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2019 Toyota Prius c Performance Review


Performance: 6.6

The Prius c’s lone engine definitely won't wow you. Acceleration around town is adequate, but the Prius c feels weak at highway speeds. Still, it does a good job of maintaining its composure on curvy roads. This subcompact Toyota has a somewhat firm ride, which may turn off some shoppers. This Toyota's regenerative brakes may take some time to get used to if you’ve never driven a hybrid.

  • "The Prius c doesn't have the smooth ride of the regular Prius. They're different cars underneath, and the Prius c's Yaris genes don't do it any favors. It's not as quiet at cruising speeds, either, and is massively slow even by the Prius' modest standards." -- Autotrader (2018)
  • It's not as sporty as a Mazda3 or Honda Fit, but the Prius C isn't a bore either, and the ride is comfortable, even over the potholes of West L.A. If only it had a bit more oomph for passing and merging. Acceleration is adequate, with a satisfying jump off the line. But the hybrid's 99 horsepower can offer only so much thrust, so 0-60 mph takes a leisurely 12 seconds, and highway passing can be a roll of the dice." -- Kelley Blue Book (2018)
  • The Prius C is not speedy, but it gets up to freeway speed adequately and holds its own in city traffic. It's about what you would expect from a car that can deliver up to 50 mpg." -- Edmunds (2018)

Acceleration and Power

The Prius c’s powertrain is comprised of a four-cylinder engine, an electric motor, a hybrid battery pack, and a continuously variable automatic transmission. All Prius c models are rated at 99 horsepower, which isn't a high rating by any means. This car is better suited for city driving, since it takes a while to get up to speed and pass others on the highway. The Prius c also groans noisily when it's pushed hard. 

The Prius c gets 48 mpg in the city and 43 mpg on the highway, which are good estimates for a hybrid.

  • "It’s on the freeway where that lack of power becomes disappointing. It takes a while to reach speeds that keep up with the flow. Overtaking requires a considerate driver in front and preferably a tailwind." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "It's not as quiet at cruising speeds, either, and is massively slow even by the Prius' modest standards." -- Autotrader (2018)
  • Toyota's hybrids are built around a stepless continuously variable automatic transmission that's butter-smooth. It sometimes doesn't sound that way as the motor cycles on and off, though." -- Edmunds (2018)

Handling and Braking

The Prius c's ride can feel too firm on occasion, but reviewers appreciate this little hatchback's handling ability. While not sporty, the Prius c effortlessly maneuvers around sharp turns and through cramped parking lots.

Like most hybrids, the Prius c has a regenerative braking system, which may take a little time to get used to. Although it has traditional disc brakes, the Prius c also uses its electric motor to slow itself down, which is one way this hybrid recharges its battery. Still, you brake as you normally would in any other vehicle.

  • "Apparently, the C in the 2019 Prius C’s name relates to 'city.' This subcompact hatchback is certainly at home in this environment, able to spring off the line when the lights go green, dart into a traffic gap, then take advantage of tight parking spots thanks to its modest dimensions. There are rivals with more compelling driving manners, like the Honda Fit and Ford Fiesta, but the Prius C is far from the yawn that 99 horsepower might imply." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • But while we unexpectedly found the steering too heavy (heavier still with the Four's optional 16-in wheels), it's reasonably precise for a car of this nature, and body roll is kept within acceptable limits. We also love the tiny turning circle, which makes U-turns a breeze. The regenerative brakes may feel strange if you're a hybrid novice, but you'll get used to their inconsistent feedback in time." -- Autotrader (2018)
  • The Prius C is well-balanced and agile, but its fuel-saving low-rolling resistance tires don't have lots of grip. It's competent but rarely impressive in this area." -- Edmunds (2018)
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2019 Toyota Prius c

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