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by Jez Spinks

The Toyota Prius C has been launched in Australia, with a $23,990 starting price making it the most affordable hybrid car on sale in the country.

The city-sized Prius C, which at 3995mm long is about the size of Toyota’s own Yaris on which it is based, significantly undercuts the previous cheapest petrol-electric model, the $29,990 Honda Insight.

Toyota’s smallest hybrid is also notably cheaper than its more famous namesake, the regular Prius that costs from $33,990. As reported by CarAdvice earlier this year, however, the Prius C isn’t any more fuel efficient than its bigger and heavier sibling.

The Prius C has an identical official fuel consumption figure of 3.9 litres per 100km – and CO2 emissions of 90g/km – though importantly the smaller Prius uses less petrol in urban areas (3.7L/100km v 3.9) according to the government test cycle.

The apparent anomaly is a result of the Prius C’s smaller engine having to do more work at the higher speeds demanded of the test’s Extra Urban cycle.

Toyota says the Prius C produces a combined power output of 74kW from its 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and electric motor, compared with the 100kW delivered by the regular Prius’s 1.8-litre engine and electric assistance.

As with the Prius, the Prius C sends its power to the front wheels via a continuously variable transmission.

The suspension comprises struts at the front and a torsion beam rear end.

At 3995mm long, the Prius C is 110mm longer than a Yaris, but it’s the same width (1695mm) and a bit shorter (1455 v 1510mm). The hybrid city car’s wheelbase is 40mm longer at 2550mm.

The base model Prius C weighs 1120kg, making it 85kg heavier than a Yaris five-door auto but 245kg lighter than the Prius.

Toyota says the Prius C offers more interior space for both front and rear occupants than the Yaris.

The Toyota Prius C is offered in two trim levels, both of which are equipped quite generously.

The entry-level, $23,990 Prius C (second image from top) comes with keyless entry and engine start, a 6.1-inch touchscreen audio display, Bluetooth/USB/iPod connectivity, CD player, reversing camera, 3.5-inch information display, cruise control, foglights and 15-inch wheels (with a full-size spare).

The Prius C i-Tech (third picture down), which costs $26,990 before on-road charges are added, introduces further features that include satellite navigation, LED headlights, electrically retractable side mirrors, rear spoiler, higher-grade trim and upholstery, and 15-inch alloy wheels.

The cheaper Prius model will be an important part of Toyota’s ambition to sell more than a million hybrids annually.

“Prius C is further evidence of Toyota’s commitment to achieving greater market penetration for hybrids by making this core technology more attainable for a wider audience,” said Matthew Callachor, Toyota Australia’s executive director sales and marketing.

Toyota, though, says supply restriction will limit local sales of the Prius C to about 1000 for 2012. The company says it has received more than 120,000 orders for the model in Japan, where it’s known as the Aqua.

The Toyota Prius family will expand further in 2012 in Australia, with the arrival later this year of a hybrid model at the other end of the spectrum – the bigger Prius V that brings seven seats and more boot space.

CarAdvice is at the local launch of the Toyota Prius C and will post a full first-drive review later today.

Click to read CarAdvice’s review of the Toyota Prius V.

  • garl

    That’s got to be the uglies steering wheel i’ve ever seen, looks like a robot face from futurama. The cabin is dark and dull. I like the the exterior and the price.

    • tdg66

      Yep that cabin is truly ugly.

      • garl

        And the hazard button looks awkard where it is, so much flat uninspired plastic

    • karl

      I’ve seen uglier.

  • Jerrycan

    Give Toyota credit they are full of surprises.
    This is quite remarkable pricing and a far more sensible and versatile city car than the Smart car.
    Look forward to the test drive.
    At this price, I wonder if it uses the electric powered airconditioning of their other hybrids?

    • Blair Waldorf.

      All Toyota hybrids come with electric aircon compressors, so yes it would.

  • Blair Waldorf.

    I actually really like it, and it’s very well priced! It’s the final nail in the coffin for the Honda Insight… although if i were Toyota i wouldn’t have called it a Prius in the aus market, it’s not based on the Prius platform, nor does it look like one. They should’ve called it ‘Aqua’ like it’s named in Japan as the Prius doesn’t have a good image in Australia.

    • Sumpguard

      ….and that’s probably why they built it . However I doubt it will be the final nail in the coffin as you suggest. I saw my first insight taxi the other night and at 10 grand cheaper than the prius I am wondering why it took them so long.

         The Prius C if it is similar in size to the yaris as suggested is far too small to be considered for taxi fleets so the insight may still have a market when the rest of the taxi owners cotton on.

         I think it is great however that toyota have finally woken up that overcharging for mediocrity is NOT a formula for fending off the onslaught from Korea. They have a hybrid finally that is now not priced  exclusive to the latte club! 

      • Guest

        Maybe it might have something to do with servicing costs, but I’m just as stumped as you are.

      • Blair Waldorf

         The full size Prius is only $4,000 more expensive than an Insight, and judging by comparative reviews the Prius is miles better to drive, more refined, better equipped and a larger, more powerful car than the Insight. Honda’s admitted they missed the mark with the Insight, it’s selling very, very poorly in all markets. In the US, EU,
        Japan (where 20% of cars sold are hybrids and the Prius is the top
        selling car), it never reaches sales targets.

  • John

    This makes the mid and top range Yaris models look a bit overpriced. Shame about the butt-ugly steering wheel and the stupid dashboard arrangement, but you’d have to consider one of these over a YRX 5 door auto.

  • Guest

    what do you mean Prius doesn’t have a good image? Prius is now a brand with at least 3 different models. Its called Prius everywhere but Japan.
    Does anyone know what the range is on pure electric or does it not work like that?I also heard there’s going to be a plug in version so you may wait if you wish.

    This car has sold out everywhere so on every market that matters, this is a huge success.

    • Shak

      No idea for this Prius C but for the full fat model you can get approximately up to 2km and only up to a speed of 35km/h so in reality barely anything.

  • gt86.com.au

    good job Toyota.

  • true aussie

    what ? you can buy a full size  prius in US for 29,000 .and we have high value Aus doller then US .camery price in US is 23 000 .they still ripping  off  Australian people  .thanks toyota 

    • gigi

      That’s hardly exclusive to Toyota. Pretty much all brands rip us off.

    • Moanotherbeer

      You may feel that the price of this prius C  rips you off but BMW, MERC, AUDI, PORSCHE, VW clobber you to death.

      Those 5 German car dealers ought to be given “death” sentence.

  • Guest

    That is a decent amount of car for the price.

  • Pauly

    Far Out! The price is very good and its very well equiped.

    So Honda Australia…your move…

  • Pauly

    Honda Oz should be conisidering these:

    – Bring Hybrid Jazz to Australia at a competitive price
    – Lower the price of the CR-Z and Insight.

    Honda Australia have the potential to go well here:

    – Jazz Hybrid
    – Civic Hybrid
    – Insight
    – CR-Z

    They are just priced so wrong its not funny.

    • Blair Waldorf

      Honda’s hybrids are ridiculously priced when you consider they use a much simpler, cheaper (and inferior) system to Toyota, with smaller, cheaper batteries. It’s crazy that the Civic Hybrid is priced the same as the much larger, more powerful and better equipped Camry Hybrid.

      If i were Honda i’d change things around, making the…
      Jazz Hybrid at $22k
      Insight at $25 to $29k for the base and top models
      The CRZ at $29 for the base and $34 for the luxury
      and the Civic Hybrid at $29k


    How incredibly dull… I suppose the cardigan wearing tree huggers will be in love with this and the lie that is hybrid cars. 

    • c3vzn

      What are you on about? It is obvious that thought has been put into the exterior, it looks nowhere near as dull as previous Toyotas. And that interior is quite unique too.

      • MINI_CS

        Sales driods should not be allowed

        • TG

          That’s alright Ian, you stick with your Falcadores mate.

          • MINI_CS

            No Fords or Deawoo’s in my Garage and most certainly no dull white goods like Toyota. Sales driods should be required to declare  themselves as they can’t be objective. 

          • jr

            I’m a sales person , wish we all knew who you were so we could make your next new car purchase as difficult, time consuming and expensive as possible.

          • Guest2

             Stop embarrassing yourself by trolling.

          • Ian-Must-Behave

            @Ian get a life & go back to your basement under your Mum’s house, no-one cares if you think it’s dull, certainly not buyers of this car who’ll steer clear of your boring useless feelings anyways.  This will sell, as if Toyota don’t know that before they built it, as ‘jr’ says we’d all like to know where you are and you’d soon change what you say – easy to hide behind a computer isn’t it…

          • MINI_CS

            Must be a slow day in car sales land the sales driods are on the attack. If you are Toyota sales driod you will never get the chance to make a sale difficult and with an attitude like yours you mustn’t sell many Kelvinators 

          • Sumpguard

               Stop picking on Ian please . He wasn’t the only one duped when he signed up for his Lada Samara.

               I think toyota will do very well with this car. It sits in the price range for bare bones rwd SUV’s so is bound to get some buyers .

        • srl

          So, what? You’re the only person who can voice their opinion? If anyone objects, they’re labelled a ‘sales droid’?

    • Guest

      Oh, I get it. You were one of the early adopters, and now that Toyota has totally made it mainstream, you can’t be seen dead in a Prius in your cardigan, which you rocked first by the way. It’s okay. We still recognise your hipster cred.

      • MINI_CS

        Oh the Attack of the Sales Driods… Watch it boys or I will call in Darth dont buy a car Vader. Clearly Toyota dealers must be having a slow day.

        • Ivan

          Oh the attack of the Honda Sales Driods… 
          Watch it boys or I will call in Darth dont buy a car Vader. Clearly Honda dealers must be having a slow day.

          • MINI_CS

            Did a Honda sales driod steal some sales from you? 

        • Welcome

          You stop visiting our showrooms, we’ll stop trying to sell you our cars. You don’t see the connection?

          • MINI_CS

            Let me be clear there is zero chance of seeing me in a Toyota dealership.

          • Welcome

            Then why do I keep finding you in the comment threads about Toyotas?

          • MINI_CS

            Mr Welcome.. People need to know this Hybrid stuff is an expensive con job. If we left it to the sales driods to pump their bland brand then there would no balance.  

    • Led

      Wow, you have an unhealthy obsession with Toyota. Snap out of it. You’re making the rest of us who like REAL cars look bad.

      • MINI_CS

        This is more about sale driods with nothing better to do. Toyota’s are dull but car sales driods in general switch camps and points of view more often than some people change undies. Toyota driod one day the next day selling Daewoo’s and rubbishing Toyota’s there is a real issue with ethics in the cars sales game. 

        • Guest

          Sounds more like you have nothing better to do and to be honest, your comments are a bit dull too.

  • 440 R/T Charger

    Very aggressive pricing…just as they did in US and Europe…Toyota does look serious to win back business this year.

  • Pauly

    The new Civic Hybrid does use Lithium batteries now, so it is abit more advanced then the batteries used in the Prius’s.

    However the IMA System in Honda’s is rubbish compared to Toyota and Lexus’s Hybrid Synergy Drive.

    Honda Australia have been caught with their pants down again.

    I agree with the above comment:

    – Jazz Hybrid at $22k
    – Insight at $25 to $29k for the base and top models
    – The CRZ at $29 for the base and $34 for the luxury (maybe even abit cheaper, its a Veloster competitor remember?)
    – Civic Hybrid at $29k

    Well done Toyota Australia, a very well priced Hybrid for the masses, I can see this being a big hit!

  • Westie

    For such dull vehicles, Prius (Prii?), and Toyotas in general, seem to fire up the passions of people on this site like none other.
    Except maybe Golfschwien and his/her VWs!

  • Jinnzhang

    I think it is fantastic.

  • Bachman Turner Overdrive

    Worthy effort on features and pricing Toyota… Why does it have to look so bad both inside and out? Please hire some decent design talent!

  • save it for the track

    I have never thought of any Toyota in recent times as worthy of consideration. This new smaller Prius, being slightly larger than Yaris (and in my mind to be compared in that manner) seems like a good thing for its intended use. I would be interested on the drive away price, and if it will have the Toyota fixed-price servicing. I have already found fuel tank capacity and cargo volume elsewhere and when compared to Yaris and the like seems quite competitive. It will be interesting to see what actual fuel consumption on these will be in real world testing. I have no doubt these will sell out, and I am surprised to say, rightly so it would seem.

  • Sad Days….

    Wonderful to see that motoring enthusiasts are alive and well in Australia!
    Someone brings out an overpriced city car that works like any reasonable whitegood should and you lot get excited….. Mac Strut Front End, Torsion Rear End, Average handling, polarising looks inside and coma inducing outside design and it gets more applause than enything else has on this site.
    Such sad, sad times that a battery powered car not much better to drive than your sons pedal car makes “Enthusiasts Happy” yet anything affordable, powerful & rear drive is a Dinosour and should be burried. Anything with character (characters all have flaws, look in the mirror) is unreliable and just a rip off.
    Enjoy your Fisher Paykel cars peeps, also dont forget your pocket protectors whilst doing your accountancy. Thank you for conserving fuel for I need it to run my Clevo Powered hard top & GTV 105 Wog Box so I may smill during my Journey……

    • Wayne Swan

      Thanks for paying more fuel tax to fund out roads. Love Wayne

  • Altezza

    Toyota will have a new winner! Did not expect $23990 starting price, I was like expecting $2000 more. Well done Toyota, you’ve done a courageous move for this car. I might consider getting it to replace Yaris.

  • save it for the track

    A car such as the Prius C is not about handling. It is for tootling around the city and in crawling traffic. It seems well suited to that task. I’m a constant critic of Toyota, but at this price point it seems well priced and well suited to its task. So long as people don’t try to say it’s some sort of alrounder and start making unrealistic and fanciful comparisons.

    • ??????????

      However, for those that like the “Green Aspect” of Hybrids, there are other greener more efficient modes of transport for tootling around the city and in crawling traffic. Whats wrong with Busses, Trams (for some), light rail, scooters, pushbikes, oh and that most efficient form of inner city transport, FEET. All of these are actually more efficient, more economical, more enviromentally friendly modes allowing you to reduce your family vehicles to a single car for the  whole family.

  • K20A

    Was genuinely excited when looking at the car’s front..  could be the first Toyobrids with a style injection.. then saw the rear of car and a little bit dinner came back up my oesophagus. Those tail lights.. gawd!

    Interior styling is pure Toyota (hard, grey plastic abound), topped with industry’s ugliest steering wheel.

    Price is good and dimensions are spot on.

    If I was held at knifepoint to pick a Toyobrids, guess I’ll pick this.

  • F1

    This is the perfect city car.. Fairly spacious, extremley fuel efficient & comfortable..

  • MisterZed

    3995mm is *not* the same size as a Yaris.  Yaris is 3885mm long – much shorter.