Possibly looking for a C or not...

Discussion in 'Prius c Main Forum' started by orangecones, Jun 26, 2021.

  1. orangecones

    orangecones Junior Member

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    Howdy gents.

    I might be finding myself moving from US to NZ soon, and I'm contemplating my car options in advance because that's something I'll need to get a handle on quickly after arrival. The market is absolutely flooded (less so lately, but still) with a bunch of JDM import Aqua models. I've kinda settled on the S trim (adds rear wiper, rear power windows and a couple other small things over the base G - although I'd also like push button start, which not all S-es get), and figured I'll need to swap out the head unit from something Japanese to an English one, and that supports Android/Apple integration.

    1. How do you long time C drivers find rearward visibility? Should I bother adding on a backup camera while I'm at it?
    2. In my budget I am landing squarely around 2016 MY. So that puts me right on the line for the nose job refresh. Besides the nose job, are there any meaningful improvements on the refresh?
    3. Family people - have you put a (rear facing) child seat in the back of your C? Would a 6 foot tall driver be able to manage this magic trick? What about 2 seats? Stroller in the cargo area?
    Other contenders would include the Suzuki Swift Hybrid, but it's a mild hybrid so not sure that gets me where I want to go. Honda Fit hybrid -- dual clutch - much more of a "drivers car", less great for the nightmare that is Auckland traffic, and more expensive maintenance - although more headroom, but bit less MPGs. Nissan Note e-Power - Bit more expensive, can't find too much English language info on it since it's a JDM only model, roomiest of the lot, but I don't love the jellybean shape or interior design (although not any more or less than the Aqua/C - I think Honda is the best in class here).

    Of course - another option is to get a late G3 / early G4 regular Prius which would help with question 3. We currently have a Camry in the US, but NZ roads are also different - on our last trip there we had a Yaris rental - and neither of us want to drive anything significantly larger than that.

    Thanks for reading my rant.
     
  2. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    i have never owned a c, and no nothing about new zealand other than how much my daughter enjoyed it there.
    although he doesn't own a c, perhaps @dolj can provide some insight into new zealand cars in general.

    all the best!
     
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  3. Raytheeagle

    Raytheeagle Senior Member

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    The member summon:).

    Completed the trifecta(y).
     
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  4. rjdriver

    rjdriver Active Member

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    Rear visibility in the C is pretty bad. I removed the rear head rests on the right and left almost immediately, leaving the center installed. I hardly ever have anyone in the rear seat, but I can easily reinstall the head rests when I do. I know that some have replaced them with those from a Yaris; I believe the 2008 or 2009 model years will fit, but not sure so check first. The Yaris outer rests are like the center one in that they kind of wrap over the seat top when lowered, so they are more out of the way.

    2008 Toyota Yaris Hatchback Rear Seats - Picture / Pic / Image
     
  5. dolj

    dolj Senior Member

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    I have no Prius c experience other than when I drove my son's, so I don't feel I can contribute much except to say it didn't stand out as extremely horrible. The interior of the NA c, the JDM c, and the NZDM c I imagine would be on par (allowing for the steering wheel being on the "wrong" side), so I'm sure the US observations would be equally valid in this regard.
    Our market is flooded in general with JDM of all makes and models. Primarily people go for these because they are cheap when compared to their NZDM counterparts and they are usually more well-appointed as the Japanese like their bells and whistles. JDMs also tend to be relatively new and have lower kms for their age. The instrumentation on most cars isn't affected by the fact that they are Japanese as it doesn't show anywhere significant. But for Prii, in particular, I personally wouldn't buy a JDM. The three main reasons are:
    • You generally know nothing of the Japanese ownership and service history before importation;
    • The MDF/instrumentation is in Japanese and I don't speak or read Japanese (katakana);
    • If you need panel work done, you might be held up waiting for a part to be imported from Japan. NZDM and JDM parts are not necessarily interchangeable.
    Particular to the Prius c is the JDM (Aqua) only has a Driver Safety Rating of 3 stars and an Overall Safety Rating of 4 stars. The NZDM (Prius c) has an Overall Safety Rating of 5 stars with no specific breakdown between Driver/Overall Safety Rating.

    When my son was looking for a Prius c I advised him to get an NZDM one and helped him buy it, but it was more difficult because they do not come on the market very often. You have to be prepared to search the whole of the country and possibly wait a while for a good one to turn up. However, if you use the Toyota dealer network they are (usually) more than happy to bring the car from the far reaches to your location. The Prius I bought to replace my first Prius I used an east coast of Te Ika a Maui (The North Island) dealer to buy a car from Invercargill (very bottom of Te Wai Pounamu (The South Island)).
    This is what I did coming from first a 2.2L Camry Station wagon and then a 3L Camry sedan. I did not want a small car like an Echo or Yaris (I don't think the Prius c was around then and even it was I wouldn't have considered it) mainly because they were not big enough for the family and general life, IMO. I considered the Prius was a good 'medium-sized car with a big car' feel.

    I know you said you were happy with the Yaris but if you plan to travel (which you will) a small car is just not as comfortable as a Prius although lots of people here still do drive long distances in their small cars. The biggest thing for me is the engine noise. YMMV.
    I find the same in the Prius, except I keep them fully lowered and only put them up when transporting rear passengers which is not all that often

    Let me know if you have any questions I have answered well enough or other questions you might have.
     
    #5 dolj, Jun 28, 2021
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2021
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  6. MICHAEL RUBY

    MICHAEL RUBY Junior Member

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    Don't even consider a Prius C. As a Prius C owner I can tell you that this is a "toy hybrid". The battery is only 0.9 kWhr. You can go about 5 blocks on a level street with a fully charged battery. You will completely recharge the battery in about 5 blocks of a downhill lightly on your brake. The new Ford 150 pickup battery is 100 kWhr by comparison. It is useful as a town car in a fairly level city.
     
    #6 MICHAEL RUBY, Jun 29, 2021
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  7. orangecones

    orangecones Junior Member

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    Thanks for the deep dive @dolj .

    Re Aqua being a 3 star car vs export models being 5. My understanding is that this can largely be explained by the airbag differences. The base Aquas only have the 2 front airbags, while Prius C models get 8. There is a safety package for the Aqua though which also brings 8 airbags (along with lane keep assist and some other active safety stuff) which should account for the missing stars?

    It's funny that you feel like not knowing service history on a reasonably new, reasonable low km Prius is a bigger deal than cars in general. If anything, given the Prius, I'd almost be worried less if it never got an oil change in 40,000 km. Point taken about the Japanese instrumentation though.

    As much as we like our Camry (2.4L) sedan - it came with the wife from before we even met. Our last NZ trip was a drive from AKL to CHC - bit over 1000km.Obviously there's a difference between a rental car on vacation you only have to deal with for 2 weeks, vs actually owning one for years. We'll be living in Auckland, so at least the roads are open enough that we're not opposed going a size up from Aqua/Fit/Note, although not another Camry big. Especially for you in Wellington - going down The Terrace, I felt like my Yaris was too big, my wing mirrors were millimeters away from the parked cars in parts.

    My dad (in the US) owns a 3rd gen Prius. I get to drive it on occasion. It's comfortable enough. I do hate the split rear window though. Also I would prefer a proper hatch to a liftback. Even going up to 4th gen wouldn't really address these things.

    But anyway, would there be any other models you'd recommend looking at that I might not be thinking of? My preference is a hatch or maybe wagon. Want to stay under $20k NZD (but close to $15k is better - but I realize current used car pricing is nuts). The wife wants a hybrid, and given the stop and go nature of Auckland traffic, I can't disagree. Not a plug in, since we are likely not going to have a convenient plug. So half the reason Prius (in any shape) came to mind is just the projected low cost of ownership for both fuel, maintenance, and expected reliability. And that's basically what we're targeting. The Corolla Fielder might be an alternative to the Prius, although it uses the older hybrid system (the same 1.5L as the Aqua/C/2nd gen) and I think all the extra room just goes to cargo, not particularly the passenger space. Honda Shuttle doesn't really seem to be the solution either. All the Suzukis are too small, unless you go SUV, which defeats fuel economy goals and gets expensive. Prius Alpha (Prius V, for Americans) is too big. Who else?
     
  8. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    i'm not following you, why would you want a bigger battery?
     
  9. dolj

    dolj Senior Member

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    LOL. The Terrace is pretty wide by Wellington standards and if you were that close to the parked cars in a Yaris you must have been quite to the left of the centerline. :LOL: I certainly had no problems driving a Camry around the streets around here, even The Terrace. You get used to the narrow streets. The best thrill is meeting a bus or a large truck coming the other way on a really narrow street. Oh, how we laugh at the cheap thrills.
    Not really, except to say you might want to expand your horizons to consider some EVs.

    For Auckland traffic, if you will be commuting in the gridlock (on the motorway - Freeway to the Americans) I definitely recommend staying away from a manual box (stick-shift to the Americans) and make sure to get an automatic.

    I am a Toyota guy now, so the only other model I could think to recommend is a Corolla and again not a JDM and a hybrid if you can get it.
     
    #9 dolj, Jul 1, 2021
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2021
  10. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    Rear visibility was a major concern when we first bought the car in 2018, 44k miles ago. We thought it was going to be terribly limiting.

    Well, we got used to it. It really gets easier with experience, and now we don't think of it. Ours is a 2018 with camera and that does help. It also helps to remove unused back row headrests and stow them under the front seats. There's room.

    • 12v battery changed to an even more obscure type
    • HVAC controls updated, nicer display, better button layout.
    • The LED headlights included in the facelift (for some markets anyway) are really amazing, a standout feature on the car.
    • Instrument panel updated to include full color video display
    • Toyota Safety Sense auto brakes, lanekeeping nanny package- seems nice, hope we never need it. We don't find it intrusive anyway.

    Our daughter was born in January so we just went through this. I'm 6'4" and with a rear-facing seat (chico something?) installed in the rear right seat, we get tight: I cannot sit in the front passenger seat. I can still put the driver's seat anywhere I want, no corner obstruction from the kid seat. Mrs. McCoalroller is of considerably shorter stature, so she can still fit in either front passenger or rear right seat when I drive with the baby also on board.

    The only real restriction is that if we have the baby with us and she is driving, I must sit in the left rear seat. She normally keeps the seat far enough forward that I'm genuinely comfortable back there. More back seat headroom than a lot of larger cars.

    I see no hope of putting two rear-facing child seats in a c if the front seat occupants are over maybe 5'9".

    Where strollers are concerned, the big clunky one that goes with the modular safety seat is quite large even when folded. It requires that the left rear seat be folded down to stow the stroller longitudinally- meaning don't get the One spec, because that doesn't have the 60/40 split seat.

    We also have an "umbrella" stroller that folds up much smaller. It fits easily in the native storage area without needing to surrender seat space and leaves us appropriate room for ordinary errands.

    Now, we just yesterday bought a larger car, because we were planning on a "family hauler" in the other half of the garage anyway. With the pandemic, we didn't need cars as much in general, so we decided to get by for a while on only the Prius c. It did fine, even with the limits I've described above.

    So now our Prius c is returning to mostly ultracommuter duty for my wife, plus grocery-getting duties around town. It already excelled at that duty, and now we've proven that it can be a backup family mover in certain circumstances.

    Good luck!
     
  11. orangecones

    orangecones Junior Member

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    Yeah, that's a given. Neither of us has much manual experience anyway, and we're not about to learn in Auckland traffic.

    As much as we want one - unfortunately this is a no go. It's extremely unlikely that our apartment will have charging available. We already know the wife's job won't have a charger. Most certainly unlikely my job won't either (also I am likely the public transit commuter anyway). I am aware the government recently passed a considerable infrastructure package which will see a build out of public EV chargers, but that will take years and doesn't help me now. And most of all, the only EV in my budget would be the 30kw Leaf, which is terrible and range is much too short. As you said - I will be traveling a bunch (especially these next few years) and a 30kw Leaf is not the way to do that.

    Ok. I can relate. In past life I had a 1st gen Nissan Rogue (similar to Qashqai for non-Americans) and the 3/4 blindspot view was so blind you could hide an elephant. The straight back view - the window had an up pitch for some reason - and true story, a Miata that maybe pulls a little bit too close behind you at a light, entirely invisible. No camera or sensors either, but bigger than average wing mirrors. I guess eventually you learn to compensate. Unfortunately I can't say the same for the wife - she's been driving this Camry for at least 6 years at this point, and she still has trouble parallel parking - therefore my concern for the need for cameras/sensors.

    That is news to me, and I guess I'm happy to hear that? I have experience in the back of the Note (aka Versa Note) and there is way more room than some larger cars, or at least it feels like it. At 6'1" I still have enough headroom to wear a helmet, and a hat. Presumably the Fit (aka Jazz) is a notch down from the Note. And I honestly expected the Prius/Aqua to be the worst of the 3 since you can visually see the roof take a pretty good dip down towards the rear half. Thanks for all the kid notes btw, very appreciated and hard info to come by.

    Honestly, I would go to a nearby Toyota dealer or used car lot or whatever to look at a (US-spec) C just to at least get the idea of size and driving dynamics (those would stay the same between versions, even if equipment levels change) but last few opportunities I had I'd jump on autotrader and find like 2 cars, an hour away. I tried. I guess I can go look at the Fit and Note, should be easier to come by. But with those cars I'd be purely just looking at size, as the engine options I'd want (hybrid and e-power, respectively) are not available here.

    But also I am starting to arrive at the conclusion that maybe I need to deal with it and go regular Prius (gen 4 if I can), or possibly* a Corolla Fielder, even if @dolj doesn't approve of getting a JDM hybrid.
     
  12. farmecologist

    farmecologist Senior Member

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    Having owned Gen3, Prius v wagon, and now the Prius C, I thought the visibility in the C is pretty good! Certainly better than Gen3, but not as good as the v wagon.
     
  13. farmecologist

    farmecologist Senior Member

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    Yes, the Prius C's battery is small ( 0.9 kWh as you pointed out ). The Gen3 and Prius v wagon have a 1.3 kWh battery.

    However, the Prius C only weighs 2,500 lbs. The Gen3 is 3,042 lbs. The Prius v wagon is around 3,274 lbs. That's a LOT less weight to push around. I can feel it when I'm driving the Prius C.

    We have owned a Gen3, Prius v wagon, and now the Prius C....and trust me, weight makes a HUGE difference when trying to 'glide' without the engine running. My 'test' is the approach to our house in our neighborhood, which has a slight curved uphill stretch. The Prius C 'glide', believe it or not, is the easiest to accomplish. I can maintaining or even increase speed slightly with the engine off. The Gen3 comes in second, and the beast that is the Prius v comes in third. (y)
     
  14. dolj

    dolj Senior Member

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    Don't worry if I (or anyone else, for that matter) don't approve, it is your decision to make. You asked for opinions and I gave mine, but at the end of the day, you need to do what you think is best for you and your circumstances/situation.

    All the best and I hope you find a nice car to start your NZ adventure/relocation.
     
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  15. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    I like the balance struck in the late model USA c: you get a camera that genuinely helps you back into tight spaces, but you don't get beepy sensors in the bumpers to jack up the costs of fenderbenders, or throw false alerts etc.

    Just so you have the right idea- it's not like there's a vaulted ceiling back there. It's just enough. Specific comparisons: I can't sit naturally in the back seat of a Chevrolet Impala or a Tesla Model S. The crown of my head hits the headliner before the back of my head finds the headrest in those cars. If I scoot down/forward just a half inch, I can fit. but I've already compromised comfort and possibly safety just to do that. The scoot isn't necessary in the back of a Prius c.

    Speaking of fits...

    We also considered the late model Honda Fit. We loved it on paper, and everything was great until I tried to sit in the front passenger seat. No go. They've changed a contour on the dashboard that takes away too much knee space. Previous generation was fine. Driving position is fine for me, it's only the passenger side.

    The secret of the Fit is that everything is compromised to create more back seat & cargo space. Even the fuel tank is under the front seats to enable a lower floor in the back. It's brilliant engineering and they've probably created the ultimate Uber car. It just didn't work for us due to limited legroom on the front passenger side only.

    We combed the subcompact category pretty hard before we bit into the c. We had a Hyundai Accent hatchback previously- we loved that one dearly for its simplicity, reliability and frugality.
     
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  16. Steve Mty

    Steve Mty New Member

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    Why would you want to drive 5 blocks on EV??? It's a Hybrid not an EV. Am I, as a new Prius C owner missing something?
     
  17. dolj

    dolj Senior Member

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    No, you're not missing anything. In fact, you've hit the nail right on the head.
     
  18. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    yes, we're all wanting to know, especially when you can buy a ford f-150
     
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