IT’S A BEST BUY BECAUSE:

Prius c offers hybrid fuel economy in a tidy, relatively inexpensive package.

BUT…

Acceleration is merely adequate around town and diminishes to meager at highway speeds.

WORTH NOTING:

This is one of the least-expensive hybrids on the market, and the base price includes automatic transmission.

WHAT IS IT?

Introduced for 2012, the Prius c (for “city”) joined the Prius family as a smaller, less-expensive hybrid aimed at urban dwellers. This 4-door, 5-passenger, front-drive hatchback is 18 inches shorter and 500 lbs lighter than the standard Prius hatchback, and ties its larger sibling as the most fuel-efficient car in the U.S. that doesn’t need to be plugged in.

WHAT’S NEW?

Prius c sees a round of mild cosmetic changes for 2015, including a new front fascia, new taillights, and some upgraded interior materials.

FUEL ECONOMY

The EPA rates the Prius c at 53 mpg city/ 46 mpg highway. In Consumer Guide® testing, a Prius c returned an outstanding 57.7 mpg. Prius c uses regular-grade gas.

VALUE IN CLASS

Prius c is not only one of the least-expensive hybrids on the market, it’s also one of the most frugal. It doesn’t cost much more than some similarly equipped “regular” subcompacts yet gets far better mileage, giving it a strong value equation. Economy-conscious buyers would do well to put it high on their shopping list.

BASE PRICE RANGE (2014) $19,080 – $23,360
BODY STYLES 4-door hatchback
AVAILABLE ENGINES 99-hp, 1.5-liter 4-cyl./ELECTRIC
DRIVE WHEELS Front
BUILT IN Japan
EPA FUEL-ECONOMY RANGE 46-53 MPG

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