AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Fuel efficiency is at the forefront of every new car-buyer’s mind. No one wants to spend $30,000 and find themselves throwing money away at the gas pump, so we’ve compiled a list of the cheapest vehicles that get 40 miles per gallon (combined) in order from most expensive to least expensive.
If you live in California, this won’t come as a surprise to you at all. The Toyota Prius is the best-selling car in the state – sort of.
And Why They're Wrong
With an almost never ending list of myths and rumors, few vehicles are as misunderstood as the hybrid.
Almost every review or video posted on AutoGuide.com about a hybrid car has at least one reader comment about how the battery will deteriorate beyond repair, or that once you get a hybrid, you’re not a true driving enthusiast.
With so much misinformation about hybrid vehicles being spread around, we’ve decided to debunk six myths about gas-electric cars.
10. Mazda2: 1.5L (1498 cc)
The motors in these vehicles don’t pack much power, or torque, and are all aimed to use the least amount of fuel. These cars are all ranked in order, right down to the cubic centimeter from most displacement, to least, so take a look below, to see the list of smallest engines available today.
The subcompact Mazda2 is the first on our list, with the biggest engine here. Thanks to its 1498cc four-cylinder engine, the Mazda2 makes 100-hp at 6000 rpm. Of course, that’s not much but what else do you need in a 2300-lb city car? The Mazda2 starts at $14,530 which isn’t too much for a car that gets 29/35 mpg city/highway with the manual or 28/34 mpg city/highway with the auto.
From in-car technology to turbocharging, there is perhaps no other trend that’s fundamentally changing new cars more than the move to dramatically reduce the weight of modern vehicles.
Making a product that’s attractive to a certain demographic is only one part of a successful new car launch. But how do you make it attractive? Easy! First, you make something targeted at that group. Second, you market it directly at them.
That’s the reason Kia’s Super Bowl ad featured Motley Crue and the same reason Acura worked with Jerry Seinfeld on its Game Day spot for the NSX. Now Toyota is following suit, targeting Gen Y with TV icons resurrected from their youth.
Recently Toyota launched a commercial for its new Prius c model, using the Game of LIFE board game as a theme. To support that initial video, Toyota’s YouTube channel has been taken over by a LIFE-styled interactive map, helping apparently sub-intelligent Gen Y types do everything from balancing a budget to determining if buying or leasing is the right option.
And hosting several of these spots are names any Gen Y will recognize, like Danica McKeller, best known for her role as Winnie Cooper on The Wonder Years. And let’s not forget educational spots by Bill Nye the Science Guy, highlighting some of the tech features on the new sub-compact Prius.
Check out the interactive Toyota YouTube page here and watch the videos below:
Board games aren’t popular like they used to be, thanks to the wealth of electronic entertainment available today. Still, many of us probably remember the Game of Life which is probably what Toyota is banking on with their new ad campaign for the Prius c.
Targeted towards first-time car buyers, Toyota leveraged its partnership with Hasbro to incorporate The Game of Life in its new “Malti-poo” ad. Another commercial will follow called “Dolphin Tattoo,” both of which will feature bright colors and bold imagery similar to the board game.
While the ads may seem weird, we applaud the Japanese automaker for realizing that a new generation is buying and that old sales tactics might now work.
“The Prius c campaign acknowledges the fact that buying a car is a big decision, as well as a new experience for many in this demographic,” said Bill Fay, group vice president, marketing, Toyota. “We wanted to give our customers something entertaining and engaging, yet familiar, they could identify with while introducing a vehicle to help them navigate this exciting new chapter in their lives.”
The Game of Life ads won’t only be TV commercials, Toyota will also be adding interactive digital elements to apps and other social networking sites like Facebook.
The Prius c is the newest addition to the growing Prius family, offering 53/46 mpg city/highway with a starting price of just $18,950. You can read and watch our review here.
Watch the quirky “Malti-poo” commercial after the break.
Toyota took the lead early in the hybrid sales race, with the Prius gathering steam with each successive year. With the launch of the all-new Prius c for 2012, the hybrid exclusive range has now grown to four unique models paving the way for the badge to crush previous record years.
Speaking at the launch of the Prius c in La Jolla, CA, Toyota Division Group VP & GM Bob Carter commented that he expects the new model to account for 30,000 to 40,000 sales in its first year. Added to the totals for the Prius liftback, the plug-in hybrid model and the recently launched Prius v, Carter pegged total Prius “brand” sales at 220,000 for 2012. That would put it well above the previous sales record set in 1997 of just over 180,000 units, although at that time only one Prius model was offered.
Carter admitted to being slightly vague in the tally, commenting that both the c and the new Prius v should account for 15 to 20 percent of total Prius sales each. He also pointed out Toyota’s flexible production capabilities, allowing the automaker to increase assembly of a model should demand spike.
“Since it first went on sale in Japan 15 years ago the Prius has been the number-one hybrid in the world,” said Carter, commenting that the Prius almost outsold all other hybrids combined in 2011. According to Toyota’s internal numbers, Prius sales outpaced all Honda Hybrids four to one. It’s dominance over other hybrids was even more dramatic, besting Ford and Hyundai sales five to one and GM hybrid sales 10 to 1.
In addition, total Prius sales in the U.S. have reached 1.1 million units, meaning that over half of all hybrids currently on the road in America are Prius models. Carter insists that by the end of the decade Prius family sales could easily exceed those of the top selling Camry.
New Prius models are only a part of Toyota’s larger product rollout for 2012, with plans to introduce 19 new or updated Toyota, Lexus and Scion models. That means, on average, Toyota will reveal a new model every 19 days this year.
GALLERY: 2012 Toyota Prius c
Read AutoGuide’s Toyota Prius c Review Here and watch our video review below:
The overwhelming demand in Japan for the new Toyota Prius c (known as the Toyota Aqua Hybrid) could affect the number of vehicles the US receives when they start to arrive in March.
Toyota reported that they have received 120,000 orders in Japan for their new compact hybrid sedan, a number 10-times the 12,000 they were targeting per month.
The smaller compact hybrid, produced by Toyota subsidiary Kanto Auto Works Ltd. in the northern prefecture of Iwate, could see a boost in production from 240,000 a year to 320,000 a year. Currently a customer that orders the Aqua Hybrid in Japan will have to wait until at least July to get their vehicle, causing us to wonder how this will affect American availability.
“We haven’t set a sales plan for the United States yet, and so we can’t say how much the affect would be,” Toyota spokeswoman Amiko Tomita said. In the past, Toyota had no problems diverting Prius production back to its home country, leaving America with shortages. The Prius c could also be in high demand in America, with its fuel-efficient hybrid powertrain and its below $20,000 MSRP. Current Prius owners seeking the best bang for their buck might have no problems “trading down” to the smaller, more efficient, and cheaper hybrid.
GALLERY: Toyota Prius c
We might become cautiously optimistic about Toyota if these reported order numbers continue to grow exponentially. It was just the end of December that we got reports that the Toyota Prius c in Japan (known as the Toyota Aqua) had reached 60,000 orders; and now just a little over a month later, they have reached 120,000 orders for their new compact hybrid sedan.
And without the Prius c even hitting American dealerships yet, Toyota can call the vehicle a success considering they have 10 times the order of their monthly sales target of 12,000 vehicles in Japan. Now their biggest issue is whether or not they wish to increase production in order to meet the overwhelming demand in Japan.
It’s probably no surprise that the Aqua is such a huge success in Japan. The standard Prius was the best-selling car in Japan last year, and despite the setbacks encountered through the tragic earthquake and tsunami, Toyota still managed to sell more than 250,000 Priuses.
GALLERY: Toyota Prius c
At its unveiling at the Detroit Auto Show, Toyota promised that the new Prius c would be priced below the $19,000 mark. Full pricing info has yet to be released but a Toyota representative speaking at the car’s launch in San Diego this week has informed us that the sub-compact hybrid will come with a sticker price of $18,950. A fully-loaded model is expected to top out at just north of $23,000.
The “c” in Prius c stands for city, because this version of the Prius is smaller, lighter and more fuel efficient (in a way) than its big brother. It’s powered by a 1.5L four cylinder engine which produces 73 hp as well as an all electric engine which puts out 66-hp and both will be mated to a continuously variable transmission with 99 hp as a combined output. Rated at the same 50 mpg average as the standard Prius, where the c excels is in the city with a higher 53 mpg rating and a lower 46 mpg rating on the highway.
Based on a modified version of the Yaris platform, the Prius c is 19 inches shorter than the liftback Prius and about 2 inches thinner side-to-side while weighing 542 lbs less.
GALLERY: 2012 Toyota Prius c
Watch video of the Prius c from its unveiling in Detroit below:
If you’re looking to make 53 mpg look a little cooler then Toyota in-house tuning division Modelista has you covered. The style-oriented arm of Toyota has just announced a new lineup of accessories for the Prius c, which is sold as the Aqua in Japan.
Already looking like a slightly-cooler Yaris, the Prius c gets a new aero kit, complete with a front lip, rear lip and side skirts with chrome detailing. In addition come new wheels, not to mention a mild roof spoiler.
GALLERY: Modelista Toyota Aqua
10. Chevy Tru 140S Concept
For some of the more minor auto shows, a Top 10 list of the most important cars often covers most of the new debuts, but not so at the North American International Auto Show. Held each January in Detroit it’s the obvious launch site for major products by the Big Three domestic automakers and over the years has also become the venue for important new models by the rest of the auto industry.
Domestics made their mark at this year’s Detroit show, starting with one very different concept car revealed by Chevrolet. Called the Tru 140S it may look like some outrageously fast and expensive exotic machine, but it’s neither. Based on the same front-drive platform as the Chevy Cruze, it is powered by the same 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, which makes just 138 hp in that car. Designed, along with the Code 130R concept, as part of an initiative to attract youth buyers back to the brand, Chevy seems serious about the concept, even announcing that if it made production, the target price would be around the $20,000 mark.
Toyota is updating its Prius family once again with the production version Prius C. The C stands for city, because this version of the Prius is smaller, lighter and more fuel efficient than its classic predecessor.
The 2013 Prius C will be powered by a 1.5L four cylinder engine which produces 73 hp as well as an all electric engine which puts out 66-hp and both will be mated to a continuously variable transmission with 99 hp as a combined output. The hybrid setup on the Prius C will give it impressive fuel economy, a combined city/highway rating of 53 mpg. Drivers will also be given the choice to run the car on all electric mode which is capable of a range of 10-15 miles on electricity alone.
The new Prius C is being constructed with light weight materials which Toyota claims will reduce weight but will not compromise tensile strength and will help drop 542 pounds off of the Prius C as compared to the regular Prius. The C will also be 19-inches shorter than its big brother and about 2 inches skinnier which will help to reduce weight and increase ease of driving in tight city street scenarios.
The Prius C will be offered with a base MSRP of below $19,000 according to Toyota, and will hit showrooms in March.
GALLERY: Prius C
Watch our First Look Video of the Prius c below:
Toyota‘s upcoming Prius c is known in Japan as the Aqua hybrid, and Toyota of Japan is reporting that they’ve received 60,000 orders for the compact sedan as sales start rolling on the new hybrid.
The latest hybrid model from Toyota looks to have a promising start as Toyota hopes to have a monthly sales rate of 12,000 vehicles. Toyota hopes that the Aqua hybrid will help the brand regain sales after taking a dive due to the earthquake and tsunami in Japan and Thailand’s floods.
Out in Japan though, Toyota is anticipating customers will have a four month wait before they can take possession of their ordered Aqua hybrid. The overwhelming orders in Japan makes the upcoming model seem promising as it prepares for its global debut next year.
Toyota plans on selling the Prius c in 50 different countries and currently its priced very competitively in Japan at about $22,000 based on today’s conversion rates. The Prius c is anticipated to get 50- to 60-mpg with a 1.4L four-cylinder with 74-hp and 82 lb-ft of torque while the electric motor will provide 61-hp and 125 lb-ft of torque for a total of 100-hp combined.
[Source: Wall Street Journal]
From the Toyota GT86 to the Tacoma, TRD has been hard at work developing performance accessories for Toyota’s line-up. In its latest project, TRD introduces a number of tuning upgrades for the new Toyota Aqua, known as the Toyota Prius c in markets outside Japan.
Available performance mods include a sport exhaust system with chrome tailpipes, larger alloy wheels as well as a suspension package that lowers the Prius c’s ride height. For aesthetics, TRD is offering a new front apron with additional air vents and optional LED lights daytime lights, matching side skirts, roof spoiler, and a rear diffuser in a matte black finish. For an added touch, TRD also offers a unique push-start button.
TRD promises to release more accessories and modifications in the near future.
Keep an eye out for the North American debut of the Prius c at the Detroit Auto Show in January.
GALLERY: TRD Toyota Aqua/Prius C
Toyota is looking to ride their successful Prius wave to the future, hoping to revive its US sales that has taken a hit thanks to heavy recalls and the tragic earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan. With two new Prius models on the horizon, Toyota also announced they’ll be entering new market segments with hybrids, including big pickups.
Reports are coming in that Toyota could double the number of hybrids sold in North America to 400,000 by 2015 and could help shift hybrid production to America, helping fight against the rising yen. More interesting is that Toyota expects to finish a prototype hybrid pickup system sometime next year that they’re currently working on with Ford.
Toyota also expects the Prius hybrid family to surpass the Camry in the second half of this decade as Toyota’s top-selling nameplate. Ultimately however, their goal is to hit 1.2-million units in annual hybrid sales by 2015, almost double from the 690,000 last year. They’ll also be looking towards expanding their current models to offer hybrid variants while continuing to shift from nickel-metal hydride to lithium ion batteries in their hybrids.
[Source: Automotive News]
Unveiled as the Aqua at the Tokyo Motor Show, Toyota will soon offer this small hybrid in North America as the fourth member of the Prius family of vehicles. Billed as the Prius c for the U.S. this Yaris-based machine is powered by a 1.5-liter Hybrid Synergy Drive engine which Toyota claims will achieve as much as 82-94 mpg on the less stringent Japanese test cycle.
Don’t expect numbers that high when it arrives in North America but the car will out-shine the current Prius, which already achieves an incredible 50 mpg average rating. And as an added bonus, it’s certain to undercut the Prius in terms of price too.
Look for full details when Toyota unveils our version of the Prius c at the Detroit Auto Show in January.
GALLERY: Toyota Aqua
Toyota will add another vehicle to the Prius lineup shortly, with the upcoming Prius c subcompact. Intended to be the entry point into the Prius range, the Prius c will supposedly get over 50 mpg in the city.
Technology will also be at the forefront of the Prius c, which comes with an integrated app suite for use with websites like Bing, MovieTickets.com, Pandora and OpenTable, along with Bluetooth integration and a host of safety features.
Expect the Prius c to be about the size of a Toyota Yaris, but positioned as a more premium product. Performance details have not been announced, aside from the obvious use of Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive hybrid system mated to a 1.5L 4-cylinder engine. The Prius c will get its official unveiling at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show in January.
Gallery: Toyota Prius c
As rumored, Toyota’s upcoming Prius c model doesn’t look all that much like the concept car. Too bad.
A leaked dealer brochure from Japan has revealed exactly what the newest member of the Prius family will look like (at least in Japan), not to mention what sort of powertrain it will receive. Compared to the cars like the Mazda2 I3 SkyActiv, it is powered by a 1.4-liter 4-cylinder engine mated to Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive system with 74-hp at 4800 rpm and 82 lb-ft of torque at 4800 rpm from the gasoline engine, while the electric motor adds-on 61-hp and 125 lb-ft for a total of 100-hp.
Fuel economy numbers released for Japan include a rating of 35.4 km/L (roughly 83.3 mpg or 2.8l/100km) on one driving cycle and 40 km/L (roughly 94 mpg or 2.5L/100 km) on another. Those numbers won’t hold true for the U.S., but with some rough calculations this will put the Prius C a few ticks ahead of the standard 50-mpg Prius on the EPA cycle.
Size wise, the Prius C is the smallest of the Toyota hybrids, measuring 157.3-inches in length – about 4-inches longer than the new Yaris.
Judging from the brochure Toyota is looking to offer the Prius c with a Scion-like array of in-house aftermarket accessories, ranging from new wheels, to seat materials and body kits, adding some flare to this Gen-Y marketed hybrid sub-compact.
The Prius c is expected to be unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show this January.