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Refreshed Toyota Prius C lands

Out to C: The Prius C’s styling has been refreshed to give it a more aggressive look, according to Toyota.

Toyota’s hybrid-powered Prius C gets $1000 price cut and ride and handling tweaks


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12 Feb 2015

TOYOTA’S refreshed Prius C hybrid light car has arrived in Australia with updated styling, improved ride and handling and lower prices across the two-model range.

On sale now, the Japanese-built hatch starts at $22,990 plus on-road costs for the base Prius C and tops out at $25,990 for the i-Tech, representing a $1000 reduction for each thanks to the Australia-Japan free-trade agreement.

The facelifted Prius C – unveiled at last year’s Los Angeles motor show – features a new front bumper with different moulding around the fog-lights, and a more aggressive hexagonal grille replacing the trapezoidal version on the original. LED tail-lights also have a new design.

The base model gets new-look covers for the steel wheels, while the up-market i-Tech retains its 15-inch alloys. Three new colours join the palette – Tango (orange), Aura (light blue) and Zest (lime).

Changes to the cabin include a new centre stack with a multi-purpose climate control dial and larger switches, while the base variant gains new fabric trim in black and dark blue.

In i-Tech guise, the Prius C has dark grey seats with silver stitching that also appears on the steering wheel, and includes dark glossy surrounds, silver highlighting and soft-touch materials.

The hybrid powertrain is unchanged, mating a 54kW/111Nm 1.5-litre petrol engine with a 45kW/169Nm electric motor for a combined output of 74kW, matched with a continuously variable transmission.

Fuel use remains the same at 3.9 litres per 100 kilometres on the combined cycle, while CO2 emissions are 90g/km.

Three driving modes carry over as well. These include EV Mode that allows electric-only driving of up to two kilometres at up 40km/h. Normal Mode is for everyday driving, while Eco Mode helps reduce energy use by monitoring the air-conditioning and throttle.

Toyota has made tweaks to improve ride and handling, with engineers retuning the front and rear shock absorbers for better “ride comfort, steering response, stability and cornering,” according to the Japanese car-maker.

Body stiffness has been improved thanks to additional spot welds in the rear-wheel housing, while the MacPherson struts up front have been strengthened for a more “linear” steering feel.

Standard gear across the range includes a 6.1-inch touchscreen display with Bluetooth phone and audio, keyless entry and start, height and reach adjustable steering, 60/40 split-fold rear seat and a rear spoiler.

Stepping up to the i-Tech adds auto-leveling LED headlights, privacy glass, a larger rear spoiler, sat-nav with live traffic updates and a premium steering wheel and upholstery.

On the safety front, the Prius C features a reversing camera, seven airbags, cruise control, an emergency brake signal, hill-start assist, Toyota’s Touch Trace Display that helps to reduce driver eye movement and encourage better concentration on the road, and a five-star ANCAP crash safety rating.

The Prius C, under its Japanese Aqua moniker, is the top-selling car in its home market, but in Australia, it is a niche offering, with 1654 sales last year – a 29.2 per cent drop over 2013. This represents just a fraction of its Yaris stabelmate’s haul of 12,779 in the same period.

Toyota Australia executive director sales and marketing Tony Cramb said the Prius C offered a surprising amount of space for a light car.

"Prius C is a smaller and lighter sibling to the Prius hatch yet it still provides ample space for five adults thanks to Toyota's clever solutions," he said.

"A great example is the placement of the hybrid battery and fuel tank under the rear seat, which means there is also room for plenty of luggage and a full-size spare wheel."2015 Toyota Prius C pricing*
Prius C (a)$22,990
Prius C i-Tech (a)$25,990
*Excludes on-road costs.

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