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Published on April 17th, 2012 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez


Toyota PRIUS ‘c’, we test drive it as a daily driver

Toyota’s latest hybrid, the Prius c is a bold move by the company but one that seems to be paying off already as sales are booming. The car has proven to be a popular new model in Malaysia and when prices start at RM97,000 for a small car with 7-airbags and with extras normally reserved for cars breaking past RM100k, it’s easy to see why. Toyota has always had great success with its small cars, thanks to good reliability, used values and after sales. The Prius c is an all new product targeting a new segment of customer and it is smaller than Toyota’s very popular Vios. It is a compact city car which is built in Japan with a high standard yet offering very frugal driving with its hybrid technology. Its closest competitor would be the Honda Jazz hybrid which is some RM3k cheaper.

One thing is clear, Toyota knows how to build a solid small car, because the Prius c does a lot of things soundly and only a few things poorly. It’s remarkably well equipped. It gets a keyless proximity entry, 7 airbags, climate control and is powered by a rather zippy 1.5-litre engine mated to a hybrid battery system. I will have to admit that I’m not a huge fan of the styling, but I do like that it’s a relatively original design. Its rear overhang is a little bit short at the rear. There is keyless GO and Ignition. It’s simple but clever system that detects when the device is nearby, and allows you to unlock and start the car without taking it out of your pocket. It even works if you keep the key fob in a handbag.

Cruising away from Toyota’s Shah Alam headquarters I found the car to be fairly lively with good engine response and a snappy little 7-speed CVT gearbox. It’s easy to drive and we sit quite high which gives the driver a good view of the road ahead which is slightly better than some small cars in the market due to this slightly elevated seating. My first task was to see how the car performed in the city. It was great when ducking in and out of highway traffic and when we hit Petaling Jaya city traffic the Prius c started its seamless automated stop-start nature of commuting and this proved to be fairly easygoing on the fuel usage on the 1st day of test.

The 4-cylinder petrol engine generates 74PS, which is pretty much the industry standard for an engine of this size, but at times it feels more energetic than this figure suggests because the car itself is relatively light and the electric motor generates 61PS for added zest. Steering the Prius c is not difficult thanks to the light power steering and with a tight turning circle it makes U-turns easy in the older neighborhoods of Petaling Jaya. In city and urban scenarios the impressive things about the Prius c is it’s great for parking, good for navigating tight city traffic, easy for general commuting and it’s super fuel efficient so trips to the petrol station is much less in a month.

In my opinion the suspension is perhaps a little on the soft side, which means you will feel the car’s body floating momentarily when driving over a pothole and the uneven surfaces of Klang Valley. The flipside of this relatively soft suspension is that the car is not a sports hatch and instead it is a low fuel sipping commuter car.

After a weekend in Klang Valley we realize how frugal this Prius c is but the purchase decision is not only for its fuel sipping qualities only but also for its long list of safety features and good build quality.

Toyota PRIUS ‘c’ Specifications
Engine: 4-cylinder VVT-i Displacement: 1496cc Max engine power: 74PS @ 4800rpm Max engine torque: 111Nm @ 4400rpm
Gearbox: E-CVT auto
Max motor output: 61PS
Max motor torque: 169Nm
Total system output: 101PS
Top speed : 170km/h
Selling Price: From RM97,000.00

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