Mike Stevens | Jan 18, 2012

Toyota claims its Prius C light hybrid will achieve the lowest city-driving fuel figures of any car not powered purely by electricity or a plug-in hybrid system when it arrives in Australia this year.

While the hybrid will offer combined-cycle figures between 4.0 to 4.5 l/100km, its city figures are expected to achieve a low 3.7 l/100km - bettering the 3.9 l/100km of the regular Prius and the 4.0 l/100km of the CT 200h, the current leaders.

For combined-cycle driving however, it is likely to be outdone by the Ford Fiesta ECOnetic (3.6 l/100km), the Golf Bluemotion diesel (3.8), the Prius (3.9), and possibly the CT 200h (4.1).

Due in Australia in April, the Prius C will be the first to join the new expanded Prius range in Australia, with the larger Prius V wagon expected to arrive later this year.

Like the current Prius, the C pairs a regular petrol engine (a 1.5 litre unit in this case) with a high-output electric motor. Combined power is listed at 73kW.

And, like the CT 200h - now the best-selling Lexus model globally, and third in Australia - Toyota will be looking to the Prius C to entice buyers that see hybrids as appealingly green but short on driving pleasure.

Toyota says the Prius C's engine and hybrid components have been positioned for a low centre of gravity, "contributing to spirited driving".

Pricing could also help move buyers into the brand's hybrid family, with the $34,990 starting price of the regular Prius likely to give lower-spec Prius C variants a sub-$30k sticker.

Fuel-efficient competitors in that range will include the larger $28,990 Golf Bluemotion and the similarly-sized $24,990 Fiesta ECOnetic, both diesel cars.

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