53 mpg city: Think about it when you’re stuck in congestion
And those 40 mpg compacts turn into 20-something mpg cars
I know, everyone wants to talk about the prototype lithium-ion battery explosion that rocked GM this morning. Why? It was a prototype battery being tested for such outcomes. So, they’ll have to tweak the chemistry. That’s the nature of prototypes. The explosion means nothing in terms of the Chevy Volt.
Anyway, had to run an errand this morning in rainy LA — two things that don’t mix. Thus, I got stuck on the 110, and since I wasn’t going anywhere I had a lot of time to observe the scene around me, and all the pretty little compact cars, pretending to be fuel efficient.
That’s right. Pretending to be fuel efficient, because in urban traffic even tiny cars like the Fiat can’t even achieve 30 mpg. Yet, the Toyota Prius C is pumping out 50+ mpg.
Yes, I know the Prius costs more up front, but when you add the interior and cargo volume, amenities, etc in an as close to an apples-to-apples comparison as possible, the C really does offer long term cost-effective value compared to the competition. See Toyota Prius C Versus non-hybrid compacts and subcompacts, for more on this angle.
Even though not apples to apples, let’s compare a base Prius C to a base Fiat 500 in the urban jungle anyway.
If you’re a pure city driver the Toyota Prius C, at $4.20 per gallon, would save C hybrid drivers $1150 per year compared to that Fiat based on EPA numbers. Thus the C’s hybrid premium is returned in about 3.5 years. After 5 years, the C driver is way ahead. After 10 years, the comparison is a joke. Sure, those numbers don’t add up for highway drivers, or those that rarely drive in urban conditions, but for city drivers that Prius C hybrid’s 53 mpg is a pretty serious number.
Despite its larger MSRP, the Prius C is a great, cheap city car.