Why Prius Buyers Choose C Over Liftback: Price, Ride, Normality

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2012 Toyota Prius C

2012 Toyota Prius C

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Toyota’s new 2012 Prius C subcompact launched earlier this year, but it is already winning itself fans among old and new hybrid car drivers alike. 

Around $5,000 cheaper than the 2012 Prius Liftback, it offers the same 50 mpg combined as its larger sibling, but why are some car buyers choosing it over the larger, more established model?

An interesting thread on Internet forum PriusChat asks that exact question -- and has unearthed some interesting answers. 

At the top of the list are three simple facts: The Prius C is cheaper, offers a better ride, and is far more conventional than the geekier liftback. 

2012 Toyota Prius C, drive event, La Jolla, CA, Feb 2012

2012 Toyota Prius C, drive event, La Jolla, CA, Feb 2012

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“Personally, I chose a Prius C over a [liftback] or Prius V mainly because of the cost of the vehicle,” wrote one forum member. “My kids are grown with their own vehicles and children... We don’t need the extra space.”

Many other posters agreed, saying it was the perfect car for families with adult children who had left home. 

After driving a relative's 2006 Prius, one poster said they didn’t like the ride or feel of the larger Prius, so opted for the smaller model. 

As we note in our official 2012 Toyota Prius C review, the smaller hybrid hatchback offers a nimble and maneuverable ride, something that many Prius C buyers cite as a big consideration when buying. 

“It’s hard to explain,” said one poster. “The [Prius] C feels more like our other cars in the handling department.” while another poster describes the liftback as being a little “floaty” in its driver feedback.

For other buyers however, the conventionality of the Prius C’s interior, gear selector and dashboard sealed the deal. 

2012 Toyota Prius C

2012 Toyota Prius C

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“The center console was another reason I didn’t like the liftback,” said one commenter. “The C has a center console that’s closer to the driver so it didn’t feel as weird.”

Other comments posted on the forum note that the Prius C’s conventional gear shift -- a traditional floor-mounted lever -- is easier to understand and use than the Prius Liftback’s infamous gear shifter. 

If these early-adopting Prius C buyers are indicative of other Prius C buyers, then it seems Toyota’s subcompact hybrid is proving popular with those who aren’t fond of the Prius Liftback and its space-age looks, drive or cost. 

But what about you? Have you purchased a Prius C lately? Why did you choose it over the larger liftback? 

Let us know in the Comments below. 

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