Can you say ouch? If Toyota were to take to heart Consumer Reports’ appraisal of its newly launched Prius c – now selling like gangbusters here, and in Japan badged as the Aqua – that could be what it might say.
“In the end, you get what you pay for,” said Consumer Reports at the beginning of a video review that goes on to point a critical finger at a laundry list of the car’s features that in its view fall short.
While noting fuel economy is terrific as promised, that plus civil lower speed driving is about all you get, says CR.
As you can see in the video, the consumer watchdog publication otherwise nicks the Prius c for “dead” steering feedback, a “busy and choppy” ride, intrusive wind and road noise, insufficient rearward visibility, anemic power necessitating keeping the revs up, cheap interior and more.
“We can’t recommend the Prius c,” Consumer Reports also said on its Web site “because it scores too low in our tests. We do expect it to have very good reliability.”
It will presumably give “very good reliability” because CR sums up Toyota’s newest value-leading hybrid as a sized-down version of the reliable regular Prius Liftback – albeit executed with too much corner-cutting in order to serve up a look-at-me price point starting at $18,950.
“In the end the Prius c is a cheap car with an expensive drivetrain,” Consumer Reports said.
Consumer Reports paid just shy of $21,000 for its c as equipped. Its recommendation is prospective hybrid buyers would be better served if they found a clean, used regular Prius for this kind of money, rather than paying for a new c off the dealer’s lot.
Consumer Reports did find the c got “excellent” fuel economy of 43 mpg and 37 mpg in city, representing a pinnacle among all cars it’s tested, it said – but a far cry below the U.S. EPA’s ratings of 46 highway, 53 city, 50 combined.
In all, CR scored it 1 point below the Honda Insight with a total of 53 points out of 100 possible which – if this were a school report card – would basically mean the “c” gets an “F.”