c is OK, if used mostly in urban or short commute duty...
Having driven a Prius c to find out how it performed, this Consumer Report seems to have landed a bit on the harsh side. The Prius c's ride was tight for sure, but still well mannered, controlled and very solid as well. None of us felt abused by the ride. Cabin noise during our drive was comparable to most cars in this class and we drove with the radio off much of the time to gauge this factor. Acceleration was good enough for the urban ride we took, while well adjusted rear view mirrors made keeping tabs on traffic behind this car not that problematic.
I found it to be a tidy city car, capable enough to be a second car or a primary urban commuter that gets extraordinary fuel mileage. With seat backs down, it had plenty of room for an average family's grocery transporting needs. We recorded over 60 MPG during the test drive with 3 full sized passengers aboard. All of us took a turn driving this car through a 10 mile loop that included plenty of traffic and most kinds of road surfaces. The fuel economy figure was impressive, even after deducting a couple of MPG due to a known over optimistic fuel consumption display.
Steering was mentioned during the CR test. This small vehicle is not intended to be a track car, and we all found the steering to be accurate and surprisingly well weighted for an electric power boost system. Electric power steering has come a long way in a short time. Go test drive a second generation Prius Hatchback, and then the c, and you will easily feel the improvement.
If hard plastic dash materials turn you away from these small cars, then you will be disappointed and also turned away from many offerings not limited to this size segment from many manufacturers. We currently drive a 2011 Prius Hatchback that also has a lot of hard plastic in the cabin as well. Not my favorite material by any stretch, but the unfortunate return of hard interior plastics is a result of a world economy gone sour. The profit margin on a small car is pretty slim to begin with, so use of these cheaper hard materials has increased noticeably in recent years. I wish all cars could offer an option or could just be produced with the much less scratch prone and pleasing soft materials that were quite commonly found in small entry level cars back in the mid to late 1990s.
The Prius c may not be a perfect car, but we found great build quality and would definitely rank it a strong contender for an ultimately efficient 2nd car or commuter for our family. There are many other choices out there, but even the better ones like the Ford Fiesta can manage only around 40 MPG if driven very gently. The Prius c can exceed that MPG figure easily and by 10 to 20 MPG. That's a factor to consider as fuel prices stay on the high side. The Fiesta, on the other hand, would be a more fun car to drive, given it's better suspension dynamics. There are many choices to make.