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Vitamin C: Toyota Sends Us the Prius C in Habanero Orange

Sections: Chassis

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2013 Toyota Prius C Photo Shoot 011

(Lyndon Johnson photo)

I don’t care much about college sports, and being a graduate of Tennessee Technological University’s humble (yet awesome) journalism school, I especially don’t care for the University of Tennessee. Fitting, then, that everyone commented on my “awesome U.T. orange” Toyota Prius C tester. Ugh.

That’s not a knock on the car. Heck, it’s not even a knock on the color itself. Dubbed “Habanero” on the build sheet, the paint had a metalflake that really made it pop in direct sunlight. It was, to my eye, the color our Subaru WRX Special Edition tester from earlier this year should have been painted, and made that car’s paint look like a shade inspired by a slightly over-ripe pumpkin by comparison.

Alas, in my part of the state of Tennessee, it’s just expected if you rock a car this color, you did it because GO VOLS! I’ll admit there are probably more than a few people who might order a car in orange because of their undying allegiance to a school many of them never attended. Consider as supporting evidence that my hometown’s sole radio station is playing a U.T. Athletics advertisement for a two-disc DVD titled “The Peyton Manning Collection” because sports fans in my state apparently still can’t get over Peyton Manning being the best Vols QB in their collective memory, even though his successor, Tee Martin was the one who took the team to its first Divisoin I National Championship in nearly 50 years.

But I digress. I have a friend in the Navy in Virginia who has a Prius C in this exact same color. I suspect she doesn’t have to endure questions about her “U.T. car” over there.

The Prius C was dwarfed by the Prius V I had the previous week. Had I been able to pull them to an open area and get comparison photos, I would have done so, but my V-to-C exchange with the press car delivery guy took place in a fairly crowded parking lot. Most shocking was how much taller the roofline of the V was than the C and how much longer the V was.

In contrast, when parked next to my wife’s Nissan cube, the Prius C was very similar in both overall length and wheelbase, and the interior gave the impression that the Prius C was probably just as wide as the cube, too. Official measurements say the cube is 156.7 inches long to the Prius C’s 157.3 inches, and that the cube rides on a 99.6-inch wheelbase compared to the Pius C’s 100.4 inches. So given how much time I’ve spent living with a vehicle of the same size, getting used to the Prius C was a snap.

2013 Toyota Prius C Photo Shoot 012

(Lyndon Johnson photo)

But there is one key area where our cube outshines the Prius C in terms of day-to-day usability as an errand-runner: Height. The cube has an even 65-inch height where the Prius C is 56.9 inches tall. That’s a nearly 8-inch difference that is exacerbated by the C’s higher load floor, which compared to the cube’s deep, well-like cargo hold fills up much more quickly when grocery shopping despite appearing to have a few inches of length on the cube’s well.

But that’s a minor quibble. The Prius C is all about frugality, and in that regard, it rightly trounced any cube. More on that in a later post.

Disclosure: Toyota provided the vehicle, insurance, and a tank of gas.

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