Babies are expected to grow. In life, that is. But, in the car world, babies are spawned, birthed with fanfare at auto shows and press events, and designed to stay small forever. There’s only one thing the parents hope will be big—and that’s sales. The newest member of the “Prii” Family is the 2012 Toyota Prius c. The all-new 5-seater, subcompact ‘baby’ in this popular hybrid car line has a mission: to bring new buyers into the family fold by attracting them to its starting price of $18,950; an EPA-estimated city fuel economy of 53 mpg; hatchback utility in a diminutive, urban-friendly package; and the full-sized assemblage of comfort, convenience and advanced technology features.
Smaller and lighter than the third-generation Prius Liftback, the “c” shares the same platform as the Toyota Yaris and uses Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive for propulsion. It brings new features such as a Display Audio System that can be linked to the Entune multimedia system; a full-color Multi-Information Display; and new driver feedback that includes ECO Score and ECO Savings. The “c” also packs other Prius Family technologies such as Touch Tracer, streaming Bluetooth, and USB connectivity, as well as Smart Key and Push-Button Start.
It comes in four trims levels with numerical designations: One, Two (starts at $19,900), Three (starts at $21, 635) and Four (base MSRP of $23, 230), plus a $760 destination charge. Toyota says its newest model offers the highest city mpg of any vehicle without a plug; the 2012 Prius c goes on sale in March and, in case you’re wondering, “c” stands for city.