Co.Design

Toyota Unveils a Tiny Version of the Prius, For Fashionable City Slickers

Toyota expands its iconic Prius line of hybrid automobiles with the Prius C concept, aimed at young urban tastemakers.

Toyota had a rough time in 2010, but its Prius line is still the iPod of hybrid vehicles: iconic, ubiquitous, and essentially a synonym for the whole concept of "hybrid vehicle" itself. Now, with its Prius C concept, Toyota is expanding the family to compete in the "urban smart car" sector.

But instead of yet another hypermiling nano-compact that looks more like militarized golf cart or cutesy George Jetson pod than a sensible automobile, the Prius C is designed to make smart-cars go mainstream -- with sleek but demure styling and price tag that won't make you cry uncle.

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Toyota unveiled the C today at the 2011 North American International Auto Show, touting the vehicle's "appeal to young singles and couples who want an eco-sensitive, high-mileage, fun-to-drive Prius." It certainly looks that way -- kind of like the Honda Fit, but much hipper. The headlights set far back against the windshield are certainly a bold touch. I could easily see myself backing this thing into a micro-sized parking space in Manhattan and not feeling embarrassed about it. (Which is saying something, given that my overall opinion of hybrid vehicles owes a lot to this vicious Simpsons gag.)

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Like most concepts, the C probably won't end up on the road itself. Instead, Toyota says it's the "inspiration" for a new Prius that's due to hit dealerships in the first half of 2012. A tiny car you can drive around to urban loft parties without sacrificing your youthful attitude? Start saving now!

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[Read more at Toyota]

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3 Comments

  • LEAVING SOUTH CAROLINA

    A car like this should get at least 60 mpg as many of the small diesels do in Europe, some get 70 or better. The seats remind me of a modern version
    of the canvas seats I once had in a Citroen 2CV, a rare vehicle in the USA
    with it's 2 cylinder horizontal twin engine. Guess I'll have to wait and see.

  • John Eric Holloway

    It would be interesting to compare this with the Honda Fit Hybrid, if it ever gets here, which the Prius C concept closely resembles. Meanwhile, I'll keep getting around most of the time by bike, the real low emissions champion.

  • VIRGINIA TANZMANN

    Say what you will, I still prefer getting 58.5 mpg with my wonderful original Honda Insight. The car just keeps on going, to my great delight. I will drive it until it is all the way gone.