The Prius c started its life in 2012 as a smaller and more affordable version of the hotly successful Prius liftback. Through 2014, the model remained relatively unchanged and failed to really shake up the hybrid segment. Now as we approach 2015, the Prius c has undergone a nice refresh that makes it stand out from its larger brothers with its sportier and more youthful appearance. Oh, and it gets 50 mpg combined, which sweetens the deal a little.

Though it’s just a refresh the 2015 Prius c looks like a whole new car; that’s just how far Toyota took this upgrade. Sure, from the side it looks like the 2014 model, but the wide-open front grille and the “light pipe” taillights inject a little youth into the lineup.

So, is this redesign enough to help push the Prius c to the next level?

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Toyota Prius c and find out.

  • 2015 Toyota Prius c
  • Year:
    2015
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-4
  • Transmission:
    e-CVT
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    99
  • MPG(Cty):
    53
  • MPG(Hwy):
    46
  • Torque @ RPM:
    82
  • Displacement:
    1.5 L
  • 0-60 time:
    11.5 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    105 mph
  • Price:
    19540
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • car fuel:
  • body style:

Exterior

2015 Toyota Prius c High Resolution Exterior
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2015 Toyota Prius c High Resolution Exterior
- image 578638
2015 Toyota Prius c High Resolution Exterior
- image 578633
Around back, however, Toyota has added in a nice touch with the new “light pipe” taillights that make it look more futuristic than last year’s model.

For the 2015 model year, the Prius c gets a refreshed look that is far sportier than any of its predecessors. The basic shape of the Prius still very much a part of the 2015 model, but the nose is more aggressive looking, thanks to a revised grille that is wider, more angular and features a gloss-black crossbar. The fog lights also get a nice upgrade, as they are now recessed deeper into the front apron, giving them the appearance of air intakes.

Down the sides of the Prius c things are pretty much standard ware, as it looks almost unchanged from the 2014 model year. In fact, “almost” is too generous; it is totally unchanged. Around back, however, Toyota has added in a nice touch with the new “light pipe” taillights that make it look more futuristic than last year’s model.

When it comes to color options, it is clear who this car is marketed to. With hues like Electric Lime Metallic, Tangerine Splash Pearl and Sparkling Sea Metallic on the options list, this is certainly not aimed at the “typical” Prius driver. It is aimed at the younger generation that is quickly becoming more in touch being friendlier to the environment. There are other, more traditional colors, like Sun Fusion, Moonglow, Blue Streak Metallic, Absolutely Red, Black Sand Pearl, Magnetic Gray Metallic or Classic Silver Metallic.

Standard exterior equipment on the Prius c includes 15-inch steel rollers shod in low-rolling resistance tires, LED projector low- and high-beam headlights, LED taillights, a shark fin antenna, remote keyless entry, and color-keyed power outside mirrors with integrated repeaters. Moving up to the Two and Three trim levels add nearly nothing to the exterior of the Prius, save for optional wheels on the Three, but the Four adds in 15-inch, eight-spoke alloy wheels and heated mirrors. Also optional on the Four is a set of 16-inch alloy wheels.

Overall, the changes to the exterior of the 2015 Prius c are subtle, but enough to separate the smaller and hipper model from its more mature full-size brethren, which should bode well for marketing it to younger buyers.

Side-by-side comparison

2015 Toyota Prius c Exterior
- image 578639

EXTERIOR DIMENSIONS

Overall Length 157.3 in.
Overall Width 66.7 in.
Overall Height 56.9 in.
Wheelbase 100.4 in.
Tread Width (Front/Rear) 58.3/58.1 in. (15-inch tires) / 57.5/57.1 in. (16-inch tires)
Front Overhang 31.9 in.
Rear Overhang 25.0 in
Ground Clearance 5.5 in.
Coefficient of Drag 0.28
Curb Weight 2,500 LBS

Interior

2015 Toyota Prius c High Resolution Interior
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2015 Toyota Prius c Interior
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2015 Toyota Prius c Interior
- image 578631
In fact, the entire cabin carries over without many changes at all, save for minor tweaks to reduce noise, vibration and harshness levels.

The Prius’ cabin has never been a place of opulence and luxury. Rather, it has been more of a place of minimalism and creativity. Small cubbies line the cabin, giving youngsters places to stash their iPhones, iPods, tablets, smartphones, gaming systems, cameras, and so on without fearing they will slide into the no-man’s land between the seat and center console.

The highlights of the cabin are the gauge cluster in the center of the dashboard and the circular air vents. Despite those being the highlights, they are all carryover from the 2014 model year. In fact, the entire cabin carries over without many changes at all, save for minor tweaks to reduce noise, vibration and harshness levels.

In terms of roominess, the Prius c is rather deceptive, as it really has decent room for most young families. It has a total of 104.5 cubic feet of room that is divided up into 87.4 cubes for five passengers and 17.1 cubes in the hatch for all your cargo. The front-seat passengers get plenty of space, thanks to 41.7 inches of legroom, but the rear seats are tuned more for young children and pre-teens with just 35 inches of legroom.

Amenities within the 2015 Prius c are actually plentiful for its class, as the Prius c One comes standard with auto climate control, a full-color TFT Multi-Information Display, a tilt and telescoping wheel with audio controls and Bluetooth phone connectivity. Moving into the Two trim adds in goodies like a height-adjustable driver seat, a 60/40-split rear seat for added cargo, cruise, a six-speaker audio system, a cargo area cover and light, and a two-tone fabric option. Bumping up to the Three trim level tosses in Entune premium audio with navi, a 6.1-inch, high-res screen with a split-screen display and SiriusXM. The fully loaded Prius c Four tosses in SofTex (faux leather) seating and steering wheel, heated front seats, am integrated back-up camera, and a standard moonroof.

Though the interior of the Prius c is not overly complex, it is well-tuned for the buyers who will be interested in this model. A Mercedes buyer may scoff at the cheap plastics and funky ergonomics, but for young buyers looking for a thrifty car on a budget, it will fit them nicely.

INTERIOR DIMENSIONS

Seating Capacity 5
Headroom (Front/Rear) 38.6/37.0 in./ 37.9/36.4 in. (W/ Moonroof)
Legroom (Front/Rear) 41.7/35.0 in.
Shoulder Room (Front/Rear) 52.3/51.7 in.
Hip Room (Front/Rear) 51.0/50.8 in.
EPA Passenger Volume 87.4 cu. ft.
EPA Cargo Volume (cu. ft.) 17.1 cu. ft.

Drivetrain

2015 Toyota Prius c High Resolution Exterior
- image 578628
The hybrid drive system mates to an electronically controlled continuously variable transmission that delivers power to the front wheels.

Making this little hatchback do its mpg dance is a tiny, 1.5-liter, four-cylinder, Atkinson-cycle engine that produces just 73 horsepower and 82 pound-feet of twist. This petrol burner combines with a permanent magnet AC synchronous electric motor that produces 60 horsepower and 125 pound-feet of torque. Now before you start adding up those numbers directly and come up with thoughts of this being a hot-hatch, I must remind you that those numbers do not directly add to one another. The combined output of the hybrid system sits just south of three digits at 99 horsepower.

The hybrid drive system mates to an electronically controlled continuously variable transmission that delivers power to the front wheels. All told, the Prius c isn’t fast by any means, but it is acceptable for its class with a top speed of 105 mph and a 0-to-60-mph sprint time of 11.5 seconds. Sure, that may be agonizing to a Fiesta ST driver, but at 53 mpg city, 46 mpg city and 50 mpg combined, you’ll pass that ST driver at the next gas station.

What’s more, should you find yourself circling a parking lot trying to find a parking space or just cruising down a slow-moving road, you can switch the Prius c into EV mode and get one mile of fuel-less travel at speeds of under 25 mph. On top of the EV mode, the Prius c has an Eco mode Normal mode. The Eco mode trims back A/C power and eases throttle response to squeeze the life from each gallon of gasoline.

DRIVETRAIN SPECIFICATIONS

Type 1.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine
Output 73 HP
Peak torque 82 LB-FT
Electric motor 60 HP
Total output 99 HP
Battery pack 144-volt nickel-metal
Fuel economy 53 mpg city / 46 mpg highway / 50 mpg combined
Acceleration (0-60 MPH) 11.5 SEc.
Tops Speed 105 MPH

Prices

2015 Toyota Prius c High Resolution Exterior
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The Prius c may be a little smallish and a little sluggish, but in terms of pricing it’s really not all that bad for a hybrid. The lineup kicks off with the One trim level, which bases at $19,540. From there the price shoots up to $20,340 for the Two, $21,765 for the Three and $24,475 for the Four. Now before you go all spastic on me about calling a $19k for an entry-level, compact hatchback “not all that bad,” compare the standard features of the One to the el cheapo hatches of today, then consider the hybrid system. There is really no comparison.

For reference, the Fit LX CVT runs $17,270 and gets 36 mpg combined. Per the EPA’s estimations and my chicken-scratch math, you should recoup the cost difference between the Fit LX CVT and the Prius c One within 10 years, plus the Prius c has more premium standard features that the Fit LX.

Pricing Details

Model MSRP
Prius One $19,540
Prius Two $20,340
Prius Three $21,765
Prius Four $24,475

Competition

Honda Insight

2014 Honda Insight High Resolution Exterior
- image 542856

The Honda Insight is a dead car driving, as Honda signed its death certificate on July 30, 2014. However, it is still available in limited quantities on dealer lots and is a Prius c fighter.

Under the hood of the Insight is a 1.3-liter, four-cylinder engine and an electric motor that tag-team to produce 98 horses and 123 pound-feet of the twisting stuff. This all goes through a whiny CVT on its way to the front wheels to get the hybrid to highway speeds in 10.8 seconds. The sprint time is not too bad next to the Prius c, but its 42 mpg combined puts it down into the upper range of standard gasoline-powered hatchbacks.

All the Insight has going for it is a nicer-looking cabin and a slightly lower base price.

Mitsubishi i-MiEV

2014 Mitsubishi i-MiEV High Resolution Exterior
- image 534852

Yes, I know, this is an EV and the Prius c is a hybrid, but there are not many small hybrid hatchbacks to battle the tiny Toyota. So, the i-MiEV it is.

Powered by a 49-kW electric motor that is fueled by a 16-kWh lithium-ion battery, the iMiEV is God-awful slow to 60 mph (15 seconds). Additionally, it can only travel 62 miles on a charge and takes up to 22 hours to recharge on a standard 110-volt source, but that drops to eight hours with the optional Level 2 charger. That said, it is rated at 126 mpg-e, so it certainly trumps the Prius’ mpg.

On top of being slow and requiring a 22-hour tether to a 110-volt tap, the i-MiEV is one of the ugliest things to roam the open roads. It looks like a modified golf cart and I am willing to guess that it feels similar to one on the inside. But some people may like the quirky look, so who am I to judge?

The saving grace for the Mitsu is its super-low base price (for an EV) of just $22,995 before any tax credits.

Conclusion

2015 Toyota Prius c High Resolution Exterior
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Though the Prius c seems like a compromise to keep things cheap, it is more than just that. Yes, it is cheaper so people on lower budgets can enjoy 50 mpg, but it also has the looks and features that appease a younger crowd. Getting younger buyers into these high-tech hybrids is a huge leap in reducing our dependency on dead-dino juice, and the revised Prius c does just that. My hat goes off to Toyota for taking a risk and making a sportier-looking Prius, now let’s just hope that buyers take notice and see the value in it.

  • Leave it
    • * Kind of slow
    • * About a decade to recoup costs compared to some traditional hatchbacks
    • * A little cramped in the rear seats

Press Release

Toyota’s most affordable hybrid vehicle is also its most fuel efficient. The Prius c with EPA-estimated 53 MPG city / 46 MPG highway / 50 MPG combined, offers the highest MPG of any vehicle on the road today (MPGe vehicles not included).

2015 Toyota Prius c High Resolution Exterior
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There’s much more to the Prius c than super-high fuel economy. A restyled front with standard single LED projector low- and high-beam headlights, new exterior colors whose names demand almost as much attention as their hues (Electric Lime Metallic, Tangerine Splash Pearl and Sparkling Sea Metallic), and new “light pipe” taillights add a futuristic touch to the design. Add to that a cabin upgraded with premium materials, and Prius c makes a compelling choice among compact cars, hybrid or not.

For years, the iconic Prius liftback has been synonymous with “hybrid.” Today, the Prius is available in four different flavors. The Prius Family includes the larger standard Prius liftback, the even larger and roomier Prius v and the Prius Plug-in Hybrid that can handle daily driving for many people without using gasoline. In addition, Toyota offers hybrid versions of its Camry and Avalon sedans and Highlander SUV, making Toyota the clear leader in the number of hybrid vehicle offerings and sales volume.

2015 Toyota Prius c High Resolution Exterior
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Toyota Value in Four Grades
Prius c is available in four value-packed grades. In all trim levels the cabin combines futuristic design elements with everyday comfort and practicality.

In addition to the all-new single LED projector low- and high-beam headlights, standard features in the Prius c One include a sharp shark-fin antenna, automatic climate control, a full color TFT Multi-Information Display and remote keyless entry with illuminated entry. The tilt-telescopic steering wheel features integrated switches for audio, climate control and Bluetooth® hands-free phone capability. The standard 3.5-inch TFT color Multi-Information Display shows outside temperature, fuel economy information, cruising range, EV miles driven, Hybrid System Indicator, ECO Score and energy monitor.

The Entune Multimedia Bundle features a 6.1-inch touch-screen display, AM/FM CD player with four speakers, a USB 2.0 port with iPod connectivity, voice recognition, Bluetooth hands-free phone capability and music streaming and an auxiliary audio jack.

The Prius c Two sweetens the package with a piano black front grille, piano black and chrome interior accent upgrades, a height-adjustable driver’s seat, 60/40 split fold-down rear seats, cruise control, 6-speaker audio system upgrade, cargo area cover and light and more. In addition, an all-new two-tone fabric seat option featuring a Dark Blue Gray/Dark Charcoal color is now available on the Prius c Two and Three models.

2015 Toyota Prius c High Resolution Exterior
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Stepping up to the Prius c Three adds the Entune Premium Audio with Navigation and App Suite. The system is equipped with the Entune Multimedia Bundle with a 6.1-inch high resolution touchscreen with split screen display and also includes six speakers, SiriusXM™ All Access Radio with 3-month complimentary trial, and HD Radio™.

The Toyota Entune App Suite is a collection of popular mobile applications and subscription-free data services. Once a smartphone is paired to the vehicle using Bluetooth or a USB cable, Entune apps are operated using the vehicle’s controls or, for some services, by voice recognition. Entune offers apps for Bing™, Facebook Places, iHeartRadio, MovieTickets.com, OpenTable®, Pandora®, and Yelp™. Real-time data services include traffic, weather, fuel prices, sports and stocks.

The Prius c Three also adds the convenience of Smart Key with Push Button Start. And, it gets a feature from the larger Prius line, the Touch Tracer Display. Touch sensors on the steering wheel switches display a duplicate image on the instrument panel, directly in line of sight, reducing driver eye movement for better concentration on the road. Prius c Three also offers optional 15-inch 8-spoke alloy wheels that can be packaged with a power tilt/slide moonroof.

2015 Toyota Prius c High Resolution Exterior
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The Prius c Four adds the luxury of SofTex® trimmed seats and steering wheel, heated front seats, an all-new integrated backup camera and a standard moonroof. Prius c Four also continues to offer 16-inch alloy wheels.

The “c” Stands for City. But It Makes Sense Out in the Country, Too.
Toyota designed the Prius c as an urban-friendly runabout, and yes, the “c” stands for city. However, you certainly don’t need to live in a city to reap the benefits of ownership. That 46-MPG highway fuel economy rating is a boon in America’s wide-open spaces, where gas stations are few and far between.

The Prius c is sized like a subcompact outside but has the room of a bona fide compact inside. (It is classified as a compact by the EPA.) Efficient packaging of the hybrid powertrain, battery pack and fuel tank results in 104.5 cu. ft. of total interior volume (87.4 cu. ft. passenger volume, 17.1 cu. ft. cargo volume). Thirty-five inches of rear legroom puts it near the top of the class. The efficient packaging also gives the Prius c a low center of gravity and excellent weight distribution, which translates to fun-to-drive agility. And with NVH improvements for the 2015 model year, the drive experience is even better than before.

2015 Toyota Prius c High Resolution Exterior
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Youthful Exterior and Interior Design
The Prius c design projects a fun, youthful attitude that appeals to all ages. It’s also slippery, cheating the wind with a low 0.28 coefficient of drag (Cd). Its lower-body area is wider below the beltline, and combined with very short overhangs and sculpted rear flares, it gives the car an athletic stance.

A wide-ranging color palette provides hues to satisfy every taste. In addition to the aforementioned new colors, the Prius c looks light and lively in Sun Fusion, Moonglow, Blue Streak Metallic, Absolutely Red, Black Sand Pearl, Magnetic Gray Metallic or Classic Silver Metallic.

What Makes It Go (on So Little Gas)
The Prius c uses its own version of Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive, the technology found in all the brand’s hybrids. The gas engine, electric motor and battery pack are all smaller and lighter than in the standard Prius.

The SULEV (Tier 2 Bin 3)-certified 1.5-liter in-line, 4-cylinder gasoline engine runs on the Atkinson cycle to increase efficiency. It produces 73 horsepower and 82 lb.-ft. of torque, contributing to a total hybrid system output of 99 hp. Locating the Prius c’s 144-volt nickel-metal hydride battery pack under the rear passenger seat, near the center of the vehicle and low in the chassis, helps achieve a low center of gravity for excellent agility.

Like all Toyota hybrids, the Prius c is a full hybrid, meaning it can run on the gasoline engine alone, battery alone, or a combination of both. Hybrid Synergy Drive combines the output of the gas engine and electric motor through an innovative planetary-type continuously variable transmission.

2015 Toyota Prius c High Resolution Exterior
- image 578637

As on other Toyota hybrids, the Prius c employs a slew of other technologies to curb its fuel usage. Regenerative braking helps to recapture electrical energy under deceleration, sending it to the battery, which helps to reduce fuel consumption. Electric power runs the water pump and power steering assist, eliminating drive belts and even some maintenance needs.

One of the three drive modes, EV Mode can let you drive the Prius c solely on electric power for under one mile while remaining below 25 mph. Where would you do that? Maybe when you think circling city blocks while looking for a parking space would be wasting gas.

There’s also Normal Mode, which is ideal for everyday driving, and Eco Mode, which can help optimize fuel economy when you’re willing to give up some throttle response and don’t need the air conditioner to be ice cold.

Light, Tight and Agile
A stiff body structure, made so by extensive use of lightweight, high-strength steel, helps make the Prius c safe, and also allows suspension tuning that yields an admirable combination of handling responses and ride comfort. Front suspension is a MacPherson strut design, and the rear tuned torsion beam configuration employs coil springs.

The Prius c rolls on 15-inch wheels, available in steel or aluminum alloy, depending on the trim line. The steel wheels come with a newly designed cover for the 2015 model year. A 31.4-ft. turning circle means you might forget how to make K-turns, because you won’t need to. On the top trim line, Prius c Four, 16-inch alloy wheels and quicker steering (2.28 turns lock to lock) ratchet up driving enjoyment.

2015 Toyota Prius c High Resolution Exterior
- image 578638

Big on Safety
The Prius c is equipped with nine airbags, including a driver and front passenger Advanced Airbag System, driver and front passenger seat-mounted side airbags, driver knee airbag, driver and front passenger seat cushion airbags, and front and rear side curtain airbags.

Like all 2015 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.

Limited Warranty and Toyota Care
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.

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