Oh No They Didn't: Overnight, Toyota Turns 2018 Prius C Into a Land Cruiser Pretender

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain
oh no they didnt overnight toyota turns 2018 prius c into a land cruiser pretender

It started last year. Toyota, in concert with upgrading the Prius C with Toyota Safety Sense C added a matte black bodykit to the lower portions of the 2017 Prius C.

But for 2018, the Toyota Prius C is a veritable off-roader — a Rubicon-rolling, 4×4 river-fording FJ Cruiser successor.

The 2018 Prius C’s black cladding reaches up and around the wheel arches, and that cladding is interrupted at the Prius C’s chin by skidplate-aping metallic accents, heaven forfend.

Although the Toyota Prius C has migrated from the passenger car world to the trail-running SUV arena with nary a ride height increase and the same front-wheel-drive architecture, Toyota has managed to avoid fuel economy degradation. The 2018 Prius C is rated at 48 miles per gallon city, 43 highway, and 46 mpg combined, same as before.

More seriously, is crossoveresque styling enough to spur a measure of demand for the oft-rejected Prius C? Relatively uncommon upon its debut, U.S. Prius C sales peaked at 41,979 units in 2013, its first full year. But by 2016, sales were less than half that strong, plunging 47 percent from 2015 levels. Compared with last year’s poor performance, sales through the first half of 2017 tumbled a further 39 percent. Only 7,049 Prius Cs were sold in America during the first six months of 2017.

So far this year, the Prius C’s share of America’s subcompact market has fallen to 3.6 percent (from 4.8 percent a year ago) as Toyota generates the bulk of its subcompact sales with the Mazda 2-based Toyota Yaris iA. The Yaris iA and Yaris hatchback combine to outsell the Prius C by nearly four-to-one.

With no meaningful mechanical upgrades, the 2018 Toyota Prius C will still be the car that, according to Car And Driver, accelerates from 0-60 miles per hour in 10.9 seconds. Don’t expect to be thrilled, unless of course you leave the pavement and head up a mountain pass in the middle of a post-mudslide snowstorm.

The 2018 Toyota Prius C has a base price of $21,525, up almost $500 compared with the 2017 Toyota Prius C One.

[Images: Toyota]

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor of GoodCarBadCar.net. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.

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  • Brandloyalty Brandloyalty on Jul 25, 2017

    The reason for promoting black plastic cladding is that it looks like crap after a few years and so lowers the value of used cars.

    • Landau Calrissian Landau Calrissian on Jul 25, 2017

      That makes no sense; why would Toyota want lower residual values? Cheaper used cars only makes them look more appealing vs a new one. Higher resale helps them offer more competitive lease rates too.

  • Threeer Threeer on Jul 26, 2017

    Now folks will buy them and say they bought a hybrid CUV, blissfully unaware that they have a...wait for it...wait for it...hatchback! Watch for sales to climb! (said slightly tongue in cheek)

  • Tassos I hope y'all had a happy Thanksgiving. To answer the question, my present car is almost Ideal for such road trips, but I can think of an even better one, which has the same awesome engine in a bigger, far more luxurious vehicle.OK, let's THINK, what kind of car is best for such a trip? NOT a 911 or a Corvette, not a Body-on-frame pickup truck or SUV. It has to be a LONG vehicle, and most importantly, with a LONG WHEELBASE. It should be quite heavy so it is comfortable (in addition to the always nice to have passive safety). It should be powerful but frugal, with today's ridiculous gas prices. It should be LUXURIOUS so when you get out of it after 12 hours of driving, to feel as rested and relaxed as when you started the trip. So naturally the best candidates are FLAGSHIP LUXURY SEDANS with the above attributes. What are the best ones to choose? A 2007-2012 Lexus 460 LS would be hard to refuse, and is very reliable to boot. (in 2012 they ruined its grille), but is poor in other chores (handling, poor steering feel etc). A BMW 7 series, like the MAGNIFICENT 1998 740iL with its adequate 4.4 lt V8 and its 282 HP and 300+ LBFT torque was also an excellent cruiser AS WELL as a great (as if on rails!) Handling car, with plenty of features and luxury fit for a king inside (plus they had facrtory GPS as early as 1998, which Merc Did not then!), but it is not as reliable as you would like. I owned one from 2005 to 2017, almost 20 years old and 150k miles at the end, when I donated it. My current car is just perfect for this job, being a GLORIOUS DIESEL Merc E 320 Bluetec 2007 (I also have a 2008 twin!), it gets 35-37 MPG on long trips, which offsets the ridiculous current Diesel prices, AND its 21 Gallon tank gives you 700-800 MILES OF RANGE, so you can fill up at the lowest cost stations at your convenience. COmpared with the BMW 7 V8, its V6 actually gives you about the3 same performance at half the MPG!! Because the HP may be less (208 vs 282) BUT the TOrque can only be matched by AMG gas versions, the E55 AMG, at over 400 LBFT.If you want a little better than the above AWESOME choice, try the S350 Bluetec Diesel, 2010-2013 models. THere are very few Diesels sold in the US, so you may have to drive 4 hours to buy yours (as I had to do with both of mine), BUT it is REALLY WORTH IT.BTW, the extra benefit of the diesel MErcs, they are THE MOST RELIABLE VEHICLES I EVER DROVE, and I had plenty of Hondas and other alleged reliable cars in the past. TWO diesels, owned from 2016 and 2017, and NOTHING went wrong with them except ROUTINE Maintenance, brake pad replacement, new set of tires, NO FAILURES OF ANY KIND!If you have experienced these outstanding cruisers, tell us what you think. If NOT, try them!
  • Nrd515 I bought an '88 S10 Blazer with the 4.3. We had it 4 years and put just about 48K on it with a bunch of trips to Nebraska and S. Dakota to see relatives. It had a couple of minor issues when new, a piece of trim fell off the first day, and it had a seriously big oil leak soon after we got it. The amazinly tiny starter failed at about 40K, it was fixed under some sort of secret warranty and we got a new Silverado as a loaner. Other than that, and a couple of tires that blew when I ran over some junk on the road, it was a rock. I hated the dash instrumentation, and being built like a gorilla, it was about an inch and a half too narrow for my giant shoulders, but it drove fine, and was my second most trouble free vehicle ever, only beaten by my '82 K5 Blazer, which had zero issues for nearly 50K miles. We sold the S10 to a friend, who had it over 20 years and over 400,000 miles on the original short block! It had a couple of transmissions, a couple of valve jobs, a rear end rebuild at 300K, was stolen and vandalized twice, cut open like a tin can when a diabetic truck driver passed out(We were all impressed at the lack of rust inside the rear quarters at almost 10 years old, and it just went on and on. Ziebart did a good job on that Blazer. All three of his sons learned to drive in it, and it was only sent to the boneyard when the area above the windshield had rusted to the point it was like taking a shower when it rained. He now has a Jeep that he's put a ton of money into. He says he misses the S10's reliablity a lot these days, the Jeep is in the shop a lot.
  • Jeff S Most densely populated areas have emission testing and removing catalytic converters and altering pollution devices will cause your vehicle to fail emission testing which could effect renewing license plates. In less populated areas where emission testing is not done there would probably not be any legal consequences and the converter could either be removed or gutted both without having to buy specific parts for bypassing emissions. Tampering with emission systems would make it harder to resell a vehicle but if you plan on keeping the vehicle and literally running it till the wheels fall off there is not much that can be done if there is no emission testing. I did have a cat removed on a car long before mandatory emission testing and it did get better mpgs and it ran better. Also had a cat gutted on my S-10 which was close to 20 years old which increased performance and efficiency but that was in a state that did not require emission testing just that reformulated gas be sold during the Summer months. I would probably not do it again because after market converters are not that expensive on older S-10s compared to many of the newer vehicles. On newer vehicles it can effect other systems that are related to the operating and the running of the vehicle. A little harder to defeat pollution devices on newer vehicles with all the systems run by microprocessors but if someone wants to do it they can. This law could be addressing the modified diesels that are made into coal rollers just as much as the gasoline powered vehicles with cats. You probably will still be able to buy equipment that would modify the performance of a vehicles as long as the emission equipment is not altered.
  • ToolGuy I wonder if Vin Diesel requires DEF.(Does he have issues with Sulfur in concentrations above 15ppm?)
  • ToolGuy Presented for discussion: https://xroads.virginia.edu/~Hyper2/thoreau/civil.html
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