1 Mar 2012
Toyota released the Prius C light car in March 2012 to take the fight to Honda for the title of Australia’s cheapest hybrid. The little Toyota won the contest, undercutting the Honda Insight by $6,000.
Based on the Yaris platform, the Prius C became Toyota’s entry-level hybrid, slotting in below the Prius hatch and Camry Hybrid sedan.
The Prius C traded off the green credentials of its big brother, the original Prius, with Toyota claiming on its release that it wanted to make its Hybrid Synergy Drive technology “more attainable for a wider audience”.
As light cars became one of the fastest-growing segments in Australia, it was a no-brainer for Toyota to bring the Prius C to Australia.
The junior Prius landed in Australia with a 1.5-litre engine and motor/generator combination delivering a total output of 74kW. The only transmission available was the continuously variable transmission (CVT) automatic.
Although the baby Toyota could be driven in electric-only mode, but only for one or two kilometres and with a top speed of 40km/h before switching to the petrol engine.
Oddly, despite its smaller proportions and engine, the Prius C achieved the same combined figure of fuel efficiency as its bigger Prius brother – 3.8L/100km. They had similar CO2emissions, with the larger Prius rated at 89g/km and the Prius C at 90g/km.
Generous packaging meant that the entry-level Prius C was available with seven airbags, a reversing camera, keyless entry and start, Bluetooth, cruise control and foglights.
The top-spec i-Tech added satellite-navigation, LED headlights and premium seat and interior trims for an extra $3000 on top of the base model’s price.