The Japanese automaker's Safety Sense C system will be included on all 2017 Prius C models. The car's collision-avoidance system includes automatic braking in the event of an impending frontal collision, while the car's sensors detect yellow and white lane markings for lane maintenance. Additionally, the system automatically deploys high beams during night-driving conditions. The car's standard features already include nine airbags and a stability control system.
Toyota is looking to complement such increased safety with some styling improvements. That means a redesigned rear bumper and side rocker panels as well as a blacked-out rear spoiler for this year's model. None of those improvements will make gearheads forget that the car delivers 99 horsepower (which makes the inclusion of traction control as standard equipment kind of funny), but the car will at least look a little sportier.
The safety features and appearance updates compliment the model's already-substantial green cred. The Prius C was listed at No. 8 (just ahead of the standard-hatchback Prius) among the country's "Greenest" vehicles by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) last January. Once again, the model gets a 46 miles per gallon combined fuel-efficiency rating by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Toyota is hoping this update will spur sales of the compact hybrid. Last year, Prius C sales in the US fell 47 percent to about 20,000 units. Model sales in the US reached a high of almost 42,000 vehicles in 2013.