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Toyota Prius c Performance

Reviewers note that the 2015 Toyota Prius c is out-handled by subcompact rivals like the Ford Fiesta and Chevrolet Sonic, and they say its poor ride quality, slow highway acceleration and noisy cabin are disappointing. However, it does get incredible fuel economy for the class.

  • "The 2015 Toyota Prius C is surprisingly fun to drive...for a Prius. Based off the Toyota Yaris subcompact, the Prius C hybrid offers better handling thanks to a stronger body, surprisingly sharp steering, and better weight distribution However, a quick drive in the Ford Fiesta and Chevy Sonic will remind you that this is no sporty hatchback." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The Prius c doesn't have the smooth ride of the regular Prius. They're different cars underneath, and the Prius c's Yaris genes don't do it any favors. It's not as quiet at cruising speeds, either." -- AutoTrader (2014)
  • "It's kind of loud, it's slow, and the ride quality can be harsh." -- Edmunds (2014)
  • "In terms of driving performance, the Prius c is about as exciting as you might predict, which is not very." -- Cars.com (2012)

Acceleration and Power

The 2015 Toyota Prius c has a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor that make 99 horsepower combined. All models come with a continuously variable transmission (CVT). The Prius c gets an EPA-estimated 53/46 mpg city/highway, which is one of the highest fuel economy ratings in the class.

Automotive journalists report that the Prius c’s acceleration is sufficient in the city but slow on the highway and up steep hills, though a few note that this is common in the subcompact class.

  • "Acceleration is merely adequate around town and diminishes to meager at highway speeds." -- Consumer Guide
  • "It's not dangerously slow, but the pokey acceleration, combined with a high level of road noise, won't exactly endear the Prius C to road-trippers." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Acceleration is comparatively slow as well, but as long as you keep your expectations in check, the C's power should be perfectly acceptable for around-town driving and getting up to highway speeds." -- Edmunds (2014)
  • "The Prius c's tiny engine strained going up steep hills — as do many subcompacts, like those mentioned above — and mileage dropped significantly.” -- Cars.com (2012)

Handling and Braking

Test drivers note that while the 2015 Toyota Prius c is agile enough for the average commuter, rivals like the Ford Fiesta and Chevrolet Sonic are much sportier. Reviewers appreciate the Prius c’s tight turning radius, but they say it has poor ride quality over rough roads, and they note that the car’s uneven braking feedback takes some getting used to.

  • "We also love the tiny turning circle, which makes U-turns a breeze. The regenerative brakes may feel strange if you're a hybrid novice, but you'll get used to their inconsistent feedback in time." -- AutoTrader (2014)
  • "An unfortunate downside to the C, however, is its poor ride quality over broken pavement. Severe road imperfections cause uncharacteristic harshness and, combined with noticeable wind noise at higher freeway speeds, give the Prius C a budget-car feel." -- Edmunds (2014)
  • "A stronger body and better weight distribution are key factors contributing the Prius C's nimble handling, although when it comes to carving up the curves, the Ford Fiesta and Chevy Sonic are still leaps and bounds above the Prius C." -- Kelley Blue Book (2014)
  • "While I wouldn't call any of the trims a fun car to pilot through twisty roads, they're more than adequate for the typical commuter." -- Cars.com (2012)
Review Last Updated: 1/23/15

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