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Toyota Launches Prius c Small Hybrid

Toyota has launched its long awaited small hybrid, the Prius c, in New Zealand. Prius c is the first of a new range of cool and stylish vehicles for Toyota in 2012.

Toyota New Zealand General Manager of Product Planning, Neeraj Lala said "Prius c will introduce our Hybrid Synergy Drive technology to buyers looking for a smart, fun and affordable hybrid."

Prius c is the first of the next generation styling that Toyota will introduce over the next 12 months, the objective to clearly inject the mojo back into our design studio."

"In the past, it's no secret that Toyota has focussed heavily on build quality, and design has been a lower priority. That changes today. The cars we introduce over the next 12 months will certainly deliver on the quality, but add more character and style for our customers and brand."

"I genuinely believe this car is one of our best yet. I'm confident Prius c will attract more drivers to Toyota's hybrid range by retaining all the hybrid advantages, while introducing an exciting package that's really good fun to drive."

"The Prius c is an affordable hybrid vehicle featuring world-leading fuel performance while retaining the Prius technology and quality reputation. The new Prius c is also a game changer, not only in design for Toyota but when it comes to re-branding the perceptions or stereotypes of hybrids or hybrid customers."

"Businesses looking for an economical compact car will look no further than a Prius c with class-leading efficiency and performance. Private customers will also be drawn to the fun and stylish package of the Prius c."

"The 'c' in Prius c was chosen to represent the words Compact, Clean, Clever and City. But in New Zealand, we know it stands for Cool."

"The design theme for the Prius c was 'Eco Fun'. Having seen and driven this car, we know customers in New Zealand will respond to the impressive fuel economy, unique styling and how fun it is to drive," said Mr Lala.

The Prius c combines a 1.5 litre Atkinson cycle petrol engine with Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive (HSD) system for a combined power output of 74 kilowatts. It returns 3.9 litres per 100 kilometres on the ADR 81/02 combined cycle and CO2 emissions of 90 grams per kilometre.

The Prius c 1NZ-FXE VVT-i equipped petrol engine alone delivers 54kW of power at 4800rpm and 111Nm of torque at 4000rpm. The 520V electric motor has 45kW of power and 169Nm of torque - and drives through a reduction gear, which multiplies the torque.

Prius c is smaller, lighter and more efficient than Prius, and shares its platform with the Yaris hatch. The chassis has been calibrated to ensure it is fun to drive in the city. Suspension characteristics have been tuned to reduce vibration on bumpy roads and increase flat ride comfort.

It has a large footprint on the road for its overall dimensions, with a wheelbase of 2550mm, front track of up to 1480mm and rear track of up to 1475mm.

The wheelbase has been maximised within the 3995mm overall length to provide optimum stability. Prius c is 100mm longer than the 2012 Yaris hatch, placing it perfectly between the new Yaris and Toyota's popular Corolla hatch.

All versions have a full safety package with Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) and Traction Control (TRC). Driver and passenger front, side, driver's knee and front/rear curtain shield airbags are standard. Prius c is expected to achieve 5 stars when it is tested by ANCAP later in the year.

The entry level Prius c has features often associated with premium vehicles. "Make no mistake, the Prius c is a fully loaded little car," said Mr Lala.

Standard features include cruise control, rear spoiler, smart entry and start system, climate control air conditioning, front fog lights, ISO fix child seat anchor points, digital speedometer and comprehensive multi information display, 3.5mm auxiliary and USB input jacks, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming connectivity and fabric seats. This model is available with 15 inch steel or 15 inch alloy wheels.

"We introduce a brand new grade name for Prius c, by calling our top car the 's-Tech'. This name adds to the compact and cool characteristics of the standard car with sporty features. We know non hybrid buyers will be attracted to this model," said Mr Lala.

The Prius c s-Tech adds 16 inch alloy wheels, leather steering wheel, rear privacy glass, larger rear spoiler with air vent, LED low beam headlights with cleaners, soft feel synthetic leather seats, and voice recognition for the audio system.