Toyota gave its Prius c—the smallest of the brand’s eight hybrid models—a major styling and interior upgrade for 2015; for 2016 the big enhancement is the available Toyota Safety Sense C (TSS-C), which equips the car with an array of driver-assist technologies: Pre-Collision System, Lane Departure Assist, and Automatic High Beams.
In adapting Toyota’s hybrid technology to the Prius c platform, each of the system’s major components benefitted from a design focus to reduce weight and size while improving efficiency. Toyota’s hybrid technology integrates a gasoline engine, an electric motor within a Continuously Variable Transaxle, a nickel-metal hydride battery, a power control unit (inverter), a DC-DC converter, a step-up converter and a hybrid control computer.
The Prius c’s SULEV (Tier 2 Bin 3)-rated 1.5-liter inline four-cylinder gasoline engine utilizes an Atkinson cycle to increase efficiency. The engine produces 73 horsepower and 82 lb-ft (111 N·m) of torque, contributing to a total hybrid system output of 99 hp. Prius c offers three distinct drive modes: Normal, ECO, and EV Mode.
ECO reduces overall energy consumption by governing climate control and throttle operation to improve vehicle efficiency. Under certain conditions EV Mode allows the Prius c to be driven solely by electric power for under one mile while remaining below 25 mph (40 km/h).
The Prius c’s body structure makes extensive use of lightweight, high-strength steel to help reduce vehicle mass and enhance fuel economy. The strategic use of high-tensile-strength steel contributes to the vehicle’s ability to absorb and disperse impact energies, helping enhance occupant safety. The high level of torsional rigidity afforded by the Prius c body structure allows the suspension to be more optimally tuned for ride and handling.
In addition to TSS-C, the Prius c is equipped with nine airbags strategically located to help protect the driver and passengers in the event of severe collisions. Like all 2016 Toyota models, the Prius c is equipped with the standard Star Safety System, which includes Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC), Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA), and Smart Stop technologies.
Toyota is also giving the Prius c an infusion of playfulness for 2016 with the Persona Series Special Edition. This distinctive model goes on sale in December and is limited to just 1,500 units. The Persona Series Special Edition comes exclusively in Black, with a choice of two unique color accents: Electric Lime and Cherry Pearl.
The Prius c is offered in four numbered grades, and the Special Edition is built on the Two. That means it’s equipped with extras including fabric-trimmed two-tone seats; 6-way adjustable driver’s seat; 60/40 split fold-down rear seats; cruise control, a cargo area cover and engine immobilizer.
The well equipped Prius c One comes standard with color-keyed power outside mirrors with turn signal indicators; tilt/telescopic steering wheel with steering wheel controls; air conditioning; remote keyless entry system with illuminated entry; power windows and more. The standard 3.5-in. TFT Multi-Information Display provides the driver with outside temperature display, clock, fuel economy information, cruising range, odometer, trip distance, EV miles driven, Hybrid System Indicator, ECO Savings, ECO Score and energy monitor.
Standard Entune Audio includes the Entune Multimedia Bundle with a 6.1-in. touch-screen display; AM/FM CD player (with MP3/WMA playback capability); four speakers; auxiliary audio jack; USB 2.0 port with iPod connectivity and control; advanced voice recognition and Bluetooth for hands-free phone capability, phone book access, music streaming, and Siri Eyes Free.
Prius c Two brings a comprehensive upgrade with fabric-trimmed two-tone seats; six-way adjustable driver’s seat; 60/40 split fold-down rear seats; cruise control, a cargo area cover and engine immobilizer.
Prius c Three layers on the technology with the Smart Key System on the front doors and liftgate, plus with Push Button Start and remote illuminated entry; Touch Tracer Display and Entune Premium Audio with Integrated Navigation and App Suite. This Entune system includes everything on the standard setup and adds six speakers; the Entune App Suite; HD radio; HD predictive traffic and Doppler weather overlay; AM/FM cache radio; SiriusXM All Access Radio with three-month complimentary trial and Gracenote album cover art.
The Prius c Four adds integrated LED fog lights and 15-in. eight-spoke alloy wheels with P175/65R15 tires. The Four also steps up the comfort and convenience with a power tilt/slide moonroof with sliding sunshade; integrated backup camera; SofTex-trimmed seats, plus heated front seats, steering wheel and outside mirrors.
Toyota’s 36-month/36,000 mile basic new-vehicle warranty applies to all components other than normal wear and maintenance items. Additional 60-month warranties cover the powertrain for 60,000 miles and against corrosion with no mileage limitation. The hybrid-related components, including the HV battery, battery control module, hybrid control module and inverter with converter, are covered for eight years/100,000 miles.
The Prius c also comes standard with Toyota Care, a complimentary plan covering normal factory-scheduled maintenance and 24-hour roadside assistance for two years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first.