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2015 Toyota Prius C

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 5/19/2015 Stefan Ogbac

New for 2015

The 2015 Toyota Prius C gains restyled front fascia and taillights, standard LED low- and high-beam headlights, and improved cabin materials. Three new exterior colors have been added: Electric Lime Metallic, Tangerine Splash Pearl, and Sparkling Sea Metallic.

Vehicle Summary

The entry-level 2015 Toyota Prius C is the smallest model in the Prius family. A 1.5-liter I-4 paired to an electric motor with a total system output of 99 hp is the only engine available and it’s paired to a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). Fuel economy is excellent at 53/46 mpg city/highway, making the Prius C one of the most fuel efficient vehicles on the market today.

Overview

With the 2015 Toyota Prius C’s emphasis on fuel economy, the car doesn’t perform well, with only 99 hp available to pull around its 2,500-pound curb weight. Handling isn’t one of the car’s strong points; the hatchback's tires focus on maximizing fuel economy rather than driving dynamics. This also impacts the Prius C’s ride because it remains uncomfortable even with the smaller 15-inch steel wheels.

Thanks to its four-door hatchback body style, the 2015 Toyota Prius C has plenty of room inside for passengers. Trunk space is 17.1 cubic feet with the rear seats up, making it larger than some compact sedans, and can be expanded by folding the second row. Higher trim levels add Toyota’s Entune infotainment system with navigation and allow access to smartphone apps via Bluetooth, 16-inch alloy wheels, and leatherette upholstery.

The 2015 Toyota Prius C received a four-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA (out of a possible five stars). In IIHS evaluations, the car earned a Good score in four categories and Poor in the small overlap front crash test (Good is the highest possible score).

What We Think

For those looking for a fuel efficient hatchback that’s easy to live with in tight urban spaces, the 2015 Toyota Prius C is a decent choice. However, driving dynamics, acceleration, and refinement have been sacrificed in its quest to get the most mpgs as possible. In a 2014 First Test review, we noted that the car is underpowered, taking it 6.8 seconds to complete the 45-65 mph acceleration test. Additionally, opting for the larger 16-inch wheels detracted from the car’s ride quality, making it “tiring.” While opting for the smaller 15-inch units improved the Prius C’s ride, it also exaggerated the slow steering and made it feel more imprecise than it already is. The car’s price is also another issue because higher trim levels, as we noted in a 2012 First Test review, can get up to $26,000 dollars, reducing its value proposition and its fuel efficiency advantage over similarly sized gas-powered vehicles. If you're set on a Prius C, we'd recommend considering the lower or mid-level trims.

You’ll Like

  • Excellent fuel economy
  • Practical hatchback body style
  • Easy to maneuver in urban areas

You Won’t Like

  • Engine lacks power
  • Poor ride and handling
  • Higher trim levels are as expensive as base-model Prius

Key Competitors

  • Volkswagen Golf TDI
  • Toyota Corolla
  • Toyota Prius
  • Honda Civic Hybrid
  • Ford Focus SFE with 1.0L EcoBoost I-3

Rating

2 star

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