Toyota shrinks the Prius for city dwellers, young-at-heart

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Derek loves nothing more than punching a remote location into a GPS, queuing up some music and heading out on a long drive, so it's a good thing he's in charge of CNET Australia's Car Tech channel.

The Prius family is about to get bigger and smaller at the same time; just in time for the LA and Tokyo motor shows, Toyota has revealed the smaller, more compact version.

Toyota Prius C

Think Yaris sized, and you'd be about right.
(Credit: Toyota)

Toyota has been openly keen to diversify its Prius line of hybrid vehicles. In time, we'll see a hybrid people mover and a plug-in hybrid version, in addition to the standard Prius hatchback. To that list, we can now add a new downsized model that the auto maker thinks will be great for the tight quarters of capital cities, and as an entry point for young drivers interested in hybridisation.

We've known that this was coming, as we've already seen the decidedly different concept car. Now, however, we finally know what the production model of the Prius C will look like when it hits showroom floors.

Toyota Prius C

Unlike its regular Prius, the Prius C features a more traditional hatchback profile.
(Credit: Toyota)

The Prius C measures some 50cm shorter than the standard-sized third-generation Prius model. For a better sense of scale, parking the baby Prius next to a five-door Toyota Yaris reveals that the two hatchbacks are about the same size. The hybrid is about 8cm longer from nose to tail, with a similar increase in wheelbase, but features a roofline that sits about 8cm lower.

Inside, the Prius C sticks more or less with the asymmetrical-dashboard-with-eyebrow-display set-up that recent Prii have showcased. It seems to feature both the Touch Tracer steering wheel controls and "eco" plastic of its bigger brothers, but it eschews the dashboard drive selector in favour of a floor-mounted unit.

Toyota Prius C

(Credit: Toyota)

The Prius C will be available in Australia in the first quarter of 2012. The five-seater's hybrid drivetrain will feature a 1.5-litre petrol engine. No word on power or fuel economy number yet; for those details, we'll have to wait until the upcoming Tokyo Motor Show.

Check out the video preview below for an early peek at Toyota's new small hybrid in action.


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BrisBilly posted a comment   

Certainly looks a lot better than the full-sized version, but of course the crucial question is: how much will it sell for in Oz? I'm betting it won't hit our roads for one dollar less than 30 grand.

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