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2014 Toyota Prius c: A fuel economy champ

The Toyota Prius c is a smaller version of the popular hybrid vehicle, with similar styling and phenomenal fuel economy.
The Toyota Prius c is a smaller version of the popular hybrid vehicle, with similar styling and phenomenal fuel economy.
Toyota

Toyota Prius C

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Toyota has long been the leader in the hybrid car market, thanks to its pioneering Prius model, and in recent years, it has expanded that franchise.

One of the relatively new Prius family members is the Prius c, which Toyota says stands for city. Basically, it's an even more compact version of the Prius, and as such, it gets even better fuel economy.

Also, it's the least expensive Prius you can buy.

The Prius c is powered by a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor that combine to make 133 horsepower. There is a two-speed continuously variable transmission.

Fuel economy is rated at a sensational 53 mpg city, 46 highway.

On the outside, if you like the look of the Prius, you'll like the look of the Prius c. It's essentially just a shrunken version of it's older sibling - about 19 inches smaller in overall length.

On the inside, you can properly assume that quarters are pretty snug, but the Prius c is not uncomfortable for adult folks who sit up front.

Most taller drivers and front passengers should be able to find the right seat adjustment to make themselves feel right at home. Just hope that in such cases, you don't have other folks also trying to feel at home in the back seat, especially not other adults.

But in comparing this car to the Ford Fiesta, this tall driver feels like he's in a stretch limousine in the Prius c - space is much more efficiently used.

Plus, cargo space in the Prius c is a generous 17.1 cubic feet, thanks to Toyota engineers being smart about where they placed the battery pack. Not all hybrid makers are as thoughtful.

But really, if you need more space, just go with the regular Prius, or even more space, bump on up to the Prius v. That's why they make the whole lineup, folks.

You get a handful of nice standard features on the Prius c, including automatic climate control and USB/iPod port. Optional goodies include heated front seats, Toyota's Entune telematics system and a touch-screen navigation system.

The Prius c starts at a shade under $20,000 and ranges close to $25,000.

That's good value for one of the most fuel-efficient cars on the market.