The Toyota Prius c, which debuted at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, might be the biggest bang-for-your-buck hybrid out there-Toyota Motor Company said that it will have a list price starting at less than $19,000 and a driving fuel economy rating of 53 mpg.
No other hybrid vehicle (ones that can't be plugged in at least) has such a low price and such a high fuel rating, although the latter applies to city driving. The highway fuel economy rating is 46 mpg, which gives the plug-in a combined rating of 50 mpg.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Toyota executives said the Prius c completes their vision for creating a family of hybrid vehicles under the Prius name. It joins the standard third-generation Prius five-door hatchback, the Prius v station wagon and the Prius Plug-in Hybrid that can drive about 15 miles just on electric battery power before the gas engine kicks in, all set to release early this year. The Prius c itself will release in March 2012, according to reports.
In comparison to the standard Prius, the Prius c has it beat in important categories, which include:
Miles per gallon - Standard Prius: 51 city, 48 highway, 50 combined; Prius c: 53 city, 46 highway, 50 combined
Length - Standard Prius: 176.4 inches; Prius c: 157.3 inches, about 19 inches less than that of the standard Prius.
Weight - Standard Prius: 3,042 pounds; Prius c: 2,500 pounds
Price - Standard Prius: about $25,000; Prius c: about $19,000
The Prius c is powered by a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor with a system output of 99 horsepower.
According to Greencarcongress.com, Toyota introduced re-designed Hybrid Synergy Drive technologies for the Prius c in order to reduce the car's weight and scale and improve efficiency. For example, the hybrid battery and fuel tank are positioned together beneath the rear seat, which ideally distributes their mass within the car's wheelbase to improve weight distribution, and thus enhance handling.
The LA Times reports that the standard Prius is the most popular hybrid worldwide, Toyota having sold 136,463 Prius vehicles in the U.S. in 2011 despite supply problems created by the Japanese earthquake in March. However, Toyota rivals displayed new hybrid vehicles in Detroit that may give Toyota a run for its money, including the Ford Fusion, which has an EPA rating of 47 city mpg.
The Prius c (c standing for city) is supposed to be an urban-friendly vehicle targeted at young buyers, according to reports. But with all of Toyota's competition stepping up, let's see just how friendly they will be in allowing Toyota to hit their bull's-eyes.