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2016 Eco-Friendly Car of the Year: Toyota Prius c

2016 Toyota Prius c

2016 Toyota Prius c

2016 Eco-Friendly Car of the Year: Toyota Prius c

When gas prices are low, the higher cost of higher mileage becomes harder for shoppers to justify, and squeezing every last mile per gallon out of every vehicle type becomes a lower priority. But there's still a core buyer who puts efficiency first, and the higher the numbers, the better. As a result, we return to the basics with this year's Eco-Friendly Car of the Year: the 2016 Toyota Prius c. The smallest of the Prius models combines extraordinarily high gas mileage with low price. Even among the growing number of non-hybrid cars with high mileage ratings, the wee Prius c still amazes with an EPA-estimated 53/46/50 mpg city/highway/combined — comparable to the outgoing 2015 regular-size Prius. (Having just been redesigned, with even higher mileage, the 2016 isn't eligible for this award.)

The Prius c is no luxury car, but when viewed alongside other subcompacts, it's an impressive package even at a starting price of $20,395, including a destination fee. Nowadays the highest mileage often comes from upgraded engines, turbos, optional automatic transmissions and other high technology. In the end, no technology delivers results like Toyota's hybrid system, and nowhere does it do so like it does in the Priuses.

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