Toyota Prius C 1.5 Auto Review
Vitamin C supplement

Story by Mark Yeo Photos by Raymond Lai
25 Mar 2012

With the Prius C, Toyota is finally offering a more affordable hybrid model than the Prius, crucial at a time when fuel prices are on the up once again.

Introduction, styling

Fuel prices are on the up once again thanks to sky-high crude prices, which in turn is extremely bad news to motorists and car owners. For some high mileage drivers and car owners, it might make good sense to swap their existing cars for more fuel economical ones despite the crazy COE prices.

The choices for fuel sipping cars out there are almost limitless – there are relatively fuel saving petrol-powered models like the Honda Jazz and Volkswagen Polo as well as diesel-powered models and part electric, part petrol-powered hybrid models. While diesel sales are limited here somewhat by the additional diesel tax imposed on all diesel passenger cars, hybrids have enjoyed better success with car buyers here. The European brands are finally embracing hybrid technology and have introduced several hybrid models here in recent months but it is the Japanese brands that can be considered to be pioneers of hybrid technologies, with both Honda and Toyota offering hybrid models here since over a decade ago.

While hybrid versions of Toyota and Lexus models are popping all over the place like acne on a teenager’s face, the Prius is considered to be the hybrid Toyota. It is after all, the brand’s first hybrid model and its only purpose-built hybrid model. With the Prius moniker so synonymous as the hybrid Toyota, it was only natural for the Japanese automaker to use the Prius name as a sub-brand for a new range of hybrid models derived from the third generation Prius. The first Prius derived model to be unveiled was the Prius V mid-sized MPV, also known as the Prius Alpha in Japan and the Prius + in Europe. The Prius V was unveiled together with a five-door hatchback concept model called the Prius C at the 2011 Detroit Motorshow. The Prius C, also known as the Aqua in Japan is now a production reality and was recently introduced in Singapore as the first of the Prius-derived hybrid Toyotas.

According to Toyota, one of the core objectives of the Prius C was to offer more customers to experience owning and driving a hybrid car, hence its relatively affordable price tag. The Prius C then, can be considered to be Toyota’s mass market, affordable hybrid car like the Insight is to Honda’s hybrid range.

Outwardly, the Prius C looks rather less quirky than the Prius as well as the Honda Insight, which is a good thing indeed, especially for those who prefer a normal looking hatchback rather than the somewhat weird, streamlined body shape of the Prius and Insight. Despite the relatively conventional two-box profile though, Toyota claims that the Prius C’s body is aerodynamically efficient with a drag coefficient value of just Cd 0.28.

Up front, the Prius C features a neat and uncluttered nose with clean and simple surfaces for aerodynamic efficiency. The uncluttered look continues along the sides while the upright and squarish rear looks very much like the Daihatsu Sirion, Perodua Myvi, Toyota Passo triplet’s rumps. The Prius C’s overall styling can hardly be described as exciting or innovative. In fact I would describe it to be rather unremarkable and unimaginative looking.

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Engine Capacity 1496cc
Engine Type Inline 4
Compression Ratio 13.4:1
Bore x Stroke (75.0 x 84.7)mm
Power 100bhp @ 4800rpm
Torque 111Nm @ 3600rpm
Power to Weight 89.3 bhp per ton


Acceleration 11.5s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 170 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 25.6 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 4 -speed CVT
Drive Type FF
Steering Electric


Body Type 5 Door Hatch
(L x W x H)
(3995 x 1695 x 1450) mm
Wheelbase 2550 mm
Turning Circle 4.8 metres
Kerb Weight 1120 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity 36 L


Brakes (Front) Ventilated Discs
Brakes (Rear) Drums