Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Toyota Annouces Prius c Pricing

Toyota's Prius c is priced under $19K.  Photo courtesy Toyota

There is no doubt that hybrids are becoming more mainstream in America each day.  While we here at Car and Writer prefer vehicles with an emphasis on maximum cornering and driving enjoyment, we do recognize that others prefer vehicles with mpg numbers that are well above the nation's current combined average of 27.2 mpg. 

Toyota's Prius has been on the market for over a decade and is the most recognizable hybrid vehicle on the market.  While the previous two generations of the Prius were 4 door sedans, Toyota decided to expand the lineup with a larger wagon and a smaller 5 door hatchback.  The wagon is labeled the v, and the 5 door car will be known as the c

In a public announcement today, Toyota has stated the prices for each trim line of the Prius c.  The base MSRP of the hatchback  hybrid starts at $18,950 which is $595 lower than Honda's hybrid coupe, the CR-Z.  The destination fee is $760.  We believe the Prius c is now one of the lowest priced hybrid offered in the U.S.

The Prius c will be available in 4 different levels of trim, starting from the base of ONE and going to grade FOUR.  Owners looking for a bargain hybrid will be delighted to know that even the base grade ONE Pruis c will have plenty of standard features such as Bluetooth hands free communication, keyless entry, a tilt and telescoping steering wheel, and automatic climate control. Also included in the long list of standard features are iPod connectivity via a USB port, and a 3.5" TFT screen relaying information to the driver. 

Prius c is known as the Aqua in Japan.

The engine is smaller than the other Prius models, with the c being powered by a 1.5 liter 73 hp motor.  The engine is assisted by a 60 hp electric motor with a 144 volt battery giving the Prius c a net total of 99 hp.  Not exactly earth shattering for straight line performance, but drivers will be rewarded with the best mpg of any non-plug in vehicle in the U.S. with a very impressive EPA rated 53 mpg city and 46 mpg highway.  The combined fuel economy is listed as 50 mpg. 
A 1.5 liter engine with electrical assistance provides a net of 99 horsepower and 53 mpg city.

For buyer's concerned with safety, they can relax as the Prius c features 9 air bags, traction and stability control, along with anti-lock brakes and whiplash protection for the driver and front passenger. 

The MSRP (not including destination fees) for the other trims of the Prius c are:

- Grade TWO = $19,900

-Grade THREE = $21,635

-Grade FOUR = $23,230

According to Toyota's press release, the following are the upgrades that correspond with each trim increase:

Grade TWO buyers will receive a 6 speaker audio system, split folding rear seats (60/40), cruise control, intermittent windscreen wipers, a center console armrest and a cover for the cargo area.

Grade THREE provides buyers with a larger 6.1" screen and navigation, 3 month trial subscription to Sirius XM Satellite Radio, Entune services for 3 years, color keyed door handles and touch sensor locks.  Optional equipment for this trim line are 15" alloy wheels and a tilt/sliding moonroof.

The top of the line grade FOUR gives buyers unique 15" alloy wheels, heated front seats, heated power mirrors with integrated turn signal indicators, and fog lights.  Options available are 16" wheels and a tilt/sliding moonroof. 

We commend Toyota for offering a versatile hybrid that is priced well within the means of many buyers.  Due to the prices of gasoline creeping up towards $4 again, there is no doubt fuel economy will continue to steer customers towards vehicles with a high average fuel economy.  The great thing about the Prius c is that it will satiate families on a budget by being a practical vehicle with fuel economy much higher than many of the subcompacts near the Prius' price range.  Perhaps a price war might soon be on the horizon to grab buyers from this key price segment?  What are your thoughts on this newly developed green car?  Would you consider purchasing an eco or green car over a more sporty car with less mpg?  What if the Prius c was offered with a manual transmission?

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