The Prius C is Coming to U.S. this Spring, Priced Below $19,000

Toyota/Promo image

53 MPG City/46 MPG Highway/50 MPG Combined

The baby of the Prius family, known only as the Prius C, is still in utero, but the gestation phase should soon be over and Toyota's due date is in the spring of 2012. It should have a MSRP below $19,000 (which could mean $18,995...) and get an EPA fuel economy rating of 53 MPG city/46 MPG highway/50 MPG combined, which would give it the highest city fuel economy of any vehicle without a plug, beating its Prius parent.

Toyota/Promo image

C is for City

Compared to the regular 3rd generation Prius, the Prius C is shorter by 19.1 inches, and lighter by 542 pounds, making it more nimble and better adapted to urban driving (though it's even better to walk, bike, or take transit if you are in the city).

As expected, the Prius C is powered by the same technology as the larger Prius, which Toyota calls Hybrid Synergy Drive (HSD). The whole system is downsized, though. Rather than a 1.8-liter gas engine, the C has a 1.5-liter. The electric motor is a 45kW rather than 60kW, and the total system output is 99 hp rather than 134 hp.

The battery is still 144-volt nickel-metal hydride, so no lithium-ion yet.

© Jacob Gordon

"Prius c offers three distinct drive modes: Normal, Eco, and EV mode. Eco mode reduces overall energy consumption by governing climate control and throttle to improve vehicle efficiency. Under certain conditions, the EV mode allows the Prius c to be driven solely by electric power for a short distance (under 1 mile) while remaining below 25 mph."

Via Toyota

See also: Meet the 2013 Prius C Hybrid (50+ MPG in City Driving)

More from the 2012 Detroit Auto Show.

Tags: Auto show | Hybrid Cars

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