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.
Toyota likes to brag about its Prius “family.” Well, if the various Prii are grouped as such, the C may just be the black sheep.
Not the rebellious black sheep, but rather the underachieving kind. The kid with promise that went unfulfilled. Nice enough, at least makes an effort – but doesn’t quite have what it takes, nor has the ability to figure it out.
Take the 2018 version. Affording it a mild style update and new standard safety features isn’t enough to make up for the car’s shortcomings.
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.
The best-selling Toyota subcompact in America is a Mexican-built Mazda that’s sold as a Scion and will soon be sold as a Toyota. It’s a car that’s already called the Yaris R in Mexico and the Yaris Sedan in Canada.
Meanwhile, Toyota’s once hot-selling subcompact, the Toyota-branded Yaris, is a hatchback imported from France that scarcely attracts any attention at all.
In between, Toyota’s actual Japanese-built Prius C is increasingly unpopular.
Oddly enough, the presence of the roomy Prius V and less costly Prius C have done little to harm the popularity of Toyota’s primary hybrid, the Prius. More accurately, since Toyota introduced the V, C, and Plug-In versions, sales of the core model have done nothing but rise.
“Just because a car generates a lot of buzz or is a best seller doesn’t mean that it’s a good choice for you. The five models here may be on a lot of buyers’ shopping lists, but we suggest you steer clear…”
So says Consumer Reports with respect to their list of “Five popular cars to avoid”. CR says that the vehicles “…didn’t perform well in our testing or they suffer from subpar reliability,” and that’s reason enough to stay away. I’m not entirely convinced.
A rear-wheel-drive four-door hatchback with staggered wheels and a mere 2,579 pounds distributed 45/55. From the folks who gave us the Evo. Sounds awesome, doesn’t it? But the Mitsubishi i-MiEV (conversationally referred to as either the “i” OR the “meev”) isn’t that sort of car. Its focus is just as narrow as the Evo’s but could hardly be more different: the cheapest, most energy-efficient electric car you can buy in the United States. How cheap? The i-MiEV’s low-20s price (after a $7,500 tax credit) isn’t much higher than that of a Toyota Prius c, the cheapest, most energy-efficient hybrid.
Toyota’s sales forecast of 220,000 Prius models forecast looks like a lowball number now that Toyota has moved 86,000 examples of the hybrid from January to the end of April. Sales of the Prius V and Prius c have helped the nameplate see a 56 percent rise year over year, and now Toyota is clamoring for more units – but it may not get them.
In the geek world we have “Moore’s law” which states the number of transistors in ICs will double every two years. In the automotive world we have the bloat law. Every generation of a vehicle will get more powerful, heavier and physically larger than its predecessor, ultimately requiring the manufacturer to design an entirely new, smaller car to fill the void left by the original.
Since many of you old-timers see us young folks as self-absorbed brats, I decided I wouldn’t spam TTAC with my “angry young man” rants too often – but today is a special case, with the results of a Deloitte study on Gen Y being released. As you’d guess, they are about as accurate as Toyota’s notion that consumers aged 18-30 would want to buy boxy subcompacts that they can customize.
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