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Coming in March: 2012 Toyota Prius C (C is for City)

January 27th, 2012

So there, we blew it all in the headline. But the Prius C’s big story is that it appears to be a quite good subcompact hybrid from the king of the hybrids. And it will sell in the U.S. “with a starting MSRP below $19,000.”

It will be lighter and cheaper than its competition and beat them by bearing the Prius nameplate.

Curb weight is 542 lbs less than the standard Prius; mileage will be about the same (50 mpg combined), with 53 mpg in the city. Four trim levels will be offered, with good safety features and the usual electro-tech stuff, plus optional Entune system.

Those who have driven the car in Japan, where it is labeled the Aqua, liked especially its drive feel and handling. Inside Line called it

the most un-Prius-like Prius that Toyota has made to date. Here’s an eco champ that’s unexpectedly taut, sporty and, yes, even fun. It’s a surprisingly far cry from the regular Prius, a lovable fuel miser well known for its numb steering and aversion to cornering.

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