Small Prius C completes Toyota's family of hybrids

Prius C
(Toyota Motor Sales)

The small-car Prius C, introduced today at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, completes Toyota's family of Prius hybrids.

The 2012 C (Toyota wants to write it with a lower case c, but I fail to see the point) stands for City. The small urban car fits in at the low end of the size and price spectrum with the regular Prius and the recently-introduced, bigger Prius V with near-minivan hauling capacity.

Photos: 2012 North American International Auto Show

The C, on sale this Spring, will have a rating of 53 MPG in the city and 46 MPG on the highway. Its price will start just below $19,000.

Toyota is also bringing out a plug-in version of the regular Prius early this year, an increasingly popular option as auto companies work toward meeting tough federal mileage standards. Ford is including a plug-in hybrid version of its just-introduced 2013 Fusion mid-size sedan.

The Prius C, aimed at young, urban drivers, is 19 inches shorter and 540 pounds lighter than the regular Prius. Its combination electric and gasoline motors will generate a total 134 horsepower. It will be offered in four trim levels with differing prices and arrays of equipment.

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