• 2012 Toyota Prius C front 3/4

  • 2012 Toyota Prius C rear 3/4

  • 2012 Toyota Prius C side

  • 2012 Toyota Prius C side

  • 2012 Toyota Prius C front

  • 2012 Toyota Prius C rear

  • 2012 Toyota Prius C rear 3/4

  • 2012 Toyota Prius C rear 3/4

C is for Cookie. At least, that's what the baking industry lobbyist known as Cookie Monster would have us believe. At Toyota they have another idea, where C is not for Cookie, it's not for Car and it's not for Compact. In the latest addition to the Prius family, C is for City.

What you're looking at is a new, smaller hybrid from Toyota, which is eagerly growing the Prius range from one four-door to include the Prius V (for Versatility), the Prius plug-in hybrid and this, the Prius C. It's both smaller and more affordable than the existing Prius range, while delivering superlative fuel economy figures. In fact, with a 50-mpg combined rating, the Prius C claims the best economy of any car this side of a plug-in EV.

Motivation is provided by a 1.5-liter four that, together with the electric motor, delivers up to 99 horsepower at peak (compared to the Prius liftback's 134hp). It's also more nimble than its bigger brother, and more affordable: when the Prius C reaches showrooms in the spring, it will wear a sticker price under $19,000. In the meantime, you can check out our gallery of high-resolution images from the show floor above, the stock images below and jump into the press release for more details.
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Toyota Prius c Completes the Prius Family of Vehicles

• Highest rated city fuel economy of any vehicle without a plug
• Introduces proven hybrid powertrain at MSRP below $19,000
• Wide array of available convenience and premium technology

DETROIT , Michigan, Jan.10, 2012 – Following the U.S. debut of the all-new 2012 Prius c at the 2012 North American International Auto Show here, Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc., plans to bring this dynamically styled, five-door hatchback to market in March of 2012, and introduce Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive to the subcompact segment.

The letter "c" represents "city" in the Prius c name. Designed to function as an urban-friendly vehicle with an engaging driving experience, hatchback utility, and a city fuel economy rating of 53 mpg, Prius c offers the highest city mpg rating of any vehicle without a plug. The all-new Prius c joins the Prius Family, which includes the third generation Prius Liftback, the versatile new Prius v and the Prius Plug-in Hybrid, which will debut in early 2012.

Beginning with the first generation fourteen years ago, over two million Prius units have been sold worldwide. Prius remains the world's premier eco-vehicle brand, and has made great strides establishing consumer trust in hybrid technology. With Prius c, Toyota will make the market's most proven hybrid technology available to subcompact car shoppers with a starting MSRP below $19,000.

Unique Place in the Prius Family
A gateway product into the Prius Family, the new Prius c will find favor with younger shoppers seeking a smartly designed, fuel-efficient subcompact car packing advanced drivetrain and in-car technology. The Prius c will offer engaging driving dynamics with superior urban maneuverability. When the 2012 Prius c arrives in showrooms this spring, the all-new hatchback will offer:

The highest rated city fuel economy estimate of any vehicle without a plug*; 53 mpg in the city, and 46 mpg on the highway, for a combined rating of 50 mpg
The most accessible Prius will feature a starting MSRP below $19,000 with proven hybrid powertrain and premium technology

A premium subcompact car experience thanks to a wide array of available convenience and advanced in-car electronics features, including a standard 3.5-in. full color TFT multi-information display, hands-free phone capability, USB port with iPod® connectivity, and available Display Audio system with Navigation and Entune™

The scale of the all-new Prius c becomes apparentwhen compared to the familiar proportions of the midsize Prius Liftback. The Prius c is smaller and lighter than its midsize Prius stable mate with 19.1 inches less length (157.3 vs. 176.4 inches OAL) and 542 lbs. less weight than the Prius Liftback (2,500 vs. 3,042 lbs.). In adapting the Hybrid Synergy Drive to the smaller Prius c platform, each of the system's major components were re-designed to reduce weight, scale, and improve efficiency.

Four Grades with Generous Standard Equipment
The Prius c will be available in four trim levels offering desirable features, equipment, and enhanced capability giving consumers a compelling value proposition. Prius c provides many standard features such as automatic climate control, tilt-telescopic steering wheel with audio, climate, Multi-Information Display and Bluetooth® hands-free controls, and remote keyless entry with illuminated entry among a long list of standard equipment.

Efficient Packaging
The Prius c's effective packaging design strategically locates key drivetrain components within the chassis to help optimize interior space and handling. The compact gasoline engine, transaxle and power-control unit are optimally placed within the vehicle to help enhance weight distribution and lower the center of gravity. In addition, the hybrid battery and fuel tank are positioned together beneath the rear seat, ideally distributing their mass within the wheelbase to improve weight distribution to help enhance handling. By locating the battery and fuel tank below the rear seat, the Prius c is able to offer 104 cu. ft. of interior volume (87.4 cu. ft. passenger volume, 17.1 cu. ft. cargo volume).

Prius c Hybrid Synergy Drive Propulsion
The Prius c's Hybrid Synergy Drive system integrates the operation of components that include a gasoline engine, an electric motor within a Continuously Variable Transaxle, a nickel-metal hydride battery, a power control unit (inverter), a DC-DC converter, a step-up converter and a hybrid control computer. The hybrid control computer governs the seamless application of gasoline engine and electric power depending on driving demands and selected drive mode.

The Prius c relies on a SULEV (Tier 2 Bin 3) rated 1.5-liter in-line, four-cylinder gasoline engine that utilizes an Atkinson cycle to increase efficiency. This engineproduces 73 horsepower and 82 lb.-ft. of torque, contributing to a total hybrid system output of 99 hp.

The Prius c's hybrid system utilizes a 144-volt nickel-metal hydride battery pack that has been located under the rear passenger seat, near the center of the vehicle, and low in the chassis to help improve the center of gravity.

Prius c offers three distinct drive modes: Normal, Eco, and EV mode. Eco mode reduces overall energy consumption by governing climate control and throttle to improve vehicle efficiency. Under certain conditions, the EV mode allows the Prius c to be driven solely by electric power for a short distance (under 1 mile) while remaining below 25 mph.

Vehicle Structure – Improved Handling and Safety
The Prius c's body structure makes extensive use of lightweight, high-strength steel to help reduce vehicle mass and improve fuel economy. The strategic use of high-tensile-strength steel contributes to the vehicle's ability to absorb and disperse impact energies helping enhance occupant safety. The high level of torsional rigidity afforded by the Prius c body structure allows the suspension to be more optimally tuned for ride and handling.

Suspension and Steering for Enhanced Handling
The front suspension uses a Macpherson strut design, and the rear rides on a tuned torsion beam. The coil-spring and shock-absorber characteristics of the Prius c have been tuned to enhance handling, flat turning, and smooth ride comfort. Prius c is available with 15- or 16-inch wheel-and-tire combinations. The 15-inch wheels are available in steel with wheel cover for base model or in aluminum alloy for elevated trim levels. Prius c models equipped with the available 16-inch aluminum alloy wheels enjoy enhanced handling thanks to a faster steering ratio (2.28 turns lock to lock), which helps quicken the vehicle's dynamic response.

Youthful Exterior and Interior Design
The Prius c exterior design helps project a fun, youthful attitude for this all-new addition to the Prius family, while offering excellent aerodynamic performance. Extensive aerodynamic features were engineered into the Prius c to help achieve a 0.28 coefficient of drag. Adding character to this subcompact, the Prius c's lower-body styling is wider below the beltline, featuring sculpted rear flares to help express a sturdy, athletic stance that communicates a more agile driving experience.

The Prius c's available exterior colors include vibrant hues that are unique and expressive. The available colors for Prius c include three new colors – Habanero, Moonglow, and Summer Rain Metallic – along with Blue Streak Metallic, Absolutely Red, Black Sand Pearl, Magnetic Gray Metallic, Classic Silver Metallic, and Super White.

The Prius c interior design seeks to create a space that is futuristic yet passenger friendly. Using black as a basic interior color, the door trim, seat surfaces, and instrument panel feature treatments in lighter colors to help create contrast.

Display Audio and Connectivity with Entune®
The 2012 Prius c will offer three audio system configurations. A base audio system features either four or six speakers, depending on the model, and includes AM/FM CD player with MP3/WMA playback capability, auxiliary audio jack, USB port with iPod® connectivity, hands-free phone capability, phone book access, and music streaming via Bluetooth® wireless technology.

The Display Audio with Navigation and Entune™ has six speakers and augments capability with a 6.1-inch touchscreen, SiriusXM™ Satellite Radio capability (with 3-month trial subscription to XM Select package), HD Radio™ with iTunes® tagging, and advanced voice recognition. Toyota's Entune™ multi-media system functions through select smart phones' interface that brings applications such as Bing and Pandora® to the vehicle audio display. It also features real time information such as traffic, weather, fuel prices, sports, and stocks.

Standard Safety Features
The Prius c is equipped with nine airbags strategically located to help protect the driver and passengers in the event of certain types of accidents. The new 2012 Prius c, like allToyota models, is equipped with the standard Star Safety System™, which includes Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC), Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA), and Smart Stop Technology (SST).

* 2012 EPA 53/46/50 city/highway/combined mpg estimates. Actual mileage will vary.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      1. Toyota expects 12-15k a month out of this car, starting this summer, and 150k starting in 2013 2. Toyota is DEFINITELY holding back on this cars efficiency. It is over 500 lbs lighter than a Prius hatchback, has 35HP less, but is no more efficient? Toyota is saving bigger numbers for when they need them. At some point in the future, Toyota will announce "technological advancements" that will release more EPA MPG, but it's there right now, just not needed. 50 MPG is plenty in this market. They're competing against themselves...... BD
      • 3 Years Ago
      Has anyone else noticed that it seems like almost every car debuting in Detroit is painted red?
        4 String
        • 3 Years Ago
        Fusion, Dart, etc. It got pretty funky by the third car in. What's wrong with dark blue lol *scratches head*
      • 3 Years Ago
      So so bland. Still I bet it they will sell enough to equal if not overtake the amount of regular Priuses..err.. Prii on the road.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'm inclined to agree with the other commenters that the Prius C could get a lot better gas mileage for the drop in weight and power. But this is positioned in a different class. If its selling for under 19k then Toyota's probably hoping buyers of the Civic, whatever Korea is offering, etc. will choose this for the increase in fuel ecomoney. And on the styling aspect, Toyota is making a Prius image like a sub brand with Scion. The styling is very blah but it's noticeable across the Prius lineup which is what they're aiming for.
      Alex Fischer
      • 3 Years Ago
      I really wanted to hate the idea of a "Prius Family" when they first announced it, but I have to admit, both the Prius C and Prius V look like really well done cars. I thought they'd be reusing parts and just milking the Prius name, but they really did this properly.They're really filling a need in the market and I hope Americans recognize this and jump on board. I can't wait to have a go in one. I think the day is nearing when we'll finally see a sporty consumer level hybrid that car enthusiasts can take seriously.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Blech, I was hoping this would undercut the Insight, instead it looks like they're targetting it. Sounds like the Prius C is still probably a better vehicle, but I'd be much more tempted @ 17k.
      • 3 Years Ago
      This car should have carry its original Japanese name. Aqua.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I like it. It isnt ugly it looks just right. Kinda cute.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Dude! Hell yeah! 23,000 is a lot for my pocket,but this is much better. I have always wanted a Prius but being a college student tends to leave one in alot of debt. Definitely will be seeing this in my driveway soon!
      • 3 Years Ago
      By the way, I haven't really been following this car that closely, but I'm glad to see the battery is a Ni-MH. Slower to charge, but far more stable than the lithium technology showing up in most new hybrids/electrics.
      • 3 Years Ago
      This is going to be a huge success for Toyota. I, personally, would never pay the money for a normal prius, but this actually piques my interest, solely because of the price and I know it will get excellent fuel mileage, perfect for my 90 mile round-trip commute 5 days a week.
      THE 507
      • 3 Years Ago
      Once again Toyota doesn't get it. Not too long ago they brought a concept to the auto show circuit and it had personality, style and a high "cool factor." What do they bring to market? A clone of the larger Prius with barely a nudge in fuel economy and less horsepower. Let's see, everyone raise their hand that wants the same bland styling with a more cramped interior, less horsepower and hardly much difference in fuel economy. And the price isn't much less than the larger Prius being discounted on every Toyota lot right now. Fail.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @THE 507
        • 3 Years Ago
        @THE 507
        Actually, Toyota does get it. The Prius has been an enormous success in the United States where availability of diesels is, on the whole, barely on the radar. Prius buyers are primarily interested in the car's fuel economy, even though there's a higher capital cost to achieve it. Toyota are right on the money to now debut a B-segment version to tackle the slow-selling Insight - which itself is highly underrated but not without its faults - which has inoffensive, and attractive styling. For people with urban commutes where hybrids come into their own, this is going to be a big seller for $19K.
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