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, and a stellar 37 mpg in the city. The C's tiny dimensions and easy parking also make it a natural for urban driving. And it's less money than the full-fledged Prius.
But you get what you pay for. This subcompact hatchback, which is related to the lackluster Toyota Yaris, suffers from a stiff ride, very noisy cabin, slow acceleration, and cheap-looking interior trim. While the Prius C is inexpensive for a hybrid, other similarly-priced small cars, like the Mazda3, are much more livable and refined. In our tests, the Prius C scores too low for us to recommend it. For the same money, we'd buy a used Prius (non-C) instead.