Consumer Reports has panned the 2012 Toyota Prius C in a new video review that urges car shoppers to get a used regular Prius over the new baby model, "it's a much better car overall," said Mike Quincy in the review.

The problems Toyota ran into in creating the Prius C appear to be in making it cheaper, according to Consumer Reports. The list of adjectives during the video review included: "lackluster," "hard plastic," "cheap materials," "dead steering" and "slow."

Toyota may see those words as misplaced modifiers compared to the glowing recommendations the larger mainstream Prius has received in its decade-long Synergy drive to becoming the eco-poster child for hypermiling greenies out to save the Earth and ride in California HOV lanes with a single person aboard. (HOV access for most gas-electric hybrids has been discontinued in the Golden State.)

While the Prius C may start at $18,995, its price climbs quickly and its value does not, Consumer Reports said. A new regular Prius starts at $24,000.

However, the bad news from Consumer Reports hasn't hurt Prius C sales, which began in April. During its first month, Toyota sold 4,782 Prius C models, outpacing the other Prius variant, the family-minded Prius V, as well as the subcompact Yaris, which donates its platform for the Prius C.

Scroll down to watch Consumer Reports' full Prius C video review or read more at the source link.



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  • 38 Comments
      dontneedpants
      • 2 Years Ago
      Yet the Prius C is the fastest-selling car in America. What gives? http://www.edmunds.com/industry-center/analysis/quick-whats-the-fastest-selling-car-in-america.html
      Anne
      • 2 Years Ago
      The 'cheap plastic' imo is a good thing. regular, padded, soft interiors are built up of different layers of material, far harder to recycle than a big chunk of homogeneous material. These are aspects that Toyota takes into account when designing a car. A simple interior is probably lighter too, saving fuel. But of course, these environmental considerations, who gives a ****? The pay-off is also lousy: "a cheap car with an expensive drivetrain" #FAIL The drivetrain is cheap too, since is uses very little fuel and is very, very durable and reliable as 4 million Toyota hybrids have proven. That is one verycheap drivetrain. But being good, short sited consumers, they don't factor in running costs.
        mchlrus1
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Anne
        Do work for Toyota? You sound like a automaton. They don't using cheap plastic as a design piece...The Yen is so high, they made a cheap car. I don't think it's a bad thing I like cheap easy to use interiors. I just don't think that they did it for the reason you were saying.
      EZEE
      • 2 Years Ago
      Meh. Many people that wanted hybrids can now get one. It will sell well. I make plenty of money right now, and cold afford to buy a Volt for cash, but I prefer to spend as little on a car as possible. Unlike other investments, you know this one will go down in value, and eventually be worth zero. My company, being pleased with me (I did get them an $8 million contract...) gave me a Fusion with leather, sun roof, sync, variable ambient lighting (now that sh*t is really cool), but my personal car, is, of course, my beloved 2000 Ford Ranger with 4 billion miles on it. It starts, stops, shifts gears, and the air works. It tows my 1996 boat. My point is, there is no way I am ever going to get a $27k Fusion Platinum, or a $31k(!) Cruze. Not gonna happen. The Prius C might have hard plastic (horror, my knuckles might get bruised handing out the grey poupon to other rich people) but the price is reasonable, it is a Toyota so I would hopefully put as many miles on it as my Ranger, and it will save me money at the pump. And unlike the dumb 'eco' versions of small cars (see article on the focus, cruze, etc) it won't take 4 billion years to have the 'Eco' give me savings to pay the diff in price!
        EZEE
        • 2 Years Ago
        @EZEE
        Niminated for employee of the year, wish me luck.... :D
      PeterScott
      • 2 Years Ago
      It's funny to see everyone, everywhere turn on CR every time they turn in a report, because some fans always think their choice was judged harshly and attack CRs integrity or competence. I see it on regular AB if they review a sporty car that doesn't get high marks. Or a Jeep Wrangler that doesn't get high marks and in this case the Prius C that doesn't get high marks. In all cases it seems like fans think there should be extra bonus points for fuel economy, sportiness, Rubicon Trail rating. In reality they have a set of critrea that includes points, fuel economy and handling (thought not Trail rating) but no bonus points. CR is also the most unbiased car reviewer on the planet. Taking ZERO advertising money, taking No free trips in Februrary to Aruba to test new cars, and testing only cars the buy off the lot like the rest of us. They have solid, sensible test procedures. I trust CR more than any other automotive publication. I also think Toyota did a great job getting this kind of fuel economy in package priced this low. But reading the review, it does sound like Toyota has room for future improvements. It is slow. Electric Power Steering is common everywhere. Toyota had better get theirs up to snuff. Hard plastics, well that is common in cars in the lower end of the market. But it delivers on the mission of great fuel economy at lower price. Toyota should release a Pruis CS. The C body, but with the full size drive train and tweaked steering/suspension.
        Begreen
        • 2 Years Ago
        @PeterScott
        I think Pete's assessment is good. CR is not golden, but they do try to provide an unbiased report. Our full sized, 2006 Prius is a good car, but it is far from perfect. Toyota made some glaring errors in the seats, visibility and ergonomic (climate control on a digital screen) that needed correction. The dead steering has not. I'm not sure about the traction control that often engages at the worst times. These issues should be pointed out so that there is momentum to correct them. That doesn't mean the car is a loser, far from it. But let's beware of the Emperor's new clothing syndrome too.
        Anne
        • 2 Years Ago
        @PeterScott
        Peter, The attitude towards CR is because it's like they tested a Corvette and gave it an F because it lacks boot space.
          PeterScott
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Anne
          CR tested the Corvette Z06 and gave it one of the highest scores I have ever seen: 92. Reality is they test over dozens of categories. Standing out in one, or ******* in one is not enough to unduly sway your score. The Prius C gets great fuel economy. But in most other ways it is not great car.
      mylexicon
      • 2 Years Ago
      I think CR needs to realize that the "golden age" of value-oriented creature comforts is over. Posh interiors are no longer cost-effective options for most buyers; instead, the emphasis is on fuel-efficiency, which makes high tensile steel, synergy drive, fuel computers, and aero development more practical. VW went downscale at an opportune moment. CR blanched. The US market rewarded VW. Toyota's cheapest and most-efficient Prius model is released at an opportune moment. CR give tepid reviews. So far the consumer market is buying Prius C at rapid pace. I feel like CR are in denial or perhaps they never understood cars at all. Cars are not self-serving works of industrial quality control. Cars move people from A to B. What could be better for US drivers and the economy/ecology as a whole than a cheap 50mpg vehicle from a reputable manufacturer?
      Joeviocoe
      • 2 Years Ago
      So, yeah, compared to the regular Prius, you might want to spend a few grand more to get a better interior and performance. But... Compared to a 4 door Yaris, which according to CR, is just as refined... the Prius C is great. The Yaris is about $16,100 and the Prius C is 18,995 The Yaris gets 33 MPG and the Prius C gets 50 MPG. That is a significant savings. $3k premium up front but saves about $500 per year (12k miles/yr @ $4/gal). So 6 years payback. So if you really cannot afford over $20k... then the Prius C is great. The Yaris is a good selling car already. I can't believe the CR guy recommended buying a used car... that is not value.
        Nick
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Joeviocoe
        Joeviocoe" "$3k premium up front but saves about $500 per year (12k miles/yr @ $4/gal). So 6 years payback." You forgot something: Efficient, used cars such as the Prius, original Insight etc.. are in high demand and command much higher prices on the used car market than ICE counterparts. You should get part of your $3k premium back at sale, even years from now.
        JP
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Joeviocoe
        Actually buying a used car that has already taken the instant depreciation hit is a better value.
      Nick
      • 2 Years Ago
      Oh well, I suspect Prius C buyers purchase it for its excellent MPG (you know, the #1 buying criteria..) more than its leather covered ceiling, massaging seats, humidor and wood trim. If it's too much for you, wait a couple years and get one for $15,000 used.
        brotherkenny4
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Nick
        That's correct. I would also add that I have never thought much of car magazines or CR because of their tendency to emphasize irrational, emotional and frivolous aspects of car ownership. Cars are losers, and anyone who needs one to fix their outlook on life needs to think about things differently. My wife is currently getting 56 MPG as determined by tracking miles traveled and actual gasoline usage. That's over about the first 1500 miles.
      Ford Future
      • 2 Years Ago
      Funny, the review isn't bad, just the Wacko Conclusion.
        GoodCheer
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ford Future
        That's what I was thinking. They liked it around town, they thought the seats were comfortable, they liked the rear seat room, there was plenty of storage with the rear seats folded down, and it gets great mileage. Maybe it's not a great highway bomber, but their only criticisms were little aesthetic niggles and that it isn't a really engaging driver's car.
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 2 Years Ago
      http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/04/review-2012-toyota-prius-c/ Here is a review from TTAC. They mention that it is quieter than Honda's hybrids. They got a 10.7 second 0-60, similar to the big prius's ~10 second 0-60. Consumer reports was also very nice to the Insight, considering that it is a far worse car than this one. I'm smelling an anti-Toyota bias ( and this, from an ex-Honda fanboy )
        PeterScott
        • 2 Years Ago
        @2 Wheeled Menace
        Actually CR crapped all over the Insight, and that made headlines. They score about the same. If you look at the details at CRs site, they both come across with similar results in most categories.
      Joeviocoe
      • 2 Years Ago
      Depends on how much you buy it for. Used Priuses are NOT cheap usually as they are holding value a bit more than expected. It really depends on the mileage. Besides.. if you want to cross compare new car markets to used car markets.. .that really makes it difficult on an economic basis. It depends on what you value.
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 2 Years Ago
      Wow, they just take a massive dump all over this car, don't they? Look, take it for what it is. It's a hybrid Yaris. The Yaris is a cheap car to start with, and this car has a fantastic bang per buck, in terms of fuel economy. Dead steering response, wind noise, and slow acceleration? that could describe any cheap compact car. Did poindexter over here just get done test driving a Lexus before he got in this thing? I don't think the expectations for this car were in line.
      Ford Future
      • 2 Years Ago
      When the plastic parts are more important then the MPG, you can be sure this is a buyout from the oil industry.
        theflew
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ford Future
        I just think they are saying the drive train is fine, but not for the cost of what you're getting overall. Is the future to drive around bland cars just to get higher MPG? Come on that radio looks like something out of an early 90's car. They have better in their parts bin that wouldn't have raised the price. I think Tesla and the GM Volt has something to say about that.
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