2009 Toyota Prius

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What Changed for 2009:
  • Carryover from the 2008 model year
  • Next-generation Prius coming as a 2010 model
The Toyota Prius was the world's first mass-produced hybrid car. After several years on sale in Japan, Toyota brought the Prius to North America as a 2001 model. In 2004, Toyota introduced the second-generation Prius, a larger car with more features. In addition to its futuristic 5-door hatchback architecture, the new Prius offered enhanced dynamics and better fuel economy. Though unchanged for the 2009 model year, Toyota will offer a new, third-generation Prius in calendar year 2009 as a 2010 model. The new car will have similar styling, but will be slightly larger. It also will have a larger gasoline engine to provide more power. At some point, when battery development advances, the third-generation Prius figures to offer a plug-in hybrid powertrain that will enable it to operate for much longer distances on electricity alone.

In addition to Toyota's regular warranty-3 years/36,000 miles of bumper-to-bumper coverage and 5 years/60,000 miles on the powertrain-Toyota warrants the hybrid components, including traction battery, control modules and inverter, for 8 years or 100,000 miles.

Model Lineup
For 2009, the Toyota Prius continues to be sold in Standard, Base and Touring Edition models. The Standard package was new for 2008 and deleted cruise control, heated mirrors, seat-back pockets and a few other features from the former Base model. However, it continued to offer air conditioning, intermittent rear-window wiper, power windows and locks, and remote keyless entry. The Base model now includes cruise control, heated mirrors, seat-back pockets with tilt steering column and audio and air controls mounted on the steering wheel. The Touring Edition gets a sport-tuned suspension, high-intensity-discharge (HID) headlamps, 16-inch wheels and fog lamps. Options include Smart Key with push-button start, 9-speaker JBL audio system and navigation.

The 2009 Toyota Prius combines a 76-hp 1.5-liter gasoline engine and an electric motor to produce a combined output of 110 hp. The electric motor produces 295 lb.-ft. of torque from 0 to 1200 rpm. Toyota pins its 0-to-60 mph time at about 10 seconds. Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive, now in its third generation, shifts between gasoline and electricity, the latter stored in a hidden battery compartment that uses regenerative braking power from the motion of the Prius. An electronic continuously variable transmission (ECVT) is the only available transmission. The Prius is certified by the EPA as a SULEV-Super Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle. The Prius is rated at 48 mpg city/45 mpg highway even under the new and more refined federal tests that became effective with the 2008 model year.

Standard safety equipment on the 2009 Toyota Prius includes dual front air bags; front-seat-mounted side air bags; and front and rear side curtain air bags. The anti-lock braking system includes electronic brake-force distribution (EBD) and brake assist, which applies extra pressure in panic-stop situations. Safety options include Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) and a rear back-up camera with images displayed on the Prius' dashboard monitor once the car is shifted into Reverse.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the 2009 Toyota Prius receives 4 stars (out of a possible 5) in frontal crash testing for both driver and front passenger, as well as 5-star side-impact scores for front- and 4 stars for rear-seat occupants. The Prius receives 4 stars for rollover resistance. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) rated the 2008 Prius as \"Good\" (its best score) in front impacts, and the 2009 model is identical and likely to receive the same rating.

Besides the Prius' aerodynamic profile-measured at .026 coefficient of drag-the car's Hybrid Synergy Drive system works to constantly improve fuel efficiency, according to Toyota. When the car stops, the car's gasoline engine turns off. Under gentle acceleration, power comes solely from the Prius' electric motor. Once up to speed, the gasoline engine and the motor and battery pack can be used in tandem for more power. During braking, kinetic energy is stored in the car's battery pack.

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