality and cargo room.
Engine: 1.5-liter DOHC inline four-cylinder hybrid
Horsepower & Torque: 99 hp/82 lb-ft
Transmission: FWD continuously variable-speed automatic
Fuel Economy: 53/46
Base MSRP: $23,230
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