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Toyota Prius c Review

The 2015 Toyota Prius c ranks 8 out of 17 Affordable Subcompact Cars. This ranking is based on our analysis of published reviews and test drives of the Toyota Prius c, as well as reliability and safety data.

The 2015 Toyota Prius c is ranked:

The 2015 Toyota Prius c gets outstanding fuel economy, but auto writers say it has sluggish highway acceleration and an uncomfortable ride on bumpy roads.

The 2015 Prius c hybrid is powered by a four-cylinder engine and an electric motor. Test drivers say the Prius c’s acceleration is adequate around town but poor on the highway and on steep hills. An automatic transmission (CVT) is standard. According to the EPA, the 2015 Toyota Prius c gets 53/46 mpg city/highway, which is one of the best fuel economy ratings in the class. Though reviewers note that the Prius c is reasonably agile, they say subcompact rivals like the Ford Fiesta and Chevrolet Sonic are more athletic. They dislike the Prius c’s uncomfortable ride over rough pavement, and they think the cabin is noisy at highway speeds.

According to critics, the 2015 Toyota Prius c’s cabin materials include a lot of low-quality plastic, especially in the base and lower trims. Some auto writers have a hard time finding a comfortable driving position, though others are satisfied with the front seats. Automotive reporters say the rear seat is spacious enough for two adults or three children. The Prius c’s cargo capacity is slightly above average for a subcompact hatchback. Standard features in the base 2015 Toyota Prius c include Bluetooth, a USB port, an auxiliary audio jack, automatic climate control and Toyota’s Entune infotainment system, which includes a 6.1-inch touch screen. Available features include leatherette upholstery, heated front seats, a sunroof, cruise control, push-button start, a rearview camera, navigation, satellite radio and smartphone app integration. Though some note that Entune’s touch screen is small, most reviewers say the system is easy to use.

  • "While the Prius C is fun to drive for a Prius, there are plenty of other fuel efficient subcompacts that offer more bang for the buck. The Ford Fiesta SFE comes to mind, as do the Hyundai Accent and Chevy Sonic." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Prius c is not only one of the least-expensive hybrids on the market, it's also one of the most frugal. It doesn't cost much more than some similarly equipped ‘regular’ subcompacts yet gets far better mileage, giving it a strong value equation." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Overall, while the Prius c isn't a full Prius substitute, it's undoubtedly the cheapest way to hit the 50-miles-per-gallon milestone in a new car today." -- AutoTrader (2014)
  • "Truly, you'll find no better combination if affordability and fuel economy are priorities. But as any Jedi master can tell you, there's also a dark side to the Prius C. For one, Toyota, in its quest for making the cheapest Prius yet, chose to cut back on refinement. As a result, the C can seem like less of a car for what you paid, at least in the way it drives." -- Edmunds (2014)

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Other Cars to Consider

The Ford Fiesta gets excellent fuel economy for a subcompact hatchback when equipped with the Super Fuel Economy package, and it costs several thousand dollars less than the Prius c. Auto writers say the Fiesta has nimble handling, a controlled highway ride and an attractive, well-built cabin.

The Volkswagen Golf TDI costs a bit more than the base Prius c, but critics love its impressive fuel economy, strong acceleration and athletic handling. The Golf also has significantly more cargo space than the Prius c, and reviewers agree that it has a very upscale cabin for a subcompact car.

Compare the Prius c, Fiesta and Golf »

Details: 2015 Toyota Prius c

The 2015 Toyota Prius c is a five-seat, four-door hatchback that is available in One, Two, Three and Four trims. All models have a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine, an electric motor, a continuously variable transmission (CVT) and front-wheel drive. The Prius c receives slightly updated exterior and interior styling for 2015, but hasn’t been fully redesigned since its debut in 2012. As a result, this overview uses applicable research and reviews from the 2012 through 2015 model years.

See 2015 Toyota Prius c specs »

Review Last Updated: 1/23/15

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