Car Review: The 2012 Prius C is Toyota’s latest Prius edition

All new on the market the 2012 Toyota Prius C is just right for the eco-friendly driver who wants an affordable car.
Photo: Toyota

DALLAS, February 27, 2012 – On a recent trip to Austin, I had the opportunity to try out the all-new 2012 Toyota Prius C. Priced to make even the most eco-budget car buyer happy, the car is also about as eco-friendly as you’ll find, hardly making a footprint in the world of fuel costs these days.

Considered a subcompact hatchback it definitely gets better gas mileage than any of the competition at about 50 miles per gallon. Can you say move over Honda CR-Z.

It rides well too and is considered “sporty” for its type of hybrid and with plenty of room to spare inside as well.

The “C” in the Prius C means “city” and it offers all kinds of extras like a smart key and push button start. There is also an entire line of trims to choose from and even better the battery is placed strategically under the rear seat, the perfect out-of-the-way place.  

The C is the fourth of its kind in the Prius family, including the original Prius, the Plug-in Hybrid, and the Prius V.

Trims are numbered One to Four with the base being the Prius One with 15-inch steel wheels, automatic climate control, power windows, remote keyless entry, a folding rear seat, tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, and all the audio goodies like a Bluetooth phone and audio as well as a four-speaker sound system.

The Two gives you cruise control, a height-adjustable driver’s seat, a center console armrest and split-folding rear seats.

For the Prius C Three, it’s a touchscreen with navigation, keyless ignition/entry, satellite radio, and voice control. In this one you also get Toyota’s Entune smartphone integration system, and alloy wheels can be had as an option as well as a sunroof on the Three and Four.

The Four is top-of-the-line with alloy wheels, heated mirrors, fog lights, faux leather upholstery, and heated front seats. The options on the four are 16-inch wheels and a quicker-ratio steering.

The Toyota Prius C.

Under the hood the 2012 Toyota Prius C has a comparable hybrid powertrain like the bigger Prius. There is a 1.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine with 73 horsepower and 82 pound feet of torque. For an additional 60 horsepower, you get that with the electric motor/generator supply. The electric motor also works to charge the battery during deceleration so the drive comes from the front wheels using a continuously variable transmission.

For safety, it adheres to Toyota standards like stability control, traction control, antilock brakes, hill start assist as well as front-seat side seat cushion, driver knee airbag, and side curtain airbags. There is also what is called a vehicle proximity notification system, which lets folks walking around the car know you are there since the car is so quiet.

There is 17.1 cubic feet of cargo space in the Prius C and softex is used for the interior seats.  Inside, the car is comfortable and easy to drive or ride in with a modern design and gears that are easy to find and manipulate.

The market for this car is definitely young couples and small families and it’s much lighter in weight than the competition too. While the acceleration is a little slow, coming out of the gate it will get you there and it’s a squarely solid ride, certainly worth the dollars spent saving fuel and the environment.

Should You Need to Know: New on the market, the 2012 Toyota Prius C is definitely worth a look.

Miles Per Gallon: This one is roughly 53 miles per gallon in the city and 46 miles per gallon on the highway.

Cost: Depending on the trim you choose prices for the 2012 Toyota Prius C start at $19,000 up to $23,000.

Rita Cook is a writer/editor with has over 1000 articles to her credit in the past 13-plus years. She is a frequent auto and travel contributor on a radio show in Los Angeles called Insider Mag Radio at KPRO 1570 am on from midnight to 12:30 a.m. Monday mornings.  She also contributes travel and auto to the Anthony Duva show, which can be heard live from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. EST every Sunday at  Cook is a member of the Texas Auto Writer’s Association, writes for the Dallas Morning News Green Living Section as well as artist profiles and www.greensourceDFW and spends much of her time on the road traveling or working on books. Her latest book releases are both “Haunted Dallas” and “Haunted Fort Worth” from  You can also follow Cook at Twitter at @ritacook13.

This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

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Rita Cook

Rita Cook is a writer/editor with over 1000 articles to her credit in the past 10-plus years. She is the co-host of a radio show in Los Angeles; Insider Mag Radio at KPRO 1570 am and is on from midnight to 12:30 a.m. Monday mornings.  Cook is a member of the Texas Auto Writer’s Association and also writes an eco-friendly column for the Dallas Morning News.


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