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2015 Toyota Prius C WOW MPG Review By Larry Nutson +VIDEO

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2015 Toyota Prius C

2015 Toyota Prius c Review
By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel

Back in 1995, Toyota’s hybrid car was a development project. And today, 20 years later, over 8 million Toyota hybrid vehicles have been sold around the world.

Toyota offers the choice of hybrid power in a number of its models but the best know is the Prius. The Prius comes only as a hybrid and its distinctive exterior design provides instant recognition. There’s no need to look for a small badge or logo on the Prius. You know right away what is powering it down the road.

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Toyota’s line of Prius vehicles is all about economy. Economy in cost, economy in size and of course economy in fuel consumption. Prii (the plural, pronounced PREE-eye) have sold very well in the days of high gasoline prices. That’s changed a bit recently with the combination of low gasoline prices and a number of lower cost non-hybrid gasoline engine cars on the market that easily get 40 mpg or more.

I spent a week driving a 2015 Prius c. The “c” stands for city. It’s the smallest Prius Toyota offers and also the most affordable. The Prius c is offered in four different models with base prices starting at $19,450 and going up to $24,475.

I drove the top trim Prius c Four priced at $24,475. Options fitted on my media-loaner were 16-inch wheels and 195/50 tires ($300), Security System ($359), Carpet Floor and trunk mats ($225) and a special color, Tangerine Orange ($395). With $825 for delivery the total hit $26,579.

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Basic facts on the Prius c is that it’s front wheel drive, has seating for five, rides on a 100.4 inch wheelbase and is 157.3 inches long. The hybrid drive train produces 99 net system horsepower and will accelerate the car from stop to 60 mph in 11.5 seconds. Not a rocket, but it gets you there.


The 2500 pound Prius c has 17.1 cuft of space for cargo. EPA-test estimated fuel economy rating is 50 mpg combined, or 2.0 gallons per 100 miles, with 53 city mpg and 46 highway mpg. The Prius c offers the highest city MPG of any vehicle on the road today (MPGe vehicles not included). There’s a 9.5 gallon gas tank which theoretically can get you over 500 miles between fill-ups.

My overall average after about 200 miles of driving, mostly in city traffic but with some highway trips, was 53 mpg. I did one 30 mile city-only trip and got 63 mpg. Most of the time my driving is rather spirited and I don’t attempt to hypermile. That 63mpg city drive was at 25-30 mph max. with lots of stop signs and traffic lights. So, as we can see both from my driving experience and also the EPA city rating the Prius hybrid really pays off in lower speed city-type driving.

The Prius c’s relatively short 157.3inch overall length makes it very city friendly when it comes to maneuvering and parking. For comparison, the larger and higher priced Prius liftback model is around 19 inches longer at 176.4 inches.

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Overall I thought the Prius c lived up to its intended city-use task fairly well. Handling and maneuvering were comfortable and quite easy. Ingress and egress caused me no concern and outward sight lines are good. There’s a back-up camera that helps a bunch in parking. I didn’t love the steering wheel angle. With the seat in my desired driving position the top of the wheel is tilted too far away.

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I did find the ride a bit harsh, to a point that I thought the tires were overinflated. I got out my trusty tire inflation pressure gauge and checked all the tires and that turned out to not be the case. The Prius I drove was equipped with the optional 195/50R16 tires. I chalk up some of the harshness to these tires with their low profile. It might be best to stick with the standard 175/65R15 tires for a less harsh ride and probably slightly better fuel economy due to lower rolling resistance.

Another remark, and somewhat funny at that, is the exterior special color Tangerine Orange that I mentioned did cause folks to take prolonged looks. One pedestrian saw me approaching from a distance and tried to flag my down thinking I was a taxi.

Toyota upgraded the 2015 Prius c with new standard single LED projector low and high-beam headlights and LED tail and stoplights. There are new exterior colors like Electric Lime Metallic, Tangerine Splash Pearl and Sparkling Sea Metallic. The cabin materials have been upgraded along with available piano black and chrome interior trim, and an additional two-tone fabric option, along with Entune Audio. Additionally, the Prius c Four now comes with a standard power tilt/slide moonroof and integrated backup camera.

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Complete details and specifications on the entire Prius c model line can be found at You can also check out the larger Prius Liftback and Prius v models. Comparing the Prius to other hybrids or compacts can be done right here using the Toyota Research and Buyers Guide.

Coincident to my drive in the Prius c, Toyota just unveiled the all-new 2016 Prius liftback that has a striking new exterior design. The entire platform is new and there’s a new rear double wishbone suspension that should improve driving dynamics. Toyota says fuel economy will be improved by ten percent and it will get the highest MPG without a plug. Safety is being stepped up with automated pre-collision braking, now in discussion to become standard on all cars in the near future.

There’s fierce competition today in the hybrid segment compared to when the first Prius hit the U.S. shores in 2000. Gas prices are low and many new vehicle buyers are thinking less about the cost of fueling. However, we expect gasoline prices to rise again so be prudent in your choice of a new vehicle and think into the future.

The Most In-Depth Toyota Vehicle Shopper's Research - Anywhere!

2015 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy