You’d think after scans of the complete Japanese-specification 2012 Toyota Prius C brochure leaked onto the Internet, Toyota would be a little more careful about information surrounding its upcoming subcompact hybrid. 

But a few days ago popular Prius fansite PriusChat discovered that the entire 525-page Owner’s Manual for the 2012 Prius C had been uploaded in error to Toyota’s website. 

Of course, they had to take a look, and so did we.

We’ve spent a few hours reading it from cover-to-cover, and here’s what we’ve learned about Toyota’s latest addition to the Prius Family. 

9.5 Gallon Fuel Tank, Smaller Hybrid Battery

In the manual, the 2012 Prius C is listed as having a 9.5 gallon fuel tank, good for a range of between 440 and 503 miles per tank of gasoline depending on driving conditions. 

That’s a little smaller than the 11.9 gallon fuel capacity of the 2012 Prius hatchback, but given the Prius C is also a lot smaller, it should offer a similar driving distance between fill-ups as its larger brother.

2012 Toyota Prius C launch, Detroit Auto Show

2012 Toyota Prius C launch, Detroit Auto Show

The Prius C also uses a smaller, lower voltage hybrid battery pack. Instead of the 201.6-volt, 1.3 kilowatt-hour battery pack found in the 2012 Prius hatchback, the Prius C has a 144-volt, 936 watt-hour battery pack. 

According to Toyota, this should give the Prius C an electric-only range of around 1.3 miles at speeds of under 25 mph, depending on conditions. 

Like previous generation Priuses, the Prius C will use a nickel-metal hydride battery pack rather than the lithium-ion battery pack found in the 2012 Prius Plug-in Hybrid.

It Will Have A Spare Tire

Toyota Prius C Manual Pages

Toyota Prius C Manual Pages

Despite its smaller dimensions -- almost two feet shorter than the 2012 Prius hatchback -- the 2012 Prius C will include a space-saver emergency tire.

Given the number of subcompact and green cars on the market today which are sold with emergency tire sealant rather than a spare wheel, not to mention the number of drivers who won’t buy a car unless it has a spare tire, we think Toyota has made the right choice. 

Talking of tires, the Prius C manual lists two different tire and wheel sizes available, presumably depending on trim level: 15 inch wheels with 175/65 tires; and 16 inch wheels with 195/50 tires. 

Keyless Entry, Immobilizers Won’t Be Standard On Base Level

Despite what we learned in Detroit, the sub-$19,000 base-level Prius won’t come with remote keyless entry as standard.

At least, that’s what the manual implies, with sections devoted to cars without a smart key system.

Cars with a smart-key system will operate in a similar way to the 2012 Toyota Prius, with a dash-mounted power switch and smart-entry front doors and tailgate. 

Cars without the smart-key system will instead use a traditional steering-column ignition barrel. Much more simplistic, the manual key will also operate the steering wheel lock. 

2012 Toyota Prius C launch, Detroit Auto Show

2012 Toyota Prius C launch, Detroit Auto Show



Just like the other 2012 Prius models, the 2012 Prius C will offer drivers some control over how it is driven. 

Provided engine and exhaust system have reached optimum temperature, the battery is full enough, and the car is traveling under 25 mph, the driver can select electric only (EV) mode to power the Prius C for low-speed maneuvers. 

The driver can also select “ECO Mode”, which remaps the accelerator and engine to encourage green driving.

Interestingly, both the EV and ECO switches are located to the right of the traditional lever-operated parking brake, rather than being dash mounted. We’re not sure why this is, but suspect it has to do with limited cabin space more than anything else. 

Perhaps more intriguing however, is the absence of the PWR switch found in all other Priuses, meaning Toyota has chosen to concentrate on economy rather than performance. 

The Prius C Makes Economical Driving A Game

Toyota Prius C Manual Pages

Toyota Prius C Manual Pages

Among the features included as standard on the 2012 Prius C are a set of screens designed to inform the driver how economically they are driving. 

Called “ECO Savings” displays, they give the driver feedback on driving style, current cost, predicted range and fuel economy. 

As well as providing instantaneous, five minute, thirty minute, trip and lifetime fuel economy figures, the on-board trip computer in the Prius C can calculate fuel savings based on your previous car. 

Simply enter in your old car’s gas mileage -- or an average gas mileage figure -- and the on-board computer tells you how much money you’ve saved driving your Prius C.

The 2012 Prius C will even record fuel costs for the current month, last three months and past year, allowing drivers to use the system to improve their fuel economy and driving techniques. 

Not Built For Heavy Loads

The 2012 Prius C may include seating for five, but Toyota is keen to emphasize in the Prius C manual that drivers should be aware of the vehicle’s maximum load limits. 

Just like the other Toyota Priuses on the market, Toyota is keen to caution against either towing with the Prius C, or towing the Prius C. 

In addition, Toyota recommends in the Prius C manual against any type of tow hitch or tow-hitch carrier, including those designed for bicycles.

When it comes to passengers and luggage, the Toyota Prius C also has an unusually low Vehicle Capacity Weight  (VCW) of just 845 pounds. 

In other words, carrying five, 170 pound adults would technically overload the car. 

Given the average U.S. male adult weight 191 pounds, and the average U.S. adult female weight 164 pounds, we think Toyota should have built in a little more capacity into the Prius C.

Bluetooth, USB-Compatibility Standard, Not Rear Wiper, Cruise

Toyota Prius C Manual Pages

Toyota Prius C Manual Pages

Looking at the options listed in the car, we think that the Prius C -- which is offered with two different audio/hybrid display systems -- will come with auxiliary audio input, iPod/USB integration and Bluetooth as standard. 

What isn’t included as standard however, is cruise control, fog lights, a rear window wiper or even a rear load-bay cover. 

Also not included on base models, but available as options, are the Power Moonroof, seat heating and split 40/60 rear seat. 


We’ve only covered the basics in this article, but the PriusChat forums have an entire thread devoted to demystifying the lengthy PDF manual. 

If you’re curious, take a look for yourself and tell us if we’ve missed anything important out.

Does the 2012 Prius C look like a car you’d want? Are the features you’d expect there, or has Toyota missed something obvious? 

Let us know in the Comments below.


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