2015 Toyota Prius C: Toyota’s Affordable Hybrid Gets New Updates for 2015 [review]


The 2015 Toyota Prius C is Sleek, Roomy and Affordable

2015 Toyota Prius C Hybrid
2015 Toyota Prius C Hybrid


Engine/Motor Power Torque Transmission MSRP Price As-Tested Rating
1.5L inline 4-cylinder 73 hp @ 4,800 rpm 82 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm ECVT $24,475 $24,475 Buy it!
Permanent Magnet AC Synchronous Motor 60 hp (45kW) 125 lb-ft Max DC520 Volts (motor) 25.9 hp/19.3kW nickel-metal hyrdrde battery Max DC144 Volts (battery) 99 hp @ 6,000 rpm (net horsepower)


The Toyota Prius has been among the top-selling cars in California. There are various Prius models, but the entry level Prius C (for “City”) shines especially during city driving—and also does well on highways

A good 2015 Prius C model is the $24,475 Prius C “Four,” which is the top-line version. There also are the Prius C One, Two and Three trim levels, with list prices ranging from $19,540 to $21,765. All are four-door hatchbacks with front-wheel drive.

2015 Toyota Prius C Hybrid

Power comes from a 1.5-liter 99-horsepower gas engine and battery pack put below the rear seat so it doesn’t take up space and contributes to the highly aerodynamic car’s low center of gravity.

Acceleration is lively in town and good on freeways/highways, where the 65-75 m.p.h. passing time was faster than I expected. The Prius C generates 99 horsepower but that’s enough because this car isn’t overly heavy at approximately 2,500 pounds. However, while the interior is quiet, the drivetrain is rather noisy during hard acceleration.

All Prius C models use a responsive, smooth electronically controlled continuously variable (ECVT) automatic transmission.

2015 Toyota Prius C Hybrid interior

The ride is fairly supple, but some may feel it’s too firm on bumpy roads. My test car was generally fun to drive, although the quick steering felt dead, proving little road feel.

Handling of my test Prius C was good, with virtually no body lean when sweeping through fast curves. Helping here were the car’s optional 50-series (versus standard 65-series) tires on 16-inch (versus 15-inch) wheels. The wider the tire, the better the grip.

The brakes on earlier gas/electric cars felt odd, but they feel normal on the Prius C.

Estimated fuel economy is an impressive 53 miles per gallon in the city and 46 on highways. There’s decent room for four tall occupants, or for five in a pinch. Wheelbase is 100.4 inches, with wheels pulled to the far corners of the car for more interior room and better stability.

2015 Toyota Prius C Hybrid interior

Gauges are easy to read, but using the dashboard screen takes some practice. I would have preferred some simple dashboard knobs to, say, control the sound system. Front cupholders are set too low under the dashboard.

The Prius C Four, which I tested, is the best-equipped. Standard features include a power slide/tilt sunroof, integrated backup camera and heated front seats, which provide unusually good support.

Not that the other Prius C models aren’t decently equipped.

Even the Prius C One has power mirrors with turn signal indicators, 6.1-inch touch-screen display, AM/FM/CD player, MP3/WMA playback capability, four speakers, auxiliary audio jack, USB 2.0 port with iPod connectivity and control, voice recognition, hands-free phone capability, 3.5-inch TFT multi-information display with fuel economy and cruising range information and music streaming via Bluetooth wireless technology. There’s also four-way adjustable front seats, tilt/telescopic wheel with steering wheel controls and remote keyless entry.

2015 Toyota Prius C Hybrid

The fancier C Two adds a piano black front grille, soft-touch interior accents, six speakers, fabric-trimmed two-tone seats, auxiliary audio jack, 6-way adjustable driver’s seat and–importantly–60/40 split fold-down rear seatbacks.

The cargo area under the padded hatch, which has a low, wide opening, is only moderately large. But the split rear seatbacks sit flat when shoved forward and greatly increase the cargo area.

The C Three adds a push-button start and even more electronic gadgets, including a 6.1-inch high resolution touch-screen with split screen display. Options include a tilt/slide sunroof with a sliding sunshade.

Safety features on all models include air bags and easily buckled safety belts.

The Prius C shows that Toyota is an old hand when it comes to well-designed gas/electric cars.

2015 Toyota Prius C Hybrid

2015 Toyota Prius C Specs:

  • Engine: 1.5L DOHC in-line 4-cylinder
  • Power: 73 hp @ 4,800 rpm
  • Torque: 82 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm
  • Electric motor: permanent magnet AC synchronous, maximum DC520 volts
  • Power: 60 hp (45kW)
  • Torque: 125 lb-ft
  • Battery: 25.9hp/19.3 kW nickel-metal hydride, maximum DC144 volts
  • Combined output: 99 hp @ 6,000 rpm
  • Transmission: ECVT
  • Curb weight: 2,500 lb
  • EPA-estimated fuel economy ( city/hwy/combined mpg): 53 / 46 / 50
  • Acceleration 0-60 mph: 11.5 sec.
  • Top speed: 105 mph