Toyota’s Prius family of cars is basically made up of four hybrid vehicles – Prius V, Prius Liftback, Prius Plug-in and Prius C. Automotive News editor Mark Rechtin took a closer look as to how these vehicles are designed and developed. He said that the Prius C is a real hybrid, the product of Toyota’s masterful branding scheme.
All four Priuses use Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive system, just like the Camry Hybrids and Highlander Hybrids. However, the Prius V is essentially a Prius Liftback – the original Prius -- having almost identical components but with a taller roofline. The Plug-In Prius, meanwhile, is powered by lithium ion batteries instead of nickel-metal hydride. The Plug-In Prius features a plug-in port but has the same sheet metal as the Prius Liftback.
The Prius C, however, only bears a little resemblance with the original Prius Liftback. In fact, the Prius C is built using a different platform, with the Yaris as a base. It also utilizes a different sheet metal. In addition, the Prius C is powered by a smaller base engine and sports a smaller battery pack. While the other Priuses uses a "joystick" gearshift toggle, the Prius C utilizes the traditional "PRNDL" layout.
Meanwhile, the Camry Hybrid is as similar to a Prius as the Prius C. Technically speaking, a Camry Hybrid could be dubbed as Prius Grande, and the Prius C as Yaris Hybrid. But since Toyota has a lax association with regards its vehicles, it could group the Prius C with the Prius family, making the vehicle line up more popular than it is really is.
In fact, Toyota sold a total of 21,477 Priuses in May 2012, with the Prius C accounting for 17 percent of the total sales. The Prius Liftback still leads, accounting for 61 percent of the total Prius sales r around 13,100 units. The Prius V accounted for 17 percent while the Prius Plug-In is credited with five percent. [source: Autonews]