Before the Corolla Altis and Corolla Cross Hybrids, the go-to Toyota hybrid models were the Prius and the Prius c.
The latter is effectively a more affordable Prius featuring a similar hybrid system but in a more compact hatchback body. It was quite a popular model too, having sold over 1.87 million units around the world. After being on the market since 2011, Toyota decided it was time to introduce the all-new Prius c.
Yes, it says Aqua on the plate, but that’s the Japanese name for the Prius c. Like most newer front-wheel-drive Toyotas, it rides on the new TNGA-B platform. As a result, Toyota claims it’s 20% more fuel-efficient than its predecessor. It’s also the first Toyota to offer a one-pedal operation (called Comfort Pedal). Think of it as something similar to Nissan’s e-pedal on the Note and the Leaf.
Toyota didn’t disclose specific power outputs but says the new Prius c will be powered by a 1.5-liter Dynamic Force Engine with an optimized HEV system. The result? Class-leading fuel economy of 35.8 km/L combined with the comfortable driving characteristics of an HEV. Depending on the trim level, it is even available with Toyota’s all-wheel drive E-Four system.
The automaker also claims it’s the first production car to use a high-output bipolar nickel-hydrogen battery. It has twice the output of the previous-gen battery and provides better acceleration and responsiveness while working with the engine. In addition, it also allows the vehicle to travel at higher speeds in EV mode.
One of the interesting features of the new Prius c is bidirectional charging, a feature commonly associated with pure EVs. Toyota says all variants of the Prius c come with a 100-volt (alternating current)/1,500-watt accessory power outlet and an emergency power supply mode that allows electricity to be drawn from the vehicle for external use during blackouts.
While the new Prius c is now in Japan, the question is if it will be offered in the Philippines in the future.
If we are reading the model strategy correctly, Toyota might not offer it here. Toyota Motor Philippines already sells the Corolla Altis and Corolla Cross hybrid which are built in Thailand unlike the Prius c/Aqua, which is built in Japan. The pricing of the Prius lineup has always been a challenge for Toyota because the size of the engines for the Prius and Prius c do not qualify those vehicles for JPEPA.
And here's another indicator: If you check out the TMP vehicle list, you’ll notice that the old Prius c is no longer available. Toyota Motor Philippines has already discontinued the model.
So, for the long term, it seems the Philippine market will be focused on Thai-made hybrid Toyota models because of AFTA.