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2019 Toyota Prius c Overview
Toyota introduced the subcompact Prius c hatchback to the market for 2012. Billing itself as an inexpensive way to maximize fuel economy, the Littlest Hybrid underwent a couple of facelifts, first in 2015 and again in 2018. For 2019, the Prius c returns with only minor changes.
The Prius c utilizes a 1.5-liter inline 4-cylinder engine, electric motor, and battery to create combined 99 horsepower and 82 pound-feet of torque. A continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) sends power to the front wheels. Thanks to this engine-transmission combination, the Prius c achieves 48 miles per gallon city, 43 highway, and 46 combined. It’s worth noting that the larger Prius beats these estimates, with 54, 50, and 52 mpg ratings.
Toyota does away with the unconventionally-named One, Two, Three, and Four trims from years prior. For 2019, it replaces them with L and LE trims. The L trim kicks things off with 15-inch wheels, LED headlights, LED taillights, automatic climate control, a 3.5-inch instrument panel display, a digital speedometer, a 6.1-inch touchscreen infotainment system, Bluetooth, Siri EyesFree, USB connectivity, and voice recognition. The LE trim throws in keyless start and access and a premium 6.1-inch touchscreen infotainment system with navigation and Toyota’s Entune App Suite.
The Prius c doesn’t offer extra options – even popular specifications like leather upholstery and heated seats aren’t available. Toyota does offer a few bold colors like Tide Pool Pearl, Blizzard Pearl, and Blue Streak Metallic. Last year’s Tangerine Splash Pearl and Moonglow fail to make the cut.
As far as safety goes, all the available equipment – a reversing camera and Toyota Safety Sense C – comes standard. The safety suite bundles pre-collision with pedestrian detection, brake assist, lane-departure alert, and automatic high beams. The Prius c achieved good crash scores in the Insurance Institute Highway Safety (IIHS) tests. However, the driver small overlap only earns an acceptable rating and the front-crash prevention technology has been rated basic.
The Prius c’s mission from the jump has been to become the most inexpensive hybrid on the market. While it currently defends the title, the 2019 model has all the hallmarks of an older product that is on its way out. Indeed, Toyota’s own Prius handily outclasses it. It may be worth ponying up a bit more for the Prius or one of the other newer and better hybrid vehicles on the market before settling on the Prius c.
Kyree is new to the automotive journalism scene, but has voiced snarky public opinions about cars for quite some time. When he's not drooling over the latest European luxury sled, he's designing web experiences or writing backend code.
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