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Toyota grew the nation's best-selling hybrid into a family of new models for 2012, including a baby Prius that teases with a low price but measures up to its parents only in its ability to bypass gas stations.

The subcompact Yaris-based Prius c uses a miniature version of Toyota's Synergy Drive gasoline engine, electric motor and battery to achieve outstanding fuel economy — an EPA estimated 53 mpg city and 48 mpg highway. That's 2 mpg better in city driving than the standard Prius but 2 mpg worse on the highway. But the tiny new car is a lot more Yaris than Prius, despite its highly evolved powertrain and familiar bean-shaped body. The baby Prius is noisy, bumpy, and coarse.

 


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