2015 Toyota Prius c

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Key Specs
Our Take
Road Test
Photos
Reviews
Safety & Recalls
Warranty & CPO
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Key Specs

of the 2015 Toyota Prius c. Base trim shown.

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Fuel economy
  • Lower price than regular Prius
  • Hatchback versatility
  • Easy-to-use multimedia system

The Bad

  • Highway acceleration
  • Road noise
  • Unnatural-feeling brakes
  • Backup camera only available on top trim level

Notable Features of the 2015 Toyota Prius c

  • Revised front and rear styling
  • Smallest Prius version
  • Gas/electric hybrid
  • 50-mpg combined EPA rating
  • Seats up to five

2015 Toyota Prius c Road Test

Jennifer Geiger

If affordability and high mileage trump everything else on your car priority list, look no further than the 2015 Toyota Prius c, though you'll have to put up with some unpleasant highway manners.

Slotting below the regular Prius hatchback and the larger Prius v wagon, the subcompact Prius c got restyled for 2015 with a lightly revised face, more interior trim options and a newly standard 6.1-inch multimedia system. Compare the 2014 and 2015 models here.

Vehicles that come close to matching the c's fuel economy are few, but include the Honda Civic Hybrid and Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid. Compare them here.

Exterior & Styling
If the 
Toyota Prius c's designers were aiming for an angry Asian carp look, they hooked it. For 2015, the hatchback got a sharper face, with a menacing LED headlight design and gaping hexagon grille. Attractive it is not. To pile on, there are a few new exterior colors that will get you laughed at, pulled over or both (luckily it's also available in more sedate colors). Toyota calls the new colors eye-catching, but my test car's Tangerine Splash Pearl paint — a $395 option — was eye-popping in terms of both color and price. The other new colors are Electric Lime Metallic and Sparkling Sea Metallic.

How It Drives
The 
Toyota Prius c has the highest powertrain fuel economy of any car non-plug-in hybrid. It's EPA-rated at 53/46/50 mpg city/highway/combined, besting the Civic Hybrid (44/47/45), Jetta Hybrid (42/...

If affordability and high mileage trump everything else on your car priority list, look no further than the 2015 Toyota Prius c, though you'll have to put up with some unpleasant highway manners.

Slotting below the regular Prius hatchback and the larger Prius v wagon, the subcompact Prius c got restyled for 2015 with a lightly revised face, more interior trim options and a newly standard 6.1-inch multimedia system. Compare the 2014 and 2015 models here.

Vehicles that come close to matching the c's fuel economy are few, but include the Honda Civic Hybrid and Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid. Compare them here.

Exterior & Styling
If the 
Toyota Prius c's designers were aiming for an angry Asian carp look, they hooked it. For 2015, the hatchback got a sharper face, with a menacing LED headlight design and gaping hexagon grille. Attractive it is not. To pile on, there are a few new exterior colors that will get you laughed at, pulled over or both (luckily it's also available in more sedate colors). Toyota calls the new colors eye-catching, but my test car's Tangerine Splash Pearl paint — a $395 option — was eye-popping in terms of both color and price. The other new colors are Electric Lime Metallic and Sparkling Sea Metallic.

How It Drives
The 
Toyota Prius c has the highest powertrain fuel economy of any car non-plug-in hybrid. It's EPA-rated at 53/46/50 mpg city/highway/combined, besting the Civic Hybrid (44/47/45), Jetta Hybrid (42/48/45) and even the city rating of the regular Prius (51/48/50). The c's ratings aren't just pie-in-the-sky numbers, either. During a 186-mile trip of mostly highway driving, I got 47.6 mpg driving normally.

To maximize fuel economy, drivers can put the car in Eco mode, which alters acceleration and climate output settings to save energy. I found takeoffs annoyingly slow in this mode. EV mode allows the car to run on battery power, but it's not very useful since it can only do this for up to half a mile and at very low speeds.

The city is the Toyota Prius c's natural habitat, where it returns its best mileage and is the most comfortable. It maneuvers well in tight spaces, and power from the tiny 1.5-liter four-cylinder is adequate. The car's automatic stop-start system is smooth, unobtrusively shutting down at every stop with minimal shudder upon restarting. Lacking smoothness, though, are the regenerative brakes, which capture braking energy and send it to the battery. The pedal requires more pressure than you'd expect, so smooth stops take practice.

This particular Toyota Prius is less pleasant on the highway due in large part to road noise — a loud, constant companion that sucks the fun out of a highway cruise — and a lack of power. The emphasis on mileage over ride means that the tires aren't very sticky or quiet - even on the upgraded alloy wheels. Highway merging and passing require a lot of planning, patience and pedal-stomping. Steering feel is also unnervingly light at speed; with a curb weight around 2,500 pounds, even a light breeze tosses the car around, requiring a wrestling match with the steering wheel.

Interior
New standard features in my top-trim test car, the 
Toyota Prius c four, include two-tone fabric seats, a moonroof, glossy black interior paneling and chrome trim, but they do little to mask the no-frills air of the cabin. It's black-plastic overload, with too many patterns and textures combining for an overall mismatched design.

The front seats are cozily bolstered and comfortable — they don't look or feel as budget grade as the rest of the interior — but padding is lacking elsewhere in the cabin. The door panel armrest could use more cushiness. So too could the center console armrest, which gets a triple strike: It's also set too far back to comfortably use and it's not adjustable.

In back, headroom is adequate but legroom isn't generous; both the Jetta Hybrid and Civic Hybrid offer a good deal more. The c's outboard seats are deep set and very comfortable, but the middle position isn't a real option. It's much narrower than the outboard seats and raised, so the passenger sits on an uncomfortable hump.

Families thinking of the Prius c as a second car will find enough legroom for a booster and a forward-facing child-safety seat, but a rear-facing car seat is a no-go. There's not enough room to install one and comfortably accommodate a front-seat passenger. The Jetta and Civic do not have this problem. Read more in our Car Seat Check.

Ergonomics & Electronics
Toyota's Entune multimedia system is newly standard, and extra multi-information features like local weather and a live radar weather map are handy. The system's 6.1-inch touch-screen is responsive, and the menu structure is straightforward. Changing the audio presets and inputting a destination in the optional navigation system was easy, but the buttons on the screen are very small. Clearly marked home and back buttons are easy to find, however. Thankfully, not all controls have been absorbed by the touch-screen: Volume and tuning knobs flank the screen.

Below that is a large climate-control dial that's very well placed for easy use while driving. The temperature settings can be adjusted using the traditional climate controls or buttons on the steering wheel.

Cargo & Storage
The center console box loses more points for being very tiny, though the glove box is large. Above that is a handy device tray, complete with aux and USB inputs.

In back, storage is minimal — and I hope your passengers don't get thirsty: There's only one seatback pocket and one flimsy cupholder that pops out of the center console. There aren't even any bottleholders in the rear doors.

In back, this Toyota Prius' hatchback body style makes this subcompact roomier than its larger sedan competitors. With 17.1 cubic feet of space in the cargo area, it offers more than either the Civic Hybrid (10.7) or the Jetta Hybrid (11.3). I fit about a dozen grocery bags in the back during one trip and a small stroller during another.

Safety
The 2015 Toyota Prius c is an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Top Safety Pick, earning an acceptable score in the small front overlap test and good scores in all other tests. It had previously earned a poor score in the small front overlap test, and only models built after May qualify for the higher rating. Check your vehicle's build date on a sticker on the driver-side doorjamb. In National Highway Traffic Safety Administration testing, the Prius c received four out of five stars in all the agency's tests.

Nine airbags are standard, including a driver's knee airbag, but a backup camera is only standard on the top trim level. It's unavailable on other models. Common safety features, like a blind spot monitoring system and lane departure warning system, are not offered. Click here for a list of safety features.

Value in Its Class
The 2015 Toyota Prius c starts at about $20,000, but common extras like cruise control, the center console storage box/armrest, a cargo cover and a 60/40-split folding rear seat are not standard. Competitors cost more, but they're also better equipped.

In terms of mileage and affordability, the Prius c is a very compelling car, but its discomforting safety ratings should be a factor shoppers consider carefully.

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2015 Prius c Video

For 2015, the Prius c - Toyota's angriest-looking hybrid - got a number of updates to its front end, like a larger grille and new headlights. Unfortunately, the inside didn't really change, and it could use some updating. Watch the video for more.

Latest 2015 Prius c Stories

Consumer Reviews

Exterior Styling
(4.3)
Performance
(4.0)
Interior Design
(3.9)
Comfort
(3.9)
Reliability
(4.8)
Value For The Money
(4.4)

What Drivers Are Saying

(4.0)

My gas problems are over! I couldn't be happier!

by Aleta of 13th st from Vancouver, WA. on July 17, 2018

It's so quiet and smooth sailing! Made just for me it seems! My savings in gas alone is all worth it to me! It's perfect!! Read full review

(5.0)

Most fuel Efficient car I?ve ever had

by Terri from Troy ohio on June 21, 2018

A very comfortable car. Complete visibility no blind spots. Very fuel efficient! And it has pick up and go. And I love the color. Couldn?t be happier Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2015 Toyota Prius c currently has 1 recall

IIHS Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2015 Toyota Prius c One

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Hip/thigh
good
Lower leg/foot
poor
Overall evaluation
poor
Retraints and dummy kinematics
poor
Structure and safety cage
poor

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
good
Overall Rear
good
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
acceptable
Left Leg/Foot
good
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Other

Roof Strength
good

Side

Driver Head Protection
good
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
good
Driver Torso
good
Overall Side
good
Rear Passenger Head Protection
good
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
good
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
acceptable

Small Overlap Front - Driver Side

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Hip/Thigh
good
Lower Leg/Foot
poor
Overall Evaluation
poor
Restraints and Dummy Kinematics
poor
Structure and Safety Cage
poor
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

Manufacturer Warranties

Backed by Toyota
New Car Program Benefits
  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    36 months / 36,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    60 months / 60,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    24 months / unlimited distance

Certified Pre-Owned Program Benefits
  • Maximum Age/Mileage

    7 years/less than 85,000 miles

  • Basic Warranty Terms

    12 months/12, 000 miles

  • Powertrain warranty

    7 years/100,000 miles

  • Dealer Certification Required

    160- or 174-point inspections

  • Roadside Assistance

    Yes

  • View All Program Details

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Prius c received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*

Third-row access

N/A

Infant seat

C

Booster

(second row)

B

Booster

(third row)

N/A

Latch or Latch system

A

Forward-facing convertible

(third row)

N/A

Forward-facing convertible

(second row)

A

Rear-facing convertible

B
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.
For complete details,

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker