By on February 8, 2012

Toyota  U.S.A., Inc. today announced  pricing for the 2012 Prius c subcompact hybrid. They were not kidding when they had promised that the car would start at below $19,000.

The base version can be had for $18,950. For those who want something more dignified, the Prius c will be available in four grades, all the way up to  $23,230  MSRP.

The miserly 53mpg (city) hatchback is promised to arrive at Toyota dealerships in March 2012.  For more information …

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63 Comments on “Toyota’s Prius c Priced, Comes In March...”

  • avatar

    Time to issue suicide watch for Honda Fit sales people.

    • 0 avatar

      It’ll probably put significant hurt on the Fit, but it’ll DESTROY the Insight (which is more than half dead already). Honda may as well put that POS out of its misery right now.

    • 0 avatar

      I doubt Honda salesmen will be too pleased. Though I don’t know how large of an impact it will have on the Fit. The base Fit costs 15,100 if I recall correctly. That is 3800 less than the base Prius C. Plus the Fit has an incredible amount of cargo room with the fully folding rear seats. If the Prius C has similar cargo capacity and if Toyota could get the price down just a little bit more I think the Fit will be in serious trouble.

      • 0 avatar

        This is the USA, people don’t buy 1.5l cars for cargo capacity. That feature in Fit is awesome, but it’s just a perk.

        Insight looks good but should get 2.0l ICE engine and be called Integra.

      • 0 avatar

        I only care about the cargo capacity of my Fit because my daughter is in college and I occasionally have to haul all her stuff. By the time I need to replace it she’ll have long since graduated, I won’t need all that cargo space, and you can bet I’ll be looking at the Prius C.

      • 0 avatar

        Eh, the 15.1k Fit is standard – For most buyers in the US, you’re talking 16k starting with an auto, or just shy of 18k for the Fit Sport with auto. The Prius C is awfully close to that territory with MUCH better gas mileage. Hell, it even weighs less.

      • 0 avatar

        I think the Fit, with some modest MPG improvements, will be fine. That miracle fold flat cargo space sells more Fits than anything else, especially to young people. And the retirees/empty nesters/cheapskates already buy Versas and Yarises anyway.

        Plus, you are still paying a $5000 premium for Toyota’s hybrid tech (well, only $3800 if you can do without intermittent wipers and folding rear seats in your Prius c). Even if the Fit gets no MPG bump, at 12k miles per year you save about $600 a year by going with the Prius, again putting ROI in the 5-10 year range.

        As has been noted before – 99% of new car shoppers are interested in hybrids and only 5% buy them. That premium is still a killer.

      • 0 avatar

        The base Prius c appears to be better equipped than the base Fit. I think the actual premium looks more like $2k. Not a big difference given the very disappointing mileage numbers for the Fit.

      • 0 avatar

        Hakata said: “Even if the Fit gets no MPG bump, at 12k miles per year you save about $600 a year by going with the Prius, again putting ROI in the 5-10 year range.”

        This is not 100% tangible and the 12k figure is not the whole story.

        The Prius doesn’t burn gas at traffic lights, and that does not contribute to your average 12k figure.

      • 0 avatar

        Okay, now we are really splitting hairs in the very broad brush I was painting with. The point is that there is still a hybrid price premium of a few thousand dollars that at present gas prices cause most people to dismiss hybrids.

        And I’m not really seeing that the base Prius c is better equipped than the Fit: all I really see is automatic air and Bluetooth, offset by no cruise control, and no folding rear seats(!). To be fair, we should be comparing the autobox Fit, starting at $16k. So the difference is $4k comparably equipped. Then at best you’re looking at 4 years ROI. That’s getting there, and a gas shock could shorten that up quite a bit, But if, IF, Honda bumps the MPGs up into the mid 30s with some SkyActivish upgrades, you’re back to status quo.

      • 0 avatar

        The Prius doesn’t burn gas at traffic lights, and that does not contribute to your average 12k figure.

        It should. The EPA city rating includes idling for 18% of the test. Therefore, the city and combined ratings should include the engine shutdown.

    • 0 avatar

      The Fit doesn’t sell well now, but it sells to a consistent set of people who appreciate it’s virtues.

      That said, I drive a Fit, and I’m tempted by the Prius c, but if it’s like most non-Fit hatchbacks the rear load floor is probably quite high, and thusly the space is not going to be anything remotely like the Honda’s.

      • 0 avatar

        IIRC from seeing one at the New England Auto Show, load floor height was better than most Fit competitors, but not quite as low as Fit. Rear seatbacks appeared to fold flat. No doubt it won’t have the versatility of the Fit but it looked much better than most competitors.

    • 0 avatar

      If there’s any reason to think that this will drive like a Honda Fit rather than a lighter Prius, maybe. Otherwise, two entirely different cars looking for two different sets of buyers.

    • 0 avatar

      Never mind the fit, what about the CR-Z.

  • avatar
    Oren Weizman

    Holy crap that’s cheap

  • avatar

    “Optional equipment for the Prius c Four includes 16-inch, 8-spoke alloy wheels with 195/50R16 tires and power tilt telescopic moonroof with sunshade.”

    I’m not sure how they turned the moonroof telescopic, but that’d make for a heck of a nighttime view.

  • avatar

    Dear Toyota,

    You’re doing it wrong. Slap about a thousand pounds onto this bad boy. Double the price. Build in the “starts on fire” option into a few of them. Complain loudly about the perception gap.


    General Motors

    • 0 avatar

      Dear General Motors,

      Thank you for your advice, but we’ve been fighting the “it will never pay for itself” mantra for years and have already been raked through the coals by Congress and the media for a problem that wasn’t ours. And so sorry for the beige writing on square paper, despite our engineering excellence people still perceive us as boring.



    • 0 avatar

      Dear Obama,

      We have a problem. The new Camry is selling fast. So is the new Honda Civic. And, now we have this new Toyota. Obama, please have NHTSA launch new recall attacks on Toyota and Honda as soon as possible. As always, we will have our friends at the UAW send you lots of money. Thanks so much for the 10s of billions.


      Detroit automakers.

      • 0 avatar

        Dear Wall Street,

        We will like you to underwrite as much GM corporate bonds as market can absorb. We are willing to pay higher rates since we aren’t that credit worthy.


        – Born again GM

  • avatar

    Since gas just shot up around the corner by another $0.15/gallon, suddenly this seems rather interesting…let’s see how the sales do once they hit dealerships…oh, and bets on the fact that “younger” buyers will be the only ones looking at this? I’d day a fair number of older buyers (remember the scion xB Gen 1??) will look to buy.

    • 0 avatar

      They’ll have waiting lists before the first one even hits the lot.

    • 0 avatar

      Old and young buyers are the same: not swimming in money, minimal size & space needs, more freedom to get something with unconventional styling. Think of them as pre- and post-parents. It’s that middle phase where people get all weird.

      I slap my forehead every time someone says a ‘youth’ car has failed because it’s attracted older buyers. It’s only a failure if it becomes a big hit among parents (2nd gen xB?).

    • 0 avatar

      Wow, gas is up a whole $.15 – why, that is going to ruin me! Best dump the Bimmer and pick up a hybrid….

      I think the Jr. Prius is cute, but please Toyota, put some actual driving feel into the thing. The regular Prius has all the feel of an ’80s video game.

  • avatar

    I like that it weighs a tidy 2500lbs. I imagine that has a lot to do with the 53mpg city number. The top trim, Four, supposedly has a different suspension under it as well. My understanding is that Toyota does the same thing with the Prius liftback in the top trim, too.

  • avatar
    Sammy B

    It’s not a car for me, but I can respect this. I see it working for lots of buyers (just like a lot of current Toyota products). Forget what this will do to Honda, all of a sudden the Yaris (hatch), Scion iQ, and Scion xD seem rather pointless, at least for the shoppers out there that aren’t on a very tight budget. A good portion of those compact buyers are older folks specifically wanting a smaller car, not b/c their budget dictates it. I can see a lot of those people looking at this rather than the Yaris, even if there’s $2000 to be saved.

    Like others said…I bet they’ll sell all they can make. (but not one to me :)… mom would be a strong candidate in 2 years when her camry lease is up)

  • avatar

    I really want a Hyundai Accent 5 door, but I’d like to pay 50% more.
    What to do…

  • avatar

    Not bad pricing at all. I’d likely go for the “two” version since I like folding seats and intermittent wipers. The “three” package is adding way too many things that will break/be obsolete in a year. I was thinking of maybe getting a new Golf TDI in a few years, but the Aqua (I’m not calling it the Prius C) might be a better choice since gas is still cheaper than diesel. As much as I love my TDIs, I’ll have to check an Aqua out out when all of the hype has died down. Because this seems like a definite ‘game changer’.

    • 0 avatar

      I am going to guess that the base model also has folding back seats and intermittent wipers. What you’re getting in the ‘two’ is 60/40 split folding seats, and variable intermittent wipers (ie infinitely adjustable intermittent wipers instead of step adjustable)

  • avatar

    The 3 door L model Yaris starts at $15.8k (in Florida), with an AT.. so its a $3k premium. Not much if you finance it over 60 months :)

  • avatar

    Someone call Michael Karesh! They beat him to it.

    Pretty decent comparison, including taking into account (not as well as true delta) the concerns on content.

  • avatar
    Chicago Dude

    I think I’ll buy a fleet and lease them out to local pizza delivery drivers.

  • avatar

    I’m sure it will bite the Fit a bit but how about the Sonic?

    Not up on the MSRP but isn’t rather pricier than the Fit?
    And it doesn’t have the interior versitilty and reliability cards to play.

    Good play by Toyota.


    • 0 avatar

      There are actually people who are attracted to and seriously considering the Sonic? Really? There’s so much better competition out there. What does the Sonic even do well, let alone better than the competition? It doesn’t even get stand-out mileage.

      I cannot imagine anyone preferring the Sonic over the Elantra GT, or Accent 5-door, or Veloster, or Fiesta, or Focus, or …

      It’s not even “inexpensive”. It’s priced high for the content.

      Okay, in answer to your question, the Prius C will undoubtedly cut into the Sonic’s sales (as will ever other car in the segment).

      • 0 avatar

        The reviews for the Sonic have been good so far. It is the only sub-compact that I can think of the comes with a turbo. It has more interior space than the others, excepting the Fit.
        I’d definitely be looking at the Sonic if I were in the market.

  • avatar
    jonny b

    If they can keep the Canadian price reasonable this will be a huge hit here in the land of expensive gas, small cars and a lot of city driving.

  • avatar

    Seems like Toyota has a hit on their hands. Checks off all the right boxes and from the side looks attractive (not the case in other view IMHO).

    Priced well against the B-segment with superior MPG.

    I think the Honda CR-Z and Insight are DEAD, DEAD, DEAD; absolutely no reason to exist. This also puts the hurt on Fiat 500.

    The Fiesta sales are weak and has a 123 day inventory level, this won’t help. The Sonic is selling well out of the gate, and I see this being a thorn in GM’s side.

    Here is another question though – will this cannibalize some Prius sales (not C and not V the regular plain old Prius) as buyers who might stretch to the larger model go with this commuter grade car.

    Also, I haven’t seen any stats on performance, but given its light weight, I suspect it is rather tossable.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Not a fan of the “big” Prius’s appearance, at least in the photos, this one really appeals to me.

    Somehow not as goofy looking as the Fit, again, in pictures.

  • avatar

    Did they really save that much weight by notching the back so severely? That really has to cut into usable cargo space.

  • avatar

    It looks like they’re not going to make enough, anyways, to have their competitors worry too much about near-future sales.

    Unless Toyota has a very secret plan to somehow, suddenly flood the market with these to make their 9.6 million sales quota …

  • avatar

    Interesting car. If this tanks the cr-z hybrid, Perhaps I can pick up a 6 speed stick for cheap. I see no mention of tranmission in the press-release (I read over it fast — did I miss it?) so I’m guessing auto-only (boo).

    I’m curious how this thing will do on the highway as I live in the far suburbs and commute 40 miles ea. way to work.

    Currently looking at a Fiat500 ($13.9 on special for a stick) or 2012 kia rio ($11.9k on special with 6 speed), but may wait for this just to see how it is.

  • avatar

    This looks very interesting, but I have to sit in one before I commit. The press coverage is often deceptive.

    P.S. I did not mean to say that TTAC editors lie to me, especially when they simply quote Toyota’s presser, but that it’s next to impossible for me to tell how it will go from pictures. The price is quite intriguing indeed.

  • avatar

    Hopefully someone at Honda pays attention and delivers to us a CR-Z with more power. Let the Prius C position as hyper fuel efficient; give some more power and good efficiency and it’s a defensible and preferable alternative niche. The gap between 40 and 50 mpg is not as persuasive as between 30 and 40 or 20 and 30.

    Edit: Or maybe anyone could make one of these class of cars with rear visibility, regular brakes, without a dashboard inspired by the view of 2000 from 1980.

    • 0 avatar

      How are you going to charge the battery on a hybrid if you have “regular” brakes? The Volt has already shown us that using the gasoline engine to charge the electric motor isn’t particularly efficient. If you are going to bother driving the wheels with the electric motor, you may as well use that electric motor to recover energy during braking. Thick c-pillars aren’t a hybrid only thing.

  • avatar

    The EPA sticker for Hybrids should provide a table of how much you will save in gas every 12,000 miles. $4 a gallon gas = $X in savings for every 12,000 miles driven and such….

    Maybe the government is too slow to make this law… So then the manufactures would do this right?
    If not the manufactures, then the dealers?

    People just need educated and then these Hybrids would fly off the lots… right?….

    Here let me help…
    Driving 12,000 miles per year with $4 gas and your Hybrid provides 55MPG, while your neighbor has a 35MPG ride means you save a wicked cool $41.56 per month!!!

    Imagine what you can do with that $42 a month! (Assuming the insurance for your Hybrid isn’t more)… Oh wait you need to plug it in for $1 a night? Bummer…

    How does it feel when you realize that you were a victim of a con job? Not good eh? Bummer…

    Hey, but I have a time share that I barely use… Let’s talk! :)

    • 0 avatar

      The Prius C is not a plugin hybrid. Like the regular Prius, it is 100% gas powered.

      The plugin Prius is not on sale in the US yet, and has only a 4.4KWH battery. So, charging a totally flat battery would cost me about $0.50, IF I could get my hands on one.

      For reasons beyond the scope of your calculation, I personally value fuel not burned at a higher value than the fuel I do burn. Make of that what you will. Also beyond the scope of yur calculation is the bulletproof reliability of the post-2004 Prius platform – as a Prius owner with 140k trouble free miles on the clock, the value of this is hard to underestimate.

      The Prius isn’t the car fpr everyone. It’s an AtoB transportation appliance. If reliable transportation appliances with low running costs aren’t your cup of tea, then don’t buy one. My lifestyle is bland as tje Prius’s handling(and I like it that way), though, so feel free to draw yoir own conclusions there.

      • 0 avatar

        Not to mention resale value – another major money factor generally ignored by the prius-hater mathematicians.

        For example – a 5-year old Prius is worth about TWICE what a comparably equipped 5-year-old Ford Focus or Chevy Cobalt is. That, alone, more than makes up for the difference in initial purchase price.

  • avatar
    400 N

    Sure, I’ll help out.

    Here’s a different scenario. Supposing you drive 36,000 miles a year and pay $5 for gas. (This is my exact situation.)

    Prius c @55 mpg costs $3272
    Clunker @35 mpg costs $5142

    Sure that’s only $155 per month difference but this really adds up. The total net difference is $1870 per year.

    Over a 10 year+ lifespan of the car (which is becoming average these days) that’s $18,700. Net present value is $16,815 of that cash flow difference.

    This means that you could pay a premium for of up to $16815 in current dollars for a Prius and not lose out. You could argue that you’re planning to trade it in 5 years, but that also means the car is more valuable and will get a higher trade-in.

    This is why the original Prius models have been successful as taxis, besides their marketing appeal — they make more money for their owners.

  • avatar

    I have to be honest here: this is the only Toyota I’ve ever wanted to own.

    Call it lame. Call it crazy.

    But I’ve always hoped that Toyota would create something like this. I can’t afford a regular Prius. The Prius c is within my range of affordability and I want something that’s good on gas.

    Now only to figure out how long it’ll take to scrape up that much change.

  • avatar

    From everything I read, the Fit is fun to drive. THe Priiieses (or whatever) have not been noted for that. I choose fun to drive. Done.

    • 0 avatar

      Let’s not exaggerate. My (base, stick) Fit is pleasant enough to drive but really, nothing special. I’ve also driven a Sport and the (very) slightly sharper handling is kind of negated by the even more jiggly ride. (And an automatic will completely suck what life there is out of the torqueless engine, so most Fit buyers really aren’t getting much fun at all.) The Prius C wouldn’t have to be all that great a driver to be in the ballpark. The new Yaris chassis on which this is presumably based is supposed to be not bad at all, so that’s by no means impossible.

  • avatar

    Anybody know if insurance is higher on hy-brids like this?

  • avatar

    It sounds like a great little car. If it turns out to be as reliable as the Prius, then Toyota deserves some praise for this.

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