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2012 Toyota Prius c Introduction

The new Toyota Prius c is what happens when a Prius with a gasoline-electric hybrid powerplant is crossed with a compact four-door hatchback Yaris. Prius c is not a Yaris with a different engine, nor just a shortened Prius. And while Toyota didn't actually say so we believe you can say c is for city. Or compact.

The 2012 Prius c delivers the fuel economy and low emissions of eco-oriented hybrids like the bigger Prius in an easier to manage size and substantially lower price point. To wit, Prius c is more than 19 inches shorter than a Prius, 500 pounds lighter, at least $5,000 less, and it rates 53 miles per gallon on the EPA's City cycle. At $4 per gallon, that's 450 miles on a $36 tank.

Dimensionally similar to the Yaris and a couple of hundred pounds heavier, the Prius c has room for four adults or a three-toddler family. The airy cabin has interesting textures and textiles, and standard equipment on the least-expensive version includes automatic climate control and Bluetooth phone book and streaming audio. Upper level trims have connectivity on par with $100,000 luxury sedans.

A sophisticated combination of gasoline engine, electric motors, big and small batteries, variable-speed transmission, controllers and coolers powers the Prius c at economy-car acceleration and excellent economy. One-touch start, select D and off you go; if you use it the on-board fuel data displays can show you how efficient, or inefficient, you are.

Prius c may qualify for a tax incentive or carpool-lane access sticker in some locales.

The Prius c has no direct compact hybrid competitors. At similar pricing you can get a Honda Fit, Chevrolet Sonic, Ford Fiesta, Hyundai Accent, Kia Rio or Volkswagen Golf diesel. Some of these will come close to the highway mileage of the Prius c, but none will match it in the city.

All vehicle specifications, prices and equipment are subject to change without notice. See above for information on purchase financing and lease program expiration dates. Prices and payments (including the amount down payment) do not include tax, titles, tags, documentation charges, emissions testing charges, or other fees required by law or lending organizations. The estimated payments may not include upfront finance charges that must be paid to be eligible for the purchase financing program used to estimate the APR and payments. Listed Annual Percentage Rates are provided for the selected purchase financing or lease programs available on the current date. Program expiration dates reflect currently announced program end dates, but these programs are subject to change at any time.

Lessees will be financially responsible for mileage beyond the elected quantity and for vehicle maintenance and repairs and excessive vehicle wear. Option to purchase at lease end for an amount may be determined at lease signing. Payments may be higher in some states. You may not be able to combine other incentives with the purchase financing or leasing programs presented above. Residency restrictions may apply. See dealer for details.

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