So after bombing around in the new Corvette -- review coming tomorrow, btw -- I came home to spend a week with a 2013 Toyota Prius c, one of the smallest and least-expensive hybrids you can buy. (I actually drove the cheapest version, priced at $19,890.)
You kow from the headline how I did on fuel economy; my actual average was slightly better at 52.3 MPG. Understand that I was trying as hard as I could: I drove with "Eco" mode engaged, I accelerated and braked gently, and I cruised at or around the speed limit. (Still, there's no getting around the steep hills or the stop-and-go traffic that plagues us in Los Angeles.) How much of an effect did my efforts have? I'm going to take an educated guess and say that had I driven like I normally do, I would have averaged 48 to 49 MPG. Which is still good. No, not good... it's insane.
Driving the Prius c also reminded me how much I love small, inexpensive cars. The Prius c conveys a sense of minimalism that I really like -- it's back-to-basics motoring, which dovetails nicely with the car's fuel-sipping ways. The cabin was just big enough for me and Robin (and the kids in a pinch), and the trunk was the perfect size for groceries or a small suitcase. (The ironic thing being that the c's small shape doesn't allow for the best possible aerodynamics, which is why the bigger Prius gets better highway fuel economy.)
Admitting one is a fan of any Prius doesn't earn one much credibility in my line of work, but the truth is that I've enjoyed every Prius I've ever driven. Spending a week with the Prius c left me with a sense of utter satisfaction -- something I don't encounter very often. And scoring 50+ MPG ain't bad either. -- Aaron Gold
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