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Mar 1, 2012
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Going green, especially in terms of transportation, should not be far from our consideration. With the launch of the new Toyota Prius C, this might just be the case for a lot of us. It's a more compact, more budget-friendly Prius with the same eco-friendly hybrid system.

The original Prius, launched in the country in 2009, came with a price tag of around 2.25 million pesos. It piqued the interest of the tree-hugger in us with its environmentally-conscious design, but it was simply too pricey.

In a review by topgear.com.ph, they lined up a couple popular cars that you can get for the same price. “For the unit cost of a single Prius, you can purchase either two Honda Jazz hatchbacks (with change), an Audi A3, or a Mitsubishi Montero Sport 4x4 (with lots of accessories),” they said.

Fast forward to 2012 and we see that the most basic variant of the Prius C is less expensive by more than half a million. The Prius C Standard goes for 1.475 million pesos, which is only about one-and-a-half Honda Jazz hatchbacks (also with change).

As far as styling goes, dare we say that this is the coolest-looking Prius yet. While its older, bigger brother straddled the line between a sedan and a hatchback, the C doesn’t suffer from the same identity crisis.

We appreciate the car’s clean styling, the vertical taillights and a more striking front profile that ditches the fish-faced look of older Priuses. This is a subcompact in the same vein as the Jazz and the Yaris. It's just a few inches longer than the aforementioned cars, but it's more fuel-efficient.

The Prius C uses the same Hybrid Synergy Drive system as its bigger brothers, but following the reduction in size, its engine has also been downsized. This one has a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine, which produces 73 horsepower compared to the 1.8-liter engine found in the standard Prius.

A 59-horsepower electric motor powered by a nickel-metal hydride battery is coupled with the primary engine. The lower power output is offset by the car’s lighter weight (it’s 500 pounds lighter than the normal-sized Prius) to maintain driving responsiveness.

To maximize fuel efficiency, the car manages the two engines according to the situation. Just to be clear, the Prius C is not like a cellphone you have to charge when you go lo-batt. Its battery is constantly charged as you drive through the use of the regenerative braking system. To make the deal even sweeter, Toyota has included premium features such as a 3.5-inch information screen, Bluetooth, automatic climate control, and USB and iPod connectivity, amongst others.

All that said, it looks like Toyota has produced a Prius that we might actually warm up to. And it only took a sportier exterior, a more compact form, and a more affordable price while retaining its signature eco-friendly ways.  

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WORDS BY: GELO GONZALES
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