With no significant changes for 2009, the Toyota Prius is a hybrid car with a 1.5L gasoline four-cylinder engine and two electric motors, one for driving the front wheels and the other as a generator to recharge the car's battery pack. As a 5-door hatchback sedan, the Prius carries five passengers and is known for its specialized continuously variable automatic (CVT) transmission. The gas engine produces 76 hp and 82 lb-ft of torque, while with the electric motor has a net rating of 110 hp; however, the gas engine and electric motor peak in different intervals. Toyota Prius EPA fuel economy estimates hit a whopping 48 mpg city/45 mpg hwy and 46 mpg combined. Standard safety equipment includes traction control, antilock brakes with brake assist, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. Stability control comes standard on all trims except the base trim. The Prius is the most fuel-efficient mass-production car currently available, yet it also offers a slew of high-tech luxury features for the crowd jumping out of their luxury cars and into their hybrids.Read more Read less
The Toyota Prius is largely unchanged for 2009. Base prices rise about $500 from last year.
Fuel efficiency; low emissions; interior space; maneuverability
For space and fuel efficiency, the 2009 Toyota Prius can't be beat. The compact Prius has a design that emphasizes interior space, and thus it qualifies as a mid-size car, which Toyota claims makes it the most fuel-efficient mid-size car in America. The Touring Edition gives the Prius a sportier edge. With front side and side-curtain airbags standard across the line, the Prius is an even better value.