2018 Toyota Prius c Review

Written by Anqoinette Crosby

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. 


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. 


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.


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.


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.