Toyota has been touting its newly expanded Prius line of hybrids since the introduction of the larger Prius v earlier this year. Now, a year after the debut of the Prius c Concept, Toyota has officially pulled the wraps off of the production-spec Prius c. The car will make its world debut later this month at the Tokyo Motor Show, but will make its North American debut in Detroit come January.
Many of these details aren’t too surprising, given a scanned brochure leaked online in October. For the U.S. market, the Prius c will come equipped with a 1.5-liter inline-four cylinder gas engine (probably the same engine that is offered in the 2012 Yaris) mated to a-yet-to-be-specified electric motor and battery pack. Toyota has yet to reveal full powertrain figures, but expect to see the only transmission option to be an electrically variable unit like in other Prii. Toyota expects the smallest Prius to achieve better than 50 mpg in the city.
The Prius c has a reasonably diminutive footprint, which Toyota says will give the car “spirited driving dynamics” and will help lure subcompact buyers to the brand. At 157.3 inches long, the Prius c is a full foot-and-a-half shorter than the standard Prius and about four inches longer that Toyota’s own Yaris subcompact hatch. However, the Prius c (and the Yaris) is only a scant two inches skinnier than the Prius at 66.7 inches. Stacked against some of the other competition, the Prius c is certainly small: it is only 1.7 inches shorter than a Chevrolet Sonic hatchback, 2.8 inches shorter than a Ford Fiesta hatchback, and a full 4.3 inches shorter than the Honda Fit.
Though being smaller than most of its competition, Toyota hopes to win buyers with technology. The Prius c will come standard with Bluetooth connectivity and nine airbags, among others. Toyota will also offer its Entune infotainment system that integrates web searching, voice recognition, weather information, and satellite radio.
The look of “the smaller one” is all Prius: a tapered nose, triangular foglight and turn signal housing, a trapezoidal intake opening, and large vertical taillights. Inside, the Prius c uses the same center-mounted digital information panel as the other Prii, although the rest of the interior is more traditional with a floor-mounted shifter, central navigation screen, and large-dialed HVAC pod. We hope, however, that the shade of carrot orange shown in pictures here looks better in person. Don’t be surprised if the color palette includes some bright hues to attract younger buyers.
Expect to see the full details for the Toyota Prius c in January after its official Detroit debut.