Toyota's upcoming compact hybrid, previewed by the Prius C Concept, will reportedly launch in January 2012 in Japan wearing the Aqua name, according to news outlet Nikkei.

The compact gas-electric is expected to carry a fuel economy rating of 40 kilometers per liter (94 miles per gallon U.S.) on Japan's generous JC08 evaluation cycle. That works out to be roughly equal to an EPA combined rating of 61 mpg U.S. For comparison, the 2011 Toyota Prius is rated at 32 km/l (76.7 mpg U.S.) on Japan's JC08 test cycle, yet is rated at 51 mpg city, 48 mpg highway in the U.S.

In an effort to keep its price in check, Toyota Motor will reportedly use the standard Prius powertrain, including its 1.8-liter gas engine, in the Aqua, which we're guessing will still be called the Prius C here in the U.S. Reports hint that Toyota will target a starting price of 1.7 million yen ($22,236 U.S. at today's exchange rate) for the Aqua. That's roughly 300,000 yen ($3,924 U.S.) cheaper than the 2011 Prius. We'd expect to see the Prius C sport a similar discount over the conventional Prius when it arrives in the States.

Toyota says the Prius C will launch in the U.S. sometime in 2012 and that $20,000 is its preliminary price target.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 37 Comments
      Sasparilla Fizz
      • 3 Years Ago
      Wow, this should be some serious good mileage and with the full Prius drivetrain pulling it, it might actually have a little (little) zip to it. Awesome commuting car...wow. Toyota should have done this 5 years ago, but we'll take it now.
      Neil Blanchard
      • 3 Years Ago
      So, it is not going to be a plugin hybrid? Too bad, really. Neil
        Sasparilla Fizz
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Neil Blanchard
        This is Toyota Neil, you know how they are for plug-ins....they'll rush us the plug-in version by 2030 at the latest.... You're right though, its the perfect platform for their plug-in architecture. Give them another 5 years to get their heads around the opportunity sitting there...
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Neil Blanchard
        Hey man, there's a $32,000 plug-in hybrid with 15 miles of range just waiting for you. ;)
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 3 Years Ago
      A cheaper, smaller, and maybe even more efficient prius? Honda weeps in the distance... ;)
      krona2k
      • 3 Years Ago
      If they keep that design they'll be laughing all the way to the bank. Are they brave enough to put it in to production looking like that?
      HVH20
      • 3 Years Ago
      Sold.
      • 3 Years Ago
      If Toyota doesn't keep the look of the concept they will lose my interest. The headlight placement and the current look needs to remain the same. I don't want a shrunken Prius, I want something sporty.
      Dan Frederiksen
      • 3 Years Ago
      not green
      fly by wireless
      • 3 Years Ago
      The 100,000 dollar quesiton: Does Toyota have the courage and constitution to build this without watering it down?
      • 3 Years Ago
      Toyota has no balls will wimp down and vanilla the heck out of tight little ride
      • 3 Years Ago
      Can't wait for the C to be here, this will be our next vehicle, Bring it on, Bring it on!!!! Getting 56mpg now on our used 2010 Prius II, Can't wait. We will trade in the truck and be a 2 prius family. Awesome!!!
      Larz Larzen
      • 3 Years Ago
      Winner. My next car.
      • 3 Years Ago
      More to the point, I hope to see a small Eco-car where passengers in the back seat can sit without banging their heads before I die, but if it is up to Toyota the hope seems forlorn.
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