By on February 21, 2019

2018 Toyota Prius C - Image:

Toyota’s Prius C, introduced in North America in 2012, was a good idea that didn’t generate much consumer (or reviewer) acclaim. As an entry-level hybrid slotted below the Prius and wagony Prius V, the Prius C was no powerhorse. Its 1.5-liter four-cylinder/electric motor combo cranked out a combined 99 horsepower, a figure that still stands today. Journos found it lacking in both performance and ride quality.

Around these parts, I can’t recall the last Prius C I saw that wasn’t part of a Vrtucar fleet.

Well, kiss the Prius C goodbye, as it’s on its way to the automotive afterlife. Unlike other passenger car discontinuations, however, there’s a replacement waiting in the wings.

It was generally known that the Prius C would cede its space in the Toyota lineup this year, and comments made by Ed Laukes, group VP of marketing at Toyota North America, to Motor1 this week hammered that fact home.

“You’re probably not going to see Prius C for long,” he said. “The Prius C has served its purpose well.”

2018 Toyota Prius C rear - Image:

Poised to replace the little hatchback is a compact sedan with a famous name — the 2020 Toyota Corolla, more specifically its first-ever hybrid variant. A larger and likely pricier vehicle, the new Corolla hybrid boasts a combined 121 horsepower, a new platform, and better fuel economy. While the Prius C rates a combined 46 mpg, the Corolla Hybrid manages 52 mpg.

“The transition to Corolla Hybrid (should be) in the next couple of months,” a Toyota spokesperson told Autoblog, adding that the automaker has about 700 of them left in stock.

Peaking in its second year on the market (41,979 units sold in the U.S.), the Prius C began a precipitous decline, with only 8,399 sales recorded in 2018. That latter figure represents a 32.6 percent drop from a year earlier.

[Images: Toyota]

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35 Comments on “Toyota Prius C to Bite the Dust, Pass Torch...”

  • avatar

    IMO a great undervalued city runabout that will easily last for 2 decades and 200k miles with minimal hassle and laughable running costs. Buy low (cheap gas) and sell for a premium during the next gas spike. A CMax has even lower resale value and is superior in terms of dynamics and ride quality, but reliability is kind of questionable going off of reports.

  • avatar

    Too tiny for the money.

  • avatar
    A Scientist

    The Prius C Concept they debuted in 2011 was a really cool, futuristic-looking vehicle with sleek lines and great styling that could have represented the next phase of this automobile category. What Toyota ultimately delivered to consumers instead, however, was a cheap, chintzy, parts-bin version of a regular Prius, only smaller.

    • 0 avatar

      Prius C is basically a Yaris with a gen 2 Prius drivetrain. A very basic and durable platform that returns some pretty crazy real world MPG, but definitely a fairly crude and basic car.

  • avatar

    What kind of automotive journalist reviews an economy car and complains about the lack of sporting performance?

    • 0 avatar

      The same kind of journalist that uses cliches such as, “hard plastic bits,” or, “thumps over defects in the pavement,” or, “visibility is poor due to a low roofline,” or any of the other go-to tropes for reviewing a car.

      I can find hard plastic bits in any car.

      With 18″+ rims almost the norm across the board, everything thumps over defects in the pavement.

      360-degree visibility is basically poor in everything out there.

      Under-powered economy boxes based on an ancient and dated platform don’t feel “sporty.”

      • 0 avatar

        Why not call out bad visibility? I’d argue a few cars are “bringing it back” (latest Camry) or never lost it in the first place (Subaru).

      • 0 avatar

        I always question the credentials of an automotive journalist who reviews a non-sporty car and then criticizes its lack of sport. This is the reason why I have pretty much given up on the mainstream automotive press.

        • 0 avatar

          The genetic defect that causes journos to insist on finding tossability in every vehicle from econoboxes to family vans has become epidemic.

          Even Consumer Reports succumbed several years ago. The tragedy is that the industry actually ingests and acts upon the whims of these arrested adolescents.

  • avatar

    Another fine example of a car that all the tree huggers and end of the worlders say everyone should drive, but that virtually nobody actually does as they head towards the Tundra or Highlander across the showroom floor.

    • 0 avatar

      Now that the Hybrid Highlander ISN’T limited to top trim, you can get high fuel economy in the body shape you really wanted in the first place.

    • 0 avatar

      stingray65, reality is setting in.

      See link

      What is real, is real. And what is overrated will eventually fall of its own weight.

      • 0 avatar

        There is some irony that you’re writing that in response to an article that rates Subaru highly. The quality of their OEM replacement parts has been in freefall for the past year or two. It’s true that the competition hasn’t been weaker in thirty-five years, but seeing what breaks every day points to Subaru being in a class with Ford and Fiat.

        • 0 avatar

          ToddAtlasF1, maybe I didn’t express myself accurately enough because I often wonder myself what motivates the findings of these ratings agencies.

          As for Subaru, I know next to nothing about the Subaru experience except to say that in MY mountainous area Subies are much beloved even though the nearest dealer is in El Paso, TX, 120+ miles away.

          My comment was a reply to stingray65’s initial comment in the first line.

      • 0 avatar

        HDC – thanks for the link – Tesla is in big trouble. Just lost their head legal guy, who quit after 2 months on the job. Some analysts also claim that Tesla has 10,000 unsold Model 3s hidden away, and suggests that sales may be slowing down rapidly. The CR downgrade certainly won’t help. Perhaps everyone who wants a Tesla already has one or want to wait and see if the Porsche or Audi EVs are better assembled because they are built in an actual factory instead of a tent.

        • 0 avatar

          Similarly, there’s a rumor in the industry that GM has ~10,000 Corvettes they’re sitting on because the buyers are waiting for the new model to come out next year.

          IMO, Tesla’s are a great product for those who want to buy/lease them. But what will really kick EVs into high gear with the general public (if you will) are the coming low-cost EVs that everyman can afford to buy and enjoy, if they are so inclined.

          Now that the fuel economy discussion with CA has ended because the administration cut them loose, the driving force behind EVs has diminished further.

          We truly live in interesting automotive times. Who saw the downgrade of Tesla coming? Not I.

          • 0 avatar

            BEVs will never be “everyman” cars until and unless they can get the refueling time at least competitive with the existing competition. And there’s absolutely no reason to expect that any time soon, if ever.

            Exotic toys, or narrow utility 3rd car commuters/local runabouts.. Useful in the real world almost exclusively to people who have a dedicated parking space for them. Street parkers and most renters need not apply.

          • 0 avatar

            Exotic toys, third or fourth vehicles for those who can afford them, or short-hop runabouts because you can’t get very far in them without esperiencing range anxiety and a lot of lost time for recharging.

            My wife and I are comfortable driving 13-15 hour days on the road with only refueling and pee stops. We’ll do that again next week when we go to Ensenada, BC, Old Mexico, by way of WY, CO, UT, NV, and San Diego, CA.

            Try doing that in an BEV.

            That’s why the Prius and Volt made more sense. OTOH, they can’t hold a lot of stuff, like a Motorhome, or 4dr half-ton pickup truck or SUV.

  • avatar

    Silly Toyota. I TOLD them the Prius was a fashion accessory as opposed to an economy car, but did they listen?

  • avatar

    Corolla hybrid is the replacement? Kind of like saying the Highlander hybrid was the replacement for the Rav4, if the existing Rav4 was based on 15-year-old tech.

  • avatar

    My brother drives one of these. He bought it back in 2012 or 2013 when he was living in NE Maryland. I was in college in DC at the time and when we’d go home (NE Philly) for holidays I’d drive up to his apartment and we’d take his car the rest of the way. One thing that always shocked me about this car is just how small it is inside! With my luggage, his luggage, and a bag of clothes that he’d bring home to wash, the rear of the thing was basically full and that’s WITH THE REAR SEATS FOLDED! My ’95 Civic hatch felt waaaay bigger inside, but this was his first new car and when he’d excitedly suggest we make the trip in his car I’d let him have his moment.

    NVH and ride refinement were on-par with my 170k mile Civic. The cabin was slightly quieter. My brother used to drive the thing like the accelerator pedal was made of glass and he’d get 60-65 mpg most of the time. He actually still owns the car, and now does AV installations in and around NYC so it’s perfect for getting him from site to site. I’m actually a little surprised he hasn’t gotten rid of it though because he’s now got a wife and 9 month old and I’m sure that packs out the last few cubic inches of interior space.

  • avatar

    The wife and I test drove an orange Prius C back in 2013 I think it was.

    We were looking to replace her automatic 2000 Jetta TDI, which wasn’t exactly a rocket ship. The Prius C was painted a cheerful colour, but the short test drive we did was very sad and slow.

    I didn’t think a new car slower than a 13 year old automatic TDI existed, but we found it in the Prius C. So I can see why these never sold in great numbers.

    Maybe the Corolla hybrid will fare better. A hybrid C-HR would probably be a smarter choice though.

  • avatar

    I had one of these as a rental once and was not impressed at all. But then again, the normal Prius isn’t for me either. But the normal Prius at least had some refinement to it and you can fit four people in it. This had nothing going for it. If you must have a Prius, this is the worst version for just a little less money.

    My drive was all highway, which I know is not the element these cars thrive in. Also, no cruise control in the one I had, which to me is imperative for fuel economy. Constant speed= constant (and consistent) fuel mileage. It returned 31 mpg at 75 mph albeit in the rain. Which is what my 5 speed ’17 Golf returns. Though I’m sure it returns 30 in the city too, which with the hills of Pittsburgh, my Golf cannot do.

  • avatar

    Our next door neighbors have a Prius C. It makes my wife’s Mini Cooper S look like a luxury car, but I am sure it serves their needs well, as they are people who would probably rather have no car at all, for green/political reasons.

  • avatar

    Does anyone still support Obama’s CAFE? He created an environment where the most fuel efficient vehicles are disappearing from the market. How can that constitute good policy? Who cares if a half ton pickup gets 5% better mileage if a hundred thousand of them replaced sedans that got 50% better mileage?

  • avatar
    Liam Gray

    Prius C is one of the most unpleasant cars I’ve ever driven, and I’m a guy that drives a completely stripped base model Kia Soul. The Prius C has a garbage interior, is surprisingly cramped, and has the worst Rubber band CVT I’ve ever encountered. Ever throttle input results in some actual change in forward momentum about 30 seconds later. Its like driving a car underwater. Horrible.

  • avatar

    i have 4 of these –
    typically salvage –
    try to buy rear or deer hits –
    for some reason the guys that rebuild these are all skin
    headed Russians / eastern Europeans –
    doesn’t seem to matter where in the country i get em –
    mich , oh , carolinas , weird huh ?
    anyway , they are somewhat different compared to std. priii in many ways –
    much easier to service / maintain + i feel will be the modern day
    low $ cockroaches – With 4 daughters + all the son in laws & 10 grandkids and other needy fam / friends I rejoice at their killing –
    Now i can buy even more –

    • 0 avatar

      “for some reason the guys that rebuild these are all skin
      headed Russians / eastern Europeans”

      LOL those are just normal blue collar Russians and Eastern Europeans fyi

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