2009 Toyota Prius Hatchback Review | Edmunds.com

2009 Toyota Prius Hatchback

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Toyota Prius Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 1.5 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission CVT Automatic
  • Horse Power 110 hp @ 5000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 48/45 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2009 Toyota Prius

  • No car boasts a better blend of fuel and space-efficiency than the 2009 Toyota Prius.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Outstanding fuel economy, generous amount of interior space, easy to maneuver in tight spaces, high-tech and luxury goodies available.

  • Cons

    Less powerful and agile than other midsize sedans, uncomfortable for 6-foot-plus drivers, a few disappointing interior plastics.

  • What's New for 2009

    There are no significant changes for the 2009 Toyota Prius.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

My second prius

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Vehicle: 2009 Toyota Prius Touring 4dr Hatchback (1.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

My wife has a 2005 Prius that we bought new and she loves it, so I sold my truck which got 14 mpg and bought a 2009 Prius touring. I just decided I wanted to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem. I got every option except leather. I am averaging 50 mpg over the last 6000 miles. Incredible mpg! I love the bluetooth, navigation, HID lights, smartkey and steering wheel controls. The touring model handles better than the standard Prius. Although I grew up in the muscle car era, the world is a far different place now. Global warming, peak oil and environmental destruction must be dealt with responsibly. Wasting resources is not a path to a sustainable future.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Comes up short on fuel

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Vehicle: 2009 Toyota Prius Touring 4dr Hatchback (1.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

I had a 2006 Prius prior to this Prius. No major complaints with either one except for reduced MPG on the 2009 Touring. I averaged 44 MPG on the 2006 but only get about 41 MPG on the 2009.I live in a small "city"(10,000 people) and my in-city MPG is approximately 38.5 MPG. I make up the difference on my round trips to Albuquerque. Seats are a little uncomfortable on long trips but manageable in the city.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

Better than expected performance

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Vehicle: 2009 Toyota Prius Touring 4dr Hatchback (1.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

2009 Prius really could have more comfortable seats with power adjustment but I was very surprised after putting good ice/snowtires how well it performs on the winter roads. I was worried about driving the Prius on the busy Interstate Hwy 5 in California where everyone drives at 80 mph or more but the Prius handles well and performs well with good passing power between 60-80 mph. Pleasantly surprised with the power at the higher speeds compared to other small 4 cylinder cars. I also found the visibility out the back window better than most of the vehicles I have owned.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Good car with a few

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Vehicle: 2009 Toyota Prius Touring 4dr Hatchback (1.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

Overall a good practical car that I would purchase again. Gas mileage is greatly reduced in cold weather and on short trips. (motor need to warm up) Remove the rear center head rest so you can see better when backing up. Heater is not as powerful as with my other Toyota.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Love my prius

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Vehicle: 2009 Toyota Prius Touring 4dr Hatchback (1.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

Although the 2009 looks pretty much like every Prius since the 2004 redesign I think it's still a good looking car. For a small car the interior is spacious, lots of leg room even in the back seat. The seats recline to an almost flat position if needed. The rear seats lay flat opening up the storage space of the hatchback for plenty of storage. Up front there are two glove compartments, a small compartment under the radio, a sunglasses compartment overhead, and two large compartments between the seats. On the road I find the Prius has plenty of get-up-and-go when needed and the touchscreen display gives me the feedback I need to maximize my fuel economy.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Value for money finally

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Vehicle: 2009 Toyota Prius Touring 4dr Hatchback (1.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

We purchased our new Prius in Dec 08 and promptly drove from Florida to CA and back. 5900 miles with no problems and $125 in gas costs for the entire trip. Since then we have put another 17000 miles on it with NO problems mechanical or otherwise. I am looking forward to purchasing another in the not to distant future. Excellent value for money. Gas mileage after the first 6000 miles went from 47 highway and 49 city to 48 highway and 51 around town. Got to love the savings. Cruising speed is comfortably up to 80 interstate with no significant loss of economy. A pleasure passing the clunkers going over the great divide.

Full 2009 Toyota Prius Review

What's New for 2009

There are no significant changes for the 2009 Toyota Prius.


It's hard for car people with 93 octane running through their veins to realize this sometimes, but not everyone loves to drive. Not everyone gets a kick out of taking a turn quickly, or shooting away from a traffic light four times faster than the guy next to you. No, "most people" think of their cars as personal transportation devices on a slightly higher plane than their Frigidaires. It doesn't really matter what the steering feel is like, as long as the car offers lots of space, an easy-to-drive demeanor, worry-free reliability, a place to plug in your iPod and excellent fuel economy. For "most people," the 2009 Toyota Prius is possibly the ideal car.

First and foremost, this quintessential hybrid is the most fuel-efficient mass-production car currently on sale. While you pay a premium for all that hybrid sophistication, you're rewarded with considerably more refinement than a typical fuel-efficient subcompact (like a Honda Fit) has to offer, and there is something to be said for rewarding Toyota's technical innovation rather than Exxon-Mobil's ability to refine crude oil.

Beyond its fuel-sipping ways, the Prius features loads of available high-tech luxury goodies, which should appeal to those who are trading out of a pricier luxury car, as well as those cross-shopping the Prius against midsize sedans like the Accord and Camry. Moreover, the Prius stands out against such sedans by offering a funky but uniquely space-efficient body design. Believe it or not, there's more backseat legroom than a Ford Crown Victoria, with ample hatchback cargo capacity to boot. It may not look big from the outside, but climb inside and you'll find the Prius surprisingly large and utilitarian. It is a tad narrow, though, and taller drivers will find the driving position off-puttingly awkward.

There are other standout hybrid vehicles available for 2009, each offering similar gasoline-electric systems while providing a little something different. The Toyota Camry Hybrid offers a more luxurious and conventional driving experience. The Nissan Altima Hybrid is the fun choice for those who think of cars as something other than just an appliance. The Ford Escape Hybrid is the choice for those looking for an elevated driving position, all-wheel-drive and added utility. Finally, the Honda Civic Hybrid is an economical choice priced similarly to (but smaller than) the Prius.

Nonetheless, no car combines fuel- and space-efficiency quite like the 2009 Toyota Prius. In the end, we think this is the hybrid that will best meet the needs of "most people."

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2009 Toyota Prius is a midsize hatchback available in three trim levels: standard, base and Touring. The standard model comes with 15-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry, full power accessories, tilt-only steering wheel, touchscreen and steering-wheel controls, a hybrid system display and a six-speaker stereo with a CD player. The base trim (also known as Package 1) adds different wheels, a cargo cover, heated mirrors and cruise control. The Touring trim is differentiated by a sportier suspension, 16-inch wheels, xenon headlights, foglights and a larger rear spoiler.

The Prius options list (available on base and Touring trims) is extensive, capable of transforming this hybrid from humble economy car to near luxury status. Buyers can pick from one of the following packages. Package 2 adds stability control, a rearview camera, keyless ignition/entry and an auxiliary audio jack. Package 3 includes those items plus an alarm system, Bluetooth and an upgraded nine-speaker JBL stereo. Package 4 (available on the base only) adds xenon headlights and foglights. Package 5 includes the previously listed equipment and adds a voice-activated navigation system. Package 6 is like Package 5 but includes leather-trimmed seats and steering wheel. A choice of satellite radio providers is a stand-alone, dealer-installed option.

Powertrains and Performance

Underneath the Prius' hood resides Toyota's "Hybrid Synergy Drive." This drivetrain consists of a 1.5-liter gasoline four-cylinder engine and two electric motors -- one driving the front wheels, the other functioning solely as a generator to recharge the car's battery pack. Power is routed through a specialized continuously variable automatic transmission. The gas engine produces 76 horsepower and 82 pound-feet of torque. With the electric motor, net peak hp is 110, which is deceiving since the two power sources hit their peaks at different times. Regardless, power delivery is smooth and consistent from rest all the way to top speed. In performance testing, we clocked the Prius from zero to 60 mph in 10.4 seconds. The EPA estimates the Prius will achieve 48 mpg city/45 mpg highway and 46 mpg combined.


Every 2009 Toyota Prius comes standard with antilock brakes with brake assist, traction control, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. Stability control is available on all but the standard trim level. In government crash tests, Toyota's hybrid car earned four stars out of five for driver and front-passenger protection in frontal impacts. In side-impact testing, it earned five stars for front-occupant protection and four stars for the rear. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the Prius the top rating of "Good" for its protection in frontal-offset and side-impact crashes.

Interior Design and Special Features

The overall look of the 2009 Prius is upscale, if not a little oddball. The dash is flat and wide, with a large touchscreen, digital gauges, stubby electronic shifter and plenty of steering-wheel buttons. Climbing inside, you tend to feel as if you're about to take a trip in Epcot's "Car of the Future." Fit and finish is very tight and materials are pretty good, although some plastics are a little cheap. We've complained before about centrally located instrument clusters, but the Prius' electronic gauges are at least crystal-clear, mounted high and located close to the driver's line of sight, almost like a head-up display.

Although the Prius offers a spacious cabin and comfy seats, the driving position is poor for taller drivers, as the driver seat is not height-adjustable and the steering wheel does not telescope. This is an area that will hopefully be addressed in the next-generation Prius. The backseat, on the other hand, offers plenty of room for adults and rear-facing infant seats. The 14.4-cubic-foot hatchback trunk is also quite large and can accommodate several roller suitcases, golf clubs or a double stroller. Plus, the folding seatbacks provide an uninterrupted cargo area that no sedan can match.

Driving Impressions

Driving a Prius is, well, different. There is no audible engine start-up when you press the ignition button, just an instrument panel light that says "Ready." The transmission selector is a stubby knob protruding from the dash. Thanks to its Hybrid Synergy Drive, the 2009 Toyota Prius can accelerate up to about 25 mph using only electric power, kind of like a huge golf cart. It's all rather strange for those accustomed to conventional vehicles, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Aside from its idiosyncrasies, the Prius features minimal cabin noise and a suspension that provides an acceptably smooth ride despite the car's weight-saving chassis components. The Prius makes a fine highway companion, but it is particularly well-suited to the city, where its light electric steering, tight turning circle, excellent visibility and available rearview camera make it easy to park and maneuver through traffic. Also, this hybrid returns its best gas mileage in stop-and-go driving, as it's able to spend more time in full-electric mode.

Talk About The 2009 Prius

Gas Mileage


  • 48
  • cty
  • 45
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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