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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How is the Prius for acceleration on highways? I am spoiled with a 6 cylinder Ford Contour now.

I am hearing a lot of favorable reviews about the Prius, but I am guessing it would be a big change from what I have now in terms of power.

Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I'm happy with its highway performance -- but here in California, "highway" = "freeway". Plenty of power for any lane change you can dream of, up or down hills. The only time I found it wanting was when gunning it up one of those metered on-ramps (the ones with the traffic light)... but the truth be told, if the light is red, the freeway isn't moving that fast.

What I have not tried, and that I would wonder about, is its ability to execute highway passing into oncoming traffic.

Don't know what a V6 Contour is like, but I would think that any compact car would be a step down in acceleration from any V6 car.

Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It depends on what kind of acceleration you are talking about. For pulling onto a highway from a dead stop it's terrific because you have that 258 lb-ft. torque at zero to 400 RPM from the 44 HP motor. At higher speeds like 60 to 80 MPH it's probably not terrific but would say it's comparable to a Camry. If I watch my rear view mirror when I start from a traffic light, I can leave anybody in the dust. I think it only takes about 3 seconds to do 0 to 30. The car is designed to be more practical in urban or gridlocked traffic. I find if you stay under that 42 mph magic numnber, you can easily get 60 to 75 MPG on the level. There is an excellent article in the December 01 issue of READER'S DIGEST on the cover page titled THE PERFECT CAR - see page 98. If you can't get a copy, check it out at your local library. Another great link is John's web site and click on HOW IT WORKS and SPECIFICATIONS. - <>

best regards,

Don Good

Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I think the best way to detemine this is to take it for a
test drive and make your own judgement.

When I first test drove the Prius, I expected its acceleration
to suck because I had read an absurd review of the Prius
before seeing for myself.

The test drive is what really sold me. I was quite pleased
with the performance. You might be too.

Of course it is not as powerful as a V6, but a lot comes down
to perception and experience. You really need to try it.


Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I find that from 60 to 85 it is really quite impressive. I feel extremely comfortable passing on two lane roads. I think you will be quite surprised on the acceleration - there is no real fall off up to 85 that I can detect. I just keep pushing the accelerator down and it keeps accelerating. Of course you will not have the usual up, up , up ,and away sound of the ICE. What you will experience is the ICE getting up to top RPM very quickly and then the torque from the MG1 starts coming on as you put the accelerator down further. If you depend on sound, then you will stop pressing the accelerator at around 60 mph, but just keep pushing down and the acceleration keeps on coming.. Kindof fun actually.

steve dickerson
'02 super white 10,000 miles...



Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I agree, you really need a test drive to be sure.

The only thing that'll throw you (besides you getting used to the superb brakes ;-) ), is the CVT (continuously variable transmission). If you're used to "driving by sound" (know the speed that you're doing based on the sound of the engine), then driving the Prius at first can be a bit disconcerting. The engine will rev when you are going up an incline, or try to accelerate. Don't worry, the engine goes to whatever RPM is most efficient for the amount of load that you're putting on it, and it won't stress itself (rev-limiter to protect transmission).

Also, since you don't have any gear changes to let you know what speed you're doing, you can very quickly be speeding without realizing it (particularly when taking a left turn on a busy road). Many people have thought the car slow at acceleration, until they actually looked at the speedometer... (Or because they were afraid of the engine sounds, they let off of the gas pedal...)

Personally, I've never had a car pass me after a red light yet at an intersection that goes from 2 lanes to 1 immediately following the light (that I didn't purposely let them pass me). No tickets, either. 8)

Then, if you're not ready for it, the engine shuts off when you come to a stoplight and you think that you just stalled (and instinctively go to turn the key again)...

Anyhow, my dealership was great when it came to a test drive. I let them photocopy my license, then they handed me the keys and said "have fun." My husband and I (no salesperson with us) took the demo car out for some errands around town... It was at least an hour or so later that we brought the car back, and at least a 20 mile drive (didn't keep track). We immediately fell in love with the car based on the test drive.


Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I understand your concern about highway performance. I was also skeptical before I bought my Prius. Before ordering the Prius we took a test drive on a hot summer day (about 98 F) up a stretch of mountian highway north of town. This section of highway was great for my test drive. The speed limit is 65 mph. There is a steep section that averages a 6% grade for about 1.5 miles (in other words we climb from 3760 ft to 4240 feet in 1.5 miles ... or ... an elevation gain of 480 feet in about 7920 feet of distance).

Here is the scenario.

Air conditioning on (outside temp 98 F)
3 adults in the car (over to 550 lbs)
Drive up 6% grade hill at 65 mph

That Prius made it to the top of that hill just fine and had no trouble maintaining 65 mph. The engine was at or near its computer limited 4500 rpm all the way up the hill, but hey, I can live with a little engine noise in that scenario. I think the display said something like we averaged about 45 mpg during our 40 mile mixed city/highway test drive in the sweltering heat.

I was sold after that test drive. That hill has been a killer on other cars I've owned. In fact, I would always turn off the A/C when going up that hill in my other cars. After the test drive last July my wife and I logged onto the internet and placed the order. Our 2002 Super White arrived almost exactly 5 months later on a snowy December 18th, 2001.

Even with the 70 HP gas engine I think the Prius has more oomph than comparable 4 cylinder cars of similar size and weight. I understand the HV batteries can put out a max of about 25 HP (18.6 kW). I guess that gives about a peak of 95 HP available for passing or hill climbing. The 95 HP is only available for a short time period (maybe 5 minutes???) before the batteries drain to the point that the computer will go into a "save the batteries" mode. I have never seen this happen and I expect that it would be very unusual to drain the batteries this far when passing because the Prius will charge the batteries back up again when you go back to normal highway cruising.

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