The Prius C is Toyota’s smallest hybrid car. Since its debut, the model has never really adopted a stable identity as the automaker keeps modifying it as if searching for its true character. Last year, Toyota hooked up the model with a spirited lower body kit while this time around; the upcoming model has gained an SUV-like exterior stance. Buyers of the model are after its high fuel economy ratings; otherwise, the model is pretty disappointing when cruising on highways with its meager 99 hp power output. Except for a few visual upgrades, the new 2018 Toyota Prius C is almost unchanged from the outgoing version.
2018 Toyota Prius C Exterior
As said earlier, the new 2018 Prius C has been hooked up with an SUV-like exterior stance. The front fascia has most of the new updates. First, the model features modified headlights as well as a redesigned engine hood. The front fascia also has extensive silver accents, a treatment also extended to the rear fascia.
On the sides, the Prius C features new black wheel arches as well as new skid plates that give the model an aggressive look common with crossovers and SUVs. It also rides on new 8-spoke, 15-inch alloy wheels that also feature dark grey accenting. The model also features a long roof spoiler as well as two vertical taillights that flank the hatch on either side. Other new upgrades for the new model include blackened side rockers, roof rails and side rockers.
Overall, the model doesn’t look like a conventional hybrid; its front and rear fascias, as well as the revised side profile, make the car look more of a small crossover SUV as opposed to the mini-hybrid hatchback it is.
The interior also has minor upgrades. The multi-information display mounted at the center of the dash carries over unchanged. However, the Prius drive selector has been done away with, it has been replaced by a conservati9ve chromed shift lever.
The dashboard is however wrapped with cheap plastics that make the cabin look rather contemptible compared to other models in the segment such as the Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid which has an intuitive dashboard. The craftsmanship is also pretty disappointing; although the model is an econobox, Toyota should have done more to make the cabin more upscale.
However, Toyota impresses on the safety front as the model is equipped with several active-safety features such automatic high-beams, lane-departure warning as well as forward collision warning that is supported by automatic emergency braking. There is also a backup camera which is offered as standard.
Engine and performance
We have been expecting Toyota to surprise us with a new drive-train for the Prius C but yet again, the model soldiers on with the same engine it has had for the last 7 years. It is a 1.8 L, inline-4 that produces 73 hp; it is paired with an electric motor that produces 60 hp. They combine to deliver 99 hp which is pretty deplorable in this age where we have models churning out around 1,500 horses. I think Toyota really needs to consider hooking up the Prius C with a more powerful drive-train or tune the current mill to offer more power. The electric motor is supported by a small (0.9 kWh) battery pack that is hidden under the rear seat close to the gas tank. This leaves plenty of space for cargo.
With this kind of output, the 2018 Toyota Prius C is miles away from being a sporty hatch. The model takes 10.9 seconds to make it to 60 mph from standstill making it a lot less fun to drive, particular on highways. However, buyers of the Prius C are usually after fuel economy as opposed to performance; on this front, the Prius C does not disappoint. EPA ratings are not yet out but I believe the new model will maintain the 2017 version ratings i.e. 48 mpg in the city and 43 mpg on highways.
Price and release date
The base “One” trim of the 2018 Toyota Prius C has an MSRP of $22,315, a price increase of only $480. The Prius C Two goes for $22,315 and $23,740 for the Prius C Three. The Top trim i.e. Prius C Four goes for $25,850.