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by Matt Campbell

The facelifted 2015 Toyota Prius C has become the nation’s most affordable hybrid car, with revised pricing across the Japanese brand’s two-model city car line-up.

Revealed at the 2014 Los Angeles auto show, the new-look Toyota Prius C retains the same overall body structure and hybrid components (a 1.5-litre petrol engine producing 54kW/111Nm combined to a 45kW/169Nm electric motor), but gets revised exterior styling, an updated interior and is said to adopt improved driving dynamics.

The price has changed, too – the Prius C base model now kicks off at $22,990 plus on-road costs while the top-end Prius C i-Tech is $25,990 plus costs –  a $1000 drop for each model compared to their predecessors. Following the demise of the Honda Jazz Hybrid, that makes the Toyota model the most affordable petrol-electric proposition on the market.

A more aggressive front-end encompasses a hexagonal grille and revised headlight structure – the assemblies of which use halogen in the base model and bi-LED lamps for the i-Tech.

Toyota says the new front bumper helps the car look “wider and more planted”, while further changes include new wheel covers for the base model (15-inch steel wheels) where the i-Tech retains its 15-inch alloys. Both versions have a full-size spare wheel.

The rear-end sees restyled tail-lights, now using LEDs, while there are three new colours to choose – Tango (orange), Aura (light blue) and Zest (lime, pictured).

TOY_Priusc_i-tech_150202p8494hrIn the cabin the Prius C has a darker overall finish, including a new fabric finish for the base model in black with blue highlights, while the top-spec model gets dark grey seats with silver stitching, that is also carried over to the steering wheel. That theme continues, with the base model carrying blue highlights on the dash and doors, where the i-Tech has silver trim.

The i-Tech also gets gloss black surrounds and a soft-topped dashboard, and both models now get bigger central dials and switches. Both spec models have climate control (single-zone).

Both models get a reverse-view camera, seven airbags, and emergency brake signalling, while the dash readout now includes Toyota’s “Touch Tracer Display” (as previously seen on the larger Prius) that replicates steering wheel button presses on-screen to reduce “driver eye movement for better concentration”.

TOY_Priusc_i-tech_150203p8834hrThe Prius C gets a standard 6.1-inch touchscreen display unit (which acts as the monitor for the reverse-view camera) with Bluetooth phone and audio streaming and USB input, as well as keyless entry and push-button start, new tilt and reach adjustment for the steering wheel and a rear spoiler.

The Prius C i-Tech adds the aforementioned alloy wheels and LED headlights, tinted windows, an upgraded steering wheel, larger rear spoiler and satellite navigation with live traffic updates.

Toyota claims to have “enhanced handling and ride comfort” of the Prius C, with retuned front and rear shock absorbers and additional spot welds in the rear wheel housings enhancing body stiffness combining to sharpen up steering response and improve cornering, stability and bump control.

TOY_Priusc_i-tech_150203p8922hrThe Prius C remains one of the most efficient cars on the market, with combined cycle fuel consumption of 3.9 litres per 100 kilometres, while it works better in the city, using a claimed 3.7L/100km. It can run on 91RON fuel, too.

2015 Toyota Prius C pricing (plus on-road costs):
Prius C –  $22,990
Prius C i-Tech – $25,990




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