One doesn’t purchase a Prius for its prowess in acceleration or at the drag strip. It is designed for excellent fuel economy in practical package, and it does both exceptionally.
Acceleration and engine performance in the 2009 Toyota Prius are a mixed bag, thanks to the hybrid powertain of the car. Edmunds notes that the unusual powertrain on the 2009 Toyota Prius, known as the Hybrid Synergy Drive, "consists of a 1.5-liter gasoline engine and two electric motors" whose combined "net peak horsepower is 110." With only the electric motor and batteries, the Toyota Prius can "accelerate up to about 25 mph,” says Edmunds. The added boost of the gasoline engine provides decent, if not glorious, power for the Toyota 2009 Prius. ConsumerGuide observes "slow movement away from a stop accounts for a middling 10.5 sec 0-60 mph," but adds that once the gasoline engine kicks in, the "Prius picks up speed nicely...and copes reasonably well with traffic." ForbesAutos finds that, overall, "acceleration is roughly equivalent to that of a four-cylinder Toyota Camry."
Cars.com points out that the hybrid engine system "teams with a continuously variable automatic transmission" that replaces a more traditional automatic or manual transmission on the Toyota 2009 Prius. One of the benefits of this transmission is that it always keeps the engine in the proper rev range, which Edmunds says helps the Toyota Prius achieve "smooth and consistent" acceleration "from rest all the way to top speed." The transmission also improves efficiency, with ForbesAutos reporting that the 2009 Toyota Prius returns "excellent fuel economy" with an EPA-estimated 48 mpg city and 45 mpg highway.
Most reviewers find the Toyota Prius to handle just fine in city driving, but none of them report pushing it too hard on a demanding, twisty road. Edmunds loves the Prius here, lauding the hybrid's "light electric steering, tight turning circle, [and] excellent visibility." However, ConsumerGuide thinks the electric steering feel is different from many other cars and has qualms with the 2009 Toyota Prius' "soft suspension and fairly skinny, economy-based tires," which contribute to "marked cornering lean and noseplow." Cars.com sides with ConsumerGuide, saying that "Toyota isn't doing itself any favors with the Touring's sport tuning," since it would take much more than a suspension upgrade to make the Prius a sporty vehicle.