Toyota Prius c offers entry-level hybrid motoring

Andross Moonah - CAP staff
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Toyota's Prius is perhaps the most well-known hybrid vehicle on the market. Introduced in 1997, the Prius is now in its third generation and has recently spawned two other variations: the larger Prius v and the smaller, more affordable Prius c.

Toyota designed the Prius c for use in urban settings, which is why the "c" in Prius c stands for "city". The new Prius c is positioned as the entry-level model in the three-vehicle Prius lineup, and is aimed at younger consumers in search of a fuel-efficient subcompact car.

With a length of roughly four metres, the Prius c is about 50 centimetres shorter than the standard midsize Prius and is also significantly lighter, weighing over 227 kg less. Power for the Prius c comes from a 1.5-litre, 4-cylinder Atkinson cycle engine and an electric motor that together produce a combined 99 horsepower. The powertrain also includes a continuously variable transaxle, a DC/DC converter, a step-up converter, a power control unit, a hybrid control computer and a 144-volt nickel-metal battery located under the rear seats.

The hybrid powertrain allows for an estimated fuel consumption rating of 3.7 L/100 km according to Toyota. The Prius c can also be driven for short distances at speeds under 40 km/h in EV mode, which propels the vehicle along using just electric power.

When it arrives in Canada in early 2012, the Prius c will be available in three trim levels and will offer such features as a 3.5-inch LCD Multi-Information Display, Bluetooth hands-free control, automatic climate control and a six-speaker audio system with USB and Apple iPod connectivity.

On the safety front, the Prius c comes equipped with nine airbags as well as vehicle stability control, electronic brake force distribution, brake assist, traction control, anti-lock brakes and Toyota's Smart Stop Technology.

Toyota plans to release the Prius c to Canadian consumers in March. The subcompact hybrid will be offered at a starting manufacturer's suggested retail price of under $21,000.

©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Hybrid, Toyota, 2012, Prius c, Subcompact,

Organizations: Toyota

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