The newest member in Toyota's growing hybrid family, the Prius C light hatch, is now on sale in Australia.
Kicking off at $23,990 (plus on-roads), the Prius C enters as the most affordable hybrid offering in the Australian market, entering at $6000 below the larger Honda Insight hybrid.
As with the regular Prius, the little hatch will be offered in two trim grades: Prius C and Prius C i-Tech, with the higher-spec model priced at $26,990.
The Prius C is powered by Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Driver system, pairing a 1.5 litre petrol engine paired with an electric motor, producing a combined 74kW - on par with the Insight's 1.3 litre petrol engine and electric motor combo.
Fuel consumption figures are listed at 3.9 l/100km on the combined cycle - equal to the regular Prius and bettering the 4.1 l/100km of the luxury-focused Lexus CT 200h hybrid.
The Prius C's true strength on the fuel economy front is its performance in city driving, with Toyota listing figures of 3.7 l/100km on the city cycle.
That's compared to 3.9 l/100km for the regular Prius, 4.0 l/100km of the CT 200h, the current leaders in the city-cycle charts.
Weight reductions include stripping over 40kg from the revised system, including more than 8kg each from the transaxle and the redesigned nickel-metal hydride hybrid battery. The air-conditioning unit is also thinner, lighter and more efficient.
Weighing in at 1120kg - around 285kg less than the larger Prius - Toyota says the Prius C also benefits from its engine and hybrid components being positioned for a low centre of gravity, "contributing to spirited driving".
The Prius C's EV mode also allows the car to be driven on electric power alone for up to one or two kilometres at speeds below 40km/h, contributing to its city-cycle fuel figures.
The C's front suspension uses MacPherson struts, with the rear riding on a torsion beam arrangement.
Toyota says the hybrid's coil springs and shock absorbers have been tuned with a focus on a balance of handling and ride comfort.
The Prius C measures 3995mm long, making it 110mm longer than the Yaris light car with which its shares its platform, and both cars share a width of 1695mm.
Height is 1445mm and the wheelbase is 2550mm (Yaris: 1500mm, 2510mm).
Rear storage space is listed at 260 litres to the top of the rear seats.
With 2.69 turns lock-to-lock, the Prius C's turning circle is listed at 4.8 metres.
Standard features include keyless smart entry and start, automatic air-con, 6.1-inch touch-screen display audio, CD player, Bluetooth audio streaming and phone connectivity, iPod connectivity, a 3.5-inch colour multi-information display, 15-inch wheels with a full-size spare, cruise control, foglamps, power windows and mirrors, and 60/40 split-fold rear seat.
The up-spec Prius c i-Tech adds satellite navigation with live traffic updates, alloy wheels, self-levelling LED headlamps with washers, power retractable exterior mirrors, a larger rear spoiler, premium seat coverings and interior trim.
Standard safety features across the range include seven airbags, reversing camera, vehicle stability and traction control, anti-skid brakes with brake assist and electronic brakeforce distribution, and hill-start assist control.
Toyota says it expects the Prius C to be awarded a 5-star ANCAP safety rating.
Front and rear park assist+ is available as an option, along with carpet floor mats, bootliner, headlamp covers, and door handle and bumper paint protection.
- 2012 Toyota Prius C - $23,990
- 2012 Toyota Prius C i-Tech - $26,990
Note: prices are Manufacturer's List Price and do not include on-road costs, which vary from state to state.
The Prius C is covered by Toyota Service Advantage with a capped price of $130 for each of up to six scheduled services in the first three years or 60,000km. As always, conditions apply, so speak with your dealer.
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