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This smaller, less expensive alternative to the regular Prius feels like a Spartan subcompact, but with a hybrid powertrain. In the end, you pretty much get what you pay for, and it is no substitute for the real Prius. The C has a harsh ride, a noisy engine, and slow acceleration. The interior looks and feels cheap, the driving position and rear seats are cramped, and there's little cargo space. However, its 37 mpg makes the Prius C one of the most frugal vehicles we've tested, and its 43 mpg overall is just 1 mpg less than the previous-generation Prius hatchback. Its tiny dimensions make it a natural for urban driving. Reliability is above average, but the Prius C scored too low to be recommended. For the 2017 model year, automatic emergency braking is standard.

Road Test

As Toyota's least-expensive hybrid, the Prius C seems like a great idea. True to its namesake, it delivers excellent fuel economy of 43 mpg overall, just 1 mpg less than the larger Prius, and a stellar 37 mpg in the city -- the best of any car we've...

Highs

  • Terrific fuel economy
  • Costs less than a real Prius

Lows

  • Crude and unrefined, with a cheap interior and brutally stiff ride
  • Extremely noisy

Best Version to Get

Start with the Prius C Two to get the added seat adjustments and cruise control. Frustratingly, you can't get a backup camera unless you get the top Four trim level; that's ridiculous given that competitors such as the Honda Fit have a standard camera. Skip the top Four trim level; this car...

Specifications

Seating
2 front, 3 rear
Drive Wheels
Front
Warranty
  • Basic: 3 year/36,000 miles
  • Powertrain: 5 year/60,000 miles
  • Rust through: 5 year/unlimited
  • Roadside aid: 2 year/unlimited
Body Styles
4-door hatchback
Transmissions Available
  • CVT
Engines Available
  • 1.5-liter 4 hybrid (99 hp)

Ratings

Safety
Performance
Comfort / Convenience
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