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2012-01-11 10:44

CITY PRIUS: The smaller (and cheaper) Prius C has been designed for city dwellers.

DETROIT, Michigan — Toyota has unveiled the Prius C at the Detroit auto show, a new, smaller and more affordable version of its popular hybrid for young, city-dwelling buyers.

The C (Toyota uses it as a lower-case letter), which stands for city, will be in showrooms in March, 2012, and will be smaller, lighter and more nimble than previous versions. The sub-compact hatchback also will also be priced at less thn $19 000 (the equivalent of around R154 000), more than $4000 less than the starting price of the current version of the traditional Prius.

Jim Lentz, Toyota's top US sales executive, told reporters at the North American International Auto Show news media days in Detroit that the C is a gateway vehicle and a key part of its Prius strategy. It is designed to draw in young buyers who may have previously thought that a hybrid was out of their price range.


Power: A 1.5-litre, in-line, four-cylinder petrol engine that produces 54kW/111Nm. Meanwhile, a 44V nickel-metal hydride battery pack is under the rear seats, near the centre of the vehicle. Combined, the engine and battery produce 74kW.

Size: The c is 48.5cm shorter than the traditional Prius - and 245kg lighter.

Fuel consumption: It's expected to get 4.4 litres/100km in the city and 5.1 the highway, for a combined rating of 4.7 litres/100km, making it one of the world's most fuel-efficient hybrids without a plug, Toyota said.

Looks: The c will be available in four trim levels. Its standard features will include automatic climate control, tilt-telescopic steering wheel with audio, climate, information display and Bluetooth controls, along with remote keyless entry with illuminated entry.


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