2018 Toyota Prius c Review

Written by Anqoinette Crosby
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On my way to do a video shoot at The Eaton, DC’s new hipster hotel, I was behind the wheel of Toyota’s subcompact hatchback, the 2018 Prius c. It was apropos since the Eaton is a progressive, millennial-focused hotel catering to environmentally conscious consumers. That’s why I felt right at home driving up to the hotel in the clean, green Prius c. Both the hybrid and hotel are evidently courting the same eco-friendly cool crowd.

 

The Prius, with the lowercase c, is the least expensive and smallest member of the model lineup. That’s why I bypassed the garage and opted for on street parking where I lucked up and found a spot suitable for the pint-sized Prius, but too small for most cars. With the guidance of the helpful backup camera that now comes standard on every trim, parallel parking the Prius was a cinch. 

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Inside, the Toyota’s seats are comfortable enough for short trips, though not so much for the long haul. The c’s interior is also a pretty bare bones atmosphere in which hard plastics abound. However, you don’t buy the Prius c for luxury, you buy it because it’s extremely fuel efficient, environmentally friendly, and makes great economical sense.

 

There’s no mistaking the frugality of the Prius C, it’s a no frills reliable hybrid city hopper. Well suited for those who embrace efficiency, it’s phenomenal EPA-estimated 46 mpg is head and shoulders above most cars on the road. 

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With that said, Toyota's newest hybrid powertrain technology is woefully missing in action from the little c. The ride isn’t necessarily as smooth or quiet as I would have liked. Road noise can get fairly loud at higher speeds. 

 

On the DC Beltway, the front-wheel-drive c seemed to move at a snail’s pace and when hard pressed to accelerate, merge into the flow of traffic and make swift passing maneuvers, the c gets a C-.  But that’s to be expected when the 1.5-liter gasoline inline 4-cylinder with an electric motor that’s paired with a battery pack c is only mustering a total output of 99 horsepower.

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As for safety, you’ll get an abbreviated version of Toyota’s Safety Sense technology that now comes standard on all trims. It’s still a satisfactory list of safety tech which includes lane departure warning, forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking and automatic high beams. 

 

The Prius c comes in four trim levels: One, Two, Three and Four. My tester was painted in Sandstorm, one of two new exterior colors that joined the lineup this year.

The base model features a 6.1-inch touchscreen, automatic climate control, cloth upholstery, a folding rear seat, a single USB port and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player.

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In my tester, the c Three, there was an upgraded infotainment system with navigation, Toyota's Entune smartphone apps suite, HD and satellite radio.

It also included a feature I found extremely convenient--proximity entry with push-button start. A sunroof is optional.

 

I also appreciated the simplicity of the c’s controls-- easy to reach and use. Not surprisingly, the c’s cargo space is pocket-size. I was only able to get a 24 bottle case of water and a medium sized painting in the trunk. Thankfully, the 60/40-split folding rear seat opens up much more space and flexibility.

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