Following the U.S. debut of the all-new 2012 Prius c at the 2012 North American International Auto Show here, Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc., plans to introduce Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive to the subcompact segment.
The letter “c” represents “city” in the Prius c name. Designed to function as an urban-friendly vehicle with an engaging driving experience, hatchback utility, and a city fuel economy rating of 53 mpg, Prius c offers the highest city mpg rating of any vehicle without a plug. The all-new Prius c joins the Prius Family, which includes the third generation Prius Liftback, the versatile new Prius v and the Prius Plug-in Hybrid, which will debut in early 2012.
Beginning with the first generation fourteen years ago, over two million Prius units have been sold worldwide. Prius remains the world’s premier eco-vehicle brand, and has made great strides establishing consumer trust in hybrid technology. With Prius c, Toyota will make the market’s most proven hybrid technology available to subcompact car shoppers with a starting MSRP below $19,000.
A gateway product into the Prius Family, the new Prius c will find favor with younger shoppers seeking a smartly designed, fuel-efficient subcompact car packing advanced drivetrain and in-car technology. The Prius c will offer engaging driving dynamics with superior urban maneuverability.
The scale of the all-new Prius c becomes apparent when compared to the familiar proportions of the midsize Prius Liftback. The Prius c is smaller and lighter than its midsize Prius stable mate with 19.1 inches less length (157.3 vs. 176.4 inches OAL) and 542 lbs. less weight than the Prius Liftback (2,500 vs. 3,042 lbs.). In adapting the Hybrid Synergy Drive to the smaller Prius c platform, each of the system’s major components were re-designed to reduce weight, scale, and improve efficiency.
The Prius c will be available in four trim levels offering desirable features, equipment, and enhanced capability giving consumers a compelling value proposition. Prius c provides many standard features such as automatic climate control, tilt-telescopic steering wheel with audio, climate, Multi-Information Display and Bluetooth® hands-free controls, and remote keyless entry with illuminated entry among a long list of standard equipment.
The Prius c’s effective packaging design strategically locates key drivetrain components within the chassis to help optimize interior space and handling. The compact gasoline engine, transaxle and power-control unit are optimally placed within the vehicle to help enhance weight distribution and lower the center of gravity. In addition, the hybrid battery and fuel tank are positioned together beneath the rear seat, ideally distributing their mass within the wheelbase to improve weight distribution to help enhance handling. By locating the battery and fuel tank below the rear seat, the Prius c is able to offer 104 cu. ft. of interior volume (87.4 cu. ft. passenger volume, 17.1 cu. ft. cargo volume).
The Prius c’s Hybrid Synergy Drive system integrates the operation of components that include a gasoline engine, an electric motor within a Continuously Variable Transaxle, a nickel-metal hydride battery, a power control unit (inverter), a DC-DC converter, a step-up converter and a hybrid control computer. The hybrid control computer governs the seamless application of gasoline engine and electric power depending on driving demands and selected drive mode.
The Prius c relies on a SULEV (Tier 2 Bin 3) rated 1.5-liter in-line, four-cylinder gasoline engine that utilizes an Atkinson cycle to increase efficiency. This engine produces 73 horsepower and 82 lb.-ft. of torque, contributing to a total hybrid system output of 99 hp.
The Prius c’s hybrid system utilizes a 144-volt nickel-metal hydride battery pack that has been located under the rear passenger seat, near the center of the vehicle, and low in the chassis to help improve the center of gravity.
Prius c offers three distinct drive modes: Normal, Eco, and EV mode. Eco mode reduces overall energy consumption by governing climate control and throttle to improve vehicle efficiency. Under certain conditions, the EV mode allows the Prius c to be driven solely by electric power for a short distance (under 1 mile) while remaining below 25 mph.
The Prius c’s body structure makes extensive use of lightweight, high-strength steel to help reduce vehicle mass and improve fuel economy. The strategic use of high-tensile-strength steel contributes to the vehicle’s ability to absorb and disperse impact energies helping enhance occupant safety. The high level of torsional rigidity afforded by the Prius c body structure allows the suspension to be more optimally tuned for ride and handling.
The front suspension uses a Macpherson strut design, and the rear rides on a tuned torsion beam. The coil-spring and shock-absorber characteristics of the Prius c have been tuned to enhance handling, flat turning, and smooth ride comfort. Prius c is available with 15- or 16-inch wheel-and-tire combinations. The 15-inch wheels are available in steel with wheel cover for base model or in aluminum alloy for elevated trim levels. Prius c models equipped with the available 16-inch aluminum alloy wheels enjoy enhanced handling thanks to a faster steering ratio (2.28 turns lock to lock), which helps quicken the vehicle’s dynamic response.
The Prius c exterior design helps project a fun, youthful attitude for this all-new addition to the Prius family, while offering excellent aerodynamic performance. Extensive aerodynamic features were engineered into the Prius c to help achieve a 0.28 coefficient of drag. Adding character to this subcompact, the Prius c’s lower-body styling is wider below the beltline, featuring sculpted rear flares to help express a sturdy, athletic stance that communicates a more agile driving experience.
The Prius c’s available exterior colors include vibrant hues that are unique and expressive. The available colors for Prius c include three new colors – Habanero, Moonglow, and Summer Rain Metallic – along with Blue Streak Metallic, Absolutely Red, Black Sand Pearl, Magnetic Gray Metallic, Classic Silver Metallic, and Super White.
The Prius c interior design seeks to create a space that is futuristic yet passenger friendly. Using black as a basic interior color, the door trim, seat surfaces, and instrument panel feature treatments in lighter colors to help create contrast.
The 2012 Prius c will offer three audio system configurations. A base audio system features either four or six speakers, depending on the model, and includes AM/FM CD player with MP3/WMA playback capability, auxiliary audio jack, USB port with iPod® connectivity, hands-free phone capability, phone book access, and music streaming via Bluetooth® wireless technology.
The Display Audio with Navigation and Entune™ has six speakers and augments capability with a 6.1-inch touchscreen, SiriusXM™ Satellite Radio capability (with 3-month trial subscription to XM Select package), HD Radio™ with iTunes® tagging, and advanced voice recognition. Toyota’s Entune™ multi-media system functions through select smart phones’ interface that brings applications such as Bing and Pandora® to the vehicle audio display. It also features real time information such as traffic, weather, fuel prices, sports, and stocks.
The Prius c is equipped with nine airbags strategically located to help protect the driver and passengers in the event of certain types of accidents. The new 2012 Prius c, like allToyota models, is equipped with the standard Star Safety System™, which includes Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC), Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA), and Smart Stop Technology (SST).