Toyota Prius c – Smaller Prius gives more for your Ringgit

POSTED BY CBT Team ON 12 March 2012

WITH fuel security concerns and the need to preserve mother nature, hybrid cars are the way to go. However, affordability of these vehicles has been an issue that haunts those who are interested in owning one.

This might be why excellent hybrid vehicles like the Prius (the first hybrid car in Malaysia) and the Lexus CT200h are still not the best selling cars in Malaysia.

Realising this, one of Toyota’s rivals introduced a model which was the cheapest hybrid car in the market. This model gained popularity in no time.

Having the reputation for being the benchmark in terms of hybrid cars in Malaysia, Toyota responded with the introduction of the Prius c, in a bid to silence its competitor.

The c, which is basically a compact version of the Prius which runs on the same engine as the second generation engine, is currently the cheapest hybrid car in Malaysia.

After using it for a couple of days, we have to admit that we were impressed with what it has to offer.

In terms of exterior design, the c has a very strong resemblance of the Yaris. After all, it was built on the same platform as the latter. After having a closer look, we also noticed that the front fascia has similarities with the Lexus LF-A.

Our favourite exterior feature is the huge, rear combination lamps. The LED stop lamps are so bright that it can be spotted from a kilometre away. It does not only look good, but ensures more safety, and wards off tailgaters too.

Despite having no fancy features outside, the c has enough character lines and attributes to make it look attractive. As a bonus, the unit which we reviewed came in bright and vibrant citrus orange mica metallic, adding more character to the car.

Inside, the c wins big in three areas – comfort, space and user friendliness.

At first glance, the futuristic dashboard looked complicated. After fiddling around for a few minutes, we realised that the functions are pretty basic. The centre console consists of only the multi-information display, audio system and air cond controls.

The 3.5-inch full colour multi-information display shows the vehicle’s operation status and drive information. This includes the energy monitor, vehicle’s operation status, five-minute consumption, past record, and even a real-time eco score display when starting and idling.

Thus we were fully aware of what was happening with the car and fuel consumption at all times. Although there is so much information to see, it could be chosen by a simple press of the “Disp” button on the steering wheel.

Audio system comes with Bluetooth, MP3 and USB connectivity, topped by decent sound quality.

Space wise, four six-footers can sit comfortably in the c. Seats are very comfortable too, providing good support to passengers. Maximum luggage space stands at 260 litres.

In terms of driving, the c was very agile, proving itself to be a perfect car to be driven in cities. In fact, its responsiveness took us by surprise. It was so light and nimble that a U-turn could be made while holding the steering wheel with only one hand.

Power delivery was decent, thanks to the additional low-end torque supplied by the motor. Be it an uphill drive, highway cruising or during overtaking, there was always enough power.

With three modes to choose from (Normal, Eco and EV), we could optimise fuel consumption, throttle response and energy usage. While Normal mode gave a good balance between power and eco-efficiency, Eco mode saved the most fuel while EV mode only used the electric motor, ensuring a silent, emission-free drive.

Over the three days when we were reviewing the car, we got an average fuel consumption of 22km per litre, which is twice as good as any traditional petrol burner.

Overall, the c is a marvellous car for its price tag. It is not only ideal for a city car, but makes a good car for long distance travel too. Although it is the cheapest hybrid car in the market, it doesn’t lack much compared with its rivals.

Looking at its price tag of RM97,000, it is now Toyota’s turn to make its competitors run for their money.

Those looking for a daily transporter that is fuel efficient and fun to drive should definitely give the Prius c a try.

Specifications of the Toyota Prius c

Engine: 4-cylinder, 16-valve, DOHC with VVT-i

Displacement: 1,497 cc

Transmission: Electronically controlled continuously variable transmission (E-CVT)

Max power (engine): 71hp at 4,800rpm

Max torque (engine): 111Nm at 4,000rpm

Max power (motor) output: 59 hp

Motor torque (motor): 19.3Nm

Battery: Nickel-metal hydride (NiMH)

Safety: ABS, EBD, BA, ISOFIX, vehicle stability control (VSC), reverse sensor.

Price: RM97,000 OTR


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