Mon. Oct 14th, 2019
2019 Toyota Prius C

2019 Toyota Prius C Drivers’ Notes Review

The Toyota Prius C was a fine little hatchback when it debuted back in 2012, but time is a cruel mistress. The car has been outdone and outclassed by a myriad of other products, including some from within Toyota’s own ranks. It seems the automaker agrees, as it’s ditching the model at the end of this model year. Still, you might be able to snag a deal on a spacious and fuel efficient little hatchback if you keep your eyes peeled.

Our tester was a Prius C LE, the top of two available trims. Standard features on this model include LED projector headlights, LED taillights, automatic climate control and navigation. The only two options on our car were Tide Pool Pearl paint for $395 and floormats for another $264. All in, this one stickered for $24,534.

Senior Editor, Green, John Beltz Snyder: Last time I drove the Prius C, I had a bit of fun with it. This time around, I had hoped to repeat the experience, as it’d quite possibly be my last stint in the pint-sized Prius. Alas, weather and traffic thwarted my plans to joyride the little hybrid. Instead, I used it like I would a normal car: commuting, grocery runs and taking my son to soccer.

But now that the inexpensive Corolla gets a hybrid powertrain, Toyota doesn’t need the Prius C, and is sunsetting it. I might have been a little sad, but since the Corolla Hybrid is better than the Prius C in so many ways, I’m shedding no tears over this one. Let’s just hope they put the hybrid powertrain in the Corolla Hatchback at some point.

There’s an inkling of fun hiding in the handling, largely thanks to this car only weighing about 2,500 pounds. It’s all about fuel economy when it comes to the right pedal, though. Don’t expect anything, and you might be slightly less disappointed after putting your foot down.

With Toyota slashing the Prius C from the lineup, you might be able to snag a good deal. If absolute space efficiency and a cheap cost of ownership are your only two priorities, then this might be worthy of a test drive. However, I’d wait for the Corolla Hybrid to roll into dealerships, and drive home in a far superior car.

Then there’s the interior, which is full of very cheap plastics and plain, outdated displays. The driving position is strange, too, and I never quite felt comfortable behind the wheel. It’s not especially quiet on the highway either. It really feels like it’s 15 to 20 years older than it is.

The one thing that makes me prefer it to other Prii (I still think the official plural is dumb) is the ride and handling. The steering is reasonably responsive and weighted well, and body lean isn’t too bad. It also doesn’t feel floaty like the bigger Prius models. In the end though, the Prius C is too little for too much.