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Merge, Prius, merge! Acceleration from yesteryear

Posted by Clifford Atiyeh  December 15, 2008 02:10 PM

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Jumping into traffic in a Prius makes any regular car seem like a slingshot. Big, grateful tears stream down your cheek, the white-knuckle fear of 110 horsepower on a freeway entrance ramp gone. The Prius saves fuel like it's 2020, but drives like it came from 1987.

Acceleration numbers may seem like the quibbles of car enthusiasts, and for the most part they are. Without a stopwatch, no one can tell the difference between bombing to 60 miles per hour in 3.9 seconds versus 4.1, and everyday situations don't require a Bugatti Veyron to merge on the turnpike.

Prius drivers are too busy bragging about mileage and keeping up with the latest Barack Obama bumper stickers to be concerned about speed. But I'll bet their hearts pump faster when they're about to enter I-93 North during rush hour - as I did - with the pedal floored, the engine groaning like a lawnmower, and a train of cars rushing past as the lane ends right about NOW. That's not adrenaline kicking in - it's instinct telling you that zero to 60 in 10 seconds can be flat-out dangerous.

Now I know how my mother used to feel when she roared her 1987 Volvo 240 DL at full song, her body leaning forward as if she was coaxing a horse. That car boasted 114 horsepower and a 3,000-pound curb weight (about the same as a Prius), and couldn't keep up with traffic 10 years ago. (Read Car Lust's fantastic take on a 350,000-mile 240).

Today's economy cars get to sixty in around eight seconds, family sedans average in the sixes and sevens, and today's 65 m.p.h. speed limits require reaching highway speeds of 70 and 75 m.p.h. just to enter safely.

Indeed, the Prius is admirable as a city car. Even with my eager foot, I still averaged 40 miles per gallon around Boston, where its whisper-quiet operation helped it feel light on its feet. But there's no getting around a 1.5 liter gas engine in a car this size, even with electric assist. Toyota has promised more power for the next Prius, due late 2009. Surely buyers could sacrifice a few miles for greater driving confidence.

(For more Prius envy, check out this Globe video of the state's modified plug-in Prius that claims 100 miles per gallon).

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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121 comments so far...
  1. While I'm not going to win a drag race with a Veyron any time soon driving my Prius, I've never had a near-death experience due to poor acceleration, either. I commute daily on 95 and 93, and I've taken the Prius on numerous interstate travels. I frequently find myself tailgating someone on an on-ramp, pulling back on my acceleration so I don't rear-end them. The Prius is perfectly capable for both highway and city driving. Maybe the car you drove needs a tune up, or perhaps you found some anomalous 30% grade on-ramps? Come to think of it, what would be truly anomalous would be Boston-area rush-hour traffic moving at 60 mph to begin with.

    Posted by Kat December 15, 08 03:58 PM
  1. I would say your assessment is poor. The Prius excels as a highway car and is in no way a danger to those driving it. If one knows how to drive, merging onto a highway at 50-55 is not a problem. Maybe those who are panicky and not adept to highway driving might want more but for most people the Prius is a fine highway car. I don't know why you would want to steer people away from buying a certain car based on your off-base observations?

    Posted by Joe December 15, 08 04:13 PM
  1. Another Prius driver here. It's clearly not a sports car, but I have never once felt unsafe on the highway due to lack of power. (Lack of sleep once, but that had nothing to do with the car.)

    Posted by II December 15, 08 04:25 PM
  1. A little late on this one buddy.

    Posted by Matt December 15, 08 04:37 PM
  1. I agree with Kat that there must have been something wrong with the particular Prius you were driving. I do plenty of highway driving in my Prius and have always been able to accelerate with the best of 'em. I've never felt unsafe merging onto a highway. The only painful part is watching the gas mileage go down when I floor it.

    Posted by audrey December 15, 08 04:42 PM
  1. The comments by Kat express my view of the Prius. We've had the car for about a year and a half. Never have I had a problem with acceleration. In fact, since I'm concerned about gas milage, I often find myself surprised at how fast I'm going. Then I take my foot off the gas to slow down. We average 58 mpg in the warm months, 50-52 now that it's cold. The car is driven in heavy traffic down either 95, 93 or Rt 16 & 2 every workday. We have also taken it to FL. & NC on long trips.
    There is loads of room in back. Lots of leg room & a good sized trunk. I'm looking forward to adding another Prius to our household.

    Posted by Renee December 15, 08 04:46 PM
  1. This car is a rocket compared to my minivan.

    Posted by Chris December 15, 08 05:31 PM
  1. What kind of merge rate are you after? I drive the 93 every day and *never* had an issue. And I smirk everytime I fill up at the station (which isn't very often).

    Posted by Freestone December 15, 08 05:33 PM
  1. We don't have "freeway"s in New England, bud.

    Posted by Steve December 15, 08 05:34 PM
  1. I've had a Prius for six years and drive on 128 daily. I've just never had a problem accelerating or merging. Not sure what car you're driving.

    Posted by Megan December 15, 08 05:35 PM
  1. The Prius uses both its gasoline engine and its electric motor when accelerating. In my experience it is peppy.

    Posted by Chris December 15, 08 05:37 PM
  1. Why not address the real issue here...people drive maniacally - on and off the highways. Almost all cars in the US market are over powered and use too much fuel. Tamping down the power in favor of less fuel usage and smaller carbon foot print would benefit everyone.
    Besides, half the time I commute, the traffic on I-95 isn't going much faster than 40mph anyway.
    Take a breath and take it easy.

    Posted by Peter December 15, 08 05:51 PM
  1. I have never had a problem with my Prius. I have used it for 5 passengers as well as carrying ( with the back seats down ) about 400lbs of pavers for my patio.


    Posted by Stephen December 15, 08 05:58 PM
  1. Three years, 50K miles commuting on 93 into Boston, not a problem - the car is a rocket compared to my old Saturn...

    Posted by Brian December 15, 08 06:26 PM
  1. I own a Prius now and have owned many cars in the past. The Prius has better acceleration than all the others. I drive on the highway every day and have never once had an issue with getting up to 65 immediately. The author sounds like he either has a defective car or is used to a car that takes off like a jet. As all the other comments say, there is NO problem with the acceleration of the Prius. It is above average.

    Posted by KO December 15, 08 06:53 PM
  1. The problem is the driving style of the person who wrote the article. Sure, if you're one of those people with a "me first" driving mentality, that would be your normal reaction. Before I got my Prius, I had a Mustang Cobra, F150 extended cab Lariat, and a crotch-rocket, so I know a thing or two about acceleration. When I test drove the Prius for the first time, I did essentially the same thing; took it to an off ramp and "punched it". It has more than ample power when needed, for highway merges. I've spent significant time driving inside Boston, New York, and Tampa in my Prius, and not once, had a "hairy" merge situation out of probably tens of thousands of high speed highway merges.

    People really need to start driving with their heads.

    Posted by John December 15, 08 07:18 PM
  1. Prius' mileage performance are exceptional, but there are some drawbacks. Rear and side visibility is poor which is typical of fastback vehicles. I have a 2006 Honda Accord Hybrid and it has superb acceleration and gets 36-40 mpg on the Masspike. Around town I get around 25-26 mpg. Not too bad for a 255 HP hybrid! When I get tired of driving around in a quasi-green vehicle, I drive my 2007 Nissan 350Z Roadster. (with a sweet 306 HP engine which gets 25 mpg on the road!)

    Posted by hitobito December 15, 08 07:58 PM
  1. The Globe has an ax to grind against Toyota and environmentally friendly cars. Every article over the past few weeks has this common theme.

    Posted by Joe December 15, 08 07:58 PM
  1. Who merges starting from zero? The true test of a merge speed is more the 40 to 60 acceleration as opposed to the 0 - 60. If the entrance ramp traffic is at a standstill, the highway traffic probably is too, so merging at speed should not be an issue.

    Posted by Mike December 15, 08 08:23 PM
  1. This the dumbest article I've read in a long time. Economy cars do not get 0-60 in 8 seconds. My 2002 V6 Camry takes 9 seconds. My 2008 Prius is about the same as most 4 cylinder car made today, around 9-10 seconds. The car even seems faster because of the instant torque from the electric motor.

    Posted by Carlac December 15, 08 08:33 PM
  1. My Prius accelerates better than my old Civic and any number of other compact rentals I've driven. The writer didn't bother offering actual stats on the Prius' acceleration time vs. some comparable vehicles like the Yaris, Fit, Corolla LE, Civic hybrid, 4 cyl Camry, etc, which would have just undermined this poor attempt at "insight".

    Maybe he was driving a really old Prius, before the redesign, which did not accelerate well. Either way, if he's entering I-93 during rush hour at 75 MPH, he's not driving in Metro Boston...not without killing someone.

    Posted by randomperson December 15, 08 08:35 PM
  1. Prius was fine accelerating the first day I rented it and was able to muster enough power to handle more than the speed limit. Working so hard had its consequences as the next day it completely died with a major system failure.

    I rented a Toyota Prius with 1500 miles & an almost full tank while my car was being serviced as I was potentially interested in getting one. The first day I found it to be a capable car, both quiet and efficient at ~45mpg. The second day, however, the car completely lost power and broke down on the side of the highway. Yes, all you folks that had to get around me between the mass pike and 128, a Toyota Prius broke down and did not run out of gas. A virtually new car with 1500 miles on it bearing the badge of the leading quality auto manufacturer in the world breaks down? Inexcusable. Needless to say this experience has tainted any interest in buying a Prius with this lemon. The mystique of Toyota's quality record also seems to be in question.

    Posted by Broken Down New Prius December 15, 08 08:46 PM
  1. I tested a Prius and found the acceleration was ok .. on a clear, dry day. This is not a car for bad weather. I fear for people who try to drive these cars in the snow. I think I've eaten larger cheese wheels then the tires on the Prius, and it seems to weigh about as much as a very large bird.

    Posted by Marc December 15, 08 10:13 PM
  1. Ha. This article is complete BS. If anything, I drive Too Fast in my Prius!

    What a loser.

    Posted by nighttrain December 15, 08 10:27 PM
  1. I have driven a Prius Hybrid for a livery service and find the acceleration satisfactory
    with passenger and luggage. My only criticism is that over 70 the rearend gets a
    little loose but 65-68 is a comfortable ride. I have not driven in snow or ice, so
    weight may be an issue as well.

    Posted by Bill Downey December 15, 08 10:30 PM
  1. I've been driving a Prius since 2004 and have NEVER had any problem with acceleration--even with a car full (five extra large people) and baggage. I will presume the writer of this story has driven one...therefore....TRY stepping on the long thin peddle...for GAS...and get the shifter out of "B" (brakes the engine in Drive mode). And if you haven't driven one, do yourself a favor and drive one ---after you learn how to drive, that is.

    Posted by Nancy December 15, 08 10:41 PM
  1. A basic economy car like a Mazda3 weighs significantly less than a prius, does not have transmission ratios geared far out for economy, and has a minimum of 148HP with the smaller engine. Civics have 140HP. The descriptions of "peppy" or above average are based on perception and not factual data. The prius is one of the slowest cars on the market. Whether or not it is adequate is up for debate. But please don't try to say it can keep up with other vehicles when the pedal is floored. Numbers don't lie.

    Posted by WVW December 15, 08 10:57 PM
  1. By all means - let's sacrifice the one feature that sets the Prius apart, so you can have the luxury of entering a 65mph highway "safely" - at "70 or 75 mph."

    Are Boston drivers so undisciplined that they cannot tolerate cars entering and leaving a highway at legal freeway minimum speeds from the entering and exiting lane?

    And is it the Globe editorial policy to encourage dangerous driving?

    C'mon, folks. This is not what we call a public service.

    Posted by TCD December 15, 08 11:31 PM
  1. This article is retarded.

    I've never even thought about merging acceleration in my Prius because it's NOT an issue.

    My guess ... the author is the jackass that routinely guns it onto the highway and cuts across all lanes without signaling.

    Posted by K December 16, 08 02:33 AM
  1. Truly a dumb article. I hope the author did not get paid for it!

    Posted by rk December 16, 08 03:31 AM
  1. What a truly silly article. I have been driving a prius now for 2 years and have the idea of dange due to lack of acceleration has never even crossed my mind, and I do drive Route 128 around Boston everyday.

    Posted by Tom December 16, 08 06:53 AM
  1. WVW is right on all fronts w/ the factual data presented. It's a sub-Corolla with additional weight due to the battery; nothing more.

    TCD, standing on the soapbox only discourages honest debate. We all know the reality of Massachusetts driving. Until there's some kind of better solution - like less drivers on our crumbling, crowded roads - adequate merging/acceleration vs. a-hole driving with always be a balance never attained by most. I like to picture an F150 barrelling down 95 at 85MPH, tailgating a Prius - oh, and a New Hampshire plate on the truck gets you a gold star - as the typical image of my commute. BOTH parties are wrong - the Prius for being in a passing lane, and the truck driver for being a moron.

    Most prius drivers will say this isn't an issue - "but I'm being green and it's a Toyota product; isn't this car perfect??? - but it is for those of us around you. I don't even think the fact that it's underpowered is the only issue, I think most Prius owners are too busy watching that fuel economy screen and they don't accelerate to even the Prius' maximum ability when entering a highway. I don't mind that you drive that way, but put the pedal to the floor to get out of harm's way when you need to, then coast in the right lane at your leisure to take advantage of that fuel savings. Everyone wins.

    Posted by FJ December 16, 08 07:22 AM
  1. Well, I've never driven a Prius, but one of my friends was nearly scared to death out in California as a rear seat passenger in a Prius as it attempted to merge onto a freeway outside Thousand Oaks. The acceleration, I'm told, was anemic and the engine sounded like it was two squirrels shy of four cylinders. The Prius was nearly run over by a clapped out Honda Accord and a few tractor trailers. The credits, he said, did roll.
    Folks are running around trying to buy instant fuel economy (the Prius, the Honda Civic hybrid, et al) but I've got you all beat. My daily driver gets 27 MPG around town and 32 MPG on the highway. She carries me and four of my friends in comfort and
    her trunk (hatch, actually) can carry supplies for a six month expedition to Alaska. She's absolutely unstoppable in the frosty white junk that seems to last forever here in New England. She can take off like a rocket and cruise all day at 75 without strain without a mileage penalty. She rarely breaks down, and on the odd occasion when she is under the weather, the repairs don't clean out your wallet. Even with 332,000 miles and 21 years on her chassis, she still looks good. She's my 1988 Saab 900 SPG and she is, without a doubt, one of the best cars ever built.
    So, buy a Prius. My SPG will dance upon it's final resting place, as she has upon so many formerly "great, next best thing" cars over the past 21 years.....

    Posted by YEEHAH900 December 16, 08 07:25 AM
  1. Some car review!! - You get a chance to take a car (any car) for a test drive and all you can report on is that it compares to you dear old mum's Volvo in terms of acceleration...
    What about comfort, safety, roadholding, braking, luggage capacity?
    In fact I seriously suspect that you did not test drive it all, perhaps you asked your mum on her view, and she asked a friend, who asked a friend……
    It seems to me that you are in the wrong job, or your boss is just too lenient.

    Posted by Mike Lee December 16, 08 07:26 AM
  1. The guy who wrote this article is a knucklehead. He's got some political bug up his rear end. Notice the snarky comment about the Obama bumper stickers. The Prius is a perfectly fine vehicle for highway or around-town driving. It's no rocket, but it will get up and go. Heck, Al Gore III was busted going 105mph in one, remember?

    Posted by TSRVT December 16, 08 08:14 AM
  1. I've been driving a Prius for 3 years - in that time I have routinely merged onto the Pike from Exit 11 (Rt. 122) which is uphill, as well as Rt 2 West by 16 also uphill and I was still able to merge at speed - I can easily move in and out of traffic - so, I am not sure what the author did - I will admit that it doesn't have the power of a 67 Buick, but few cars do these days and that 67 Buick could accelerate better than most cars I've driven or been in traffic with in the last 30 years

    Posted by happyPriusOwner December 16, 08 08:44 AM
  1. OK, another Prius owner here. In fact, I'm on my second one. There is no problem with the acceleration. We're all missing the point here. THIS ARTICLE IS NOT INTENDED TO BE INFORMATIVE. IT IS INTENDED TO STIR UP CONTROVERSY TO GET PEOPLE TO READ IT (and hopefully read the ads around it.) IT WORKED.

    Unfortunately this is the problem with "infotainment" these days. It is driven by competing with other forms of entertainment. As a result, I continue to lose respect for the Globe.

    Posted by W. Kanzer December 16, 08 08:47 AM
  1. The data are VERY clear that it takes about 7 years of $3-a-gallon gas to recoup the premium price of a Prius. With gas now almost down to half that, the payback period threatens to outlive the car. Being able to smirk at the pump hardly compensates for a dumb investment, and yo still don't get a car that can merge safely. The only advantage I can see to a Prius is a sense of self-righteous moral superiority. Wow! Is that what it's about?

    Posted by Heidi Fish December 16, 08 08:50 AM
  1. We have driven a Prius for over a year switching from a Camry. It is just
    as peppy and we often have to slow down because we are going faster
    than desired. We have driven Mass to Florida twice and the major change
    is not having to fill up daily. The only negative is lack of size. It is easy to
    be intimidated when trucks pass you on both sides in the Virginia mountains
    in a rainstorm. I think the criticism is not objective but comes from people
    with an ax to grind.

    Posted by Pete B December 16, 08 08:57 AM
  1. Hey Cliff -

    I must say, your piece is utter nonsense.
    I'm a Prius driver and have never once experienced difficulty merging onto the highway - of course the Prius isn't going to beat a Ferrari getting to 65mph - and it's not supposed to Cliff - the car is designed and built to SAVE fuel and economize - get it?

    Incidently Cliff - the election is over - - good lord!

    Posted by jsw December 16, 08 09:04 AM
  1. Perception is everything. Empirically put, and judgments about how much faster we're driving as a culture today notwithstanding, Prius' 0-60 in 10.4 seconds IS slow by today's standards (today's v-6-engined family sedans accelerate faster than Ferraris and Porsches from 20 years ago--yes, you could outrun Don Johnson with your Toyota Avalon in a Miami Vice episode). What I can't find anywhere is a 30-60mph time which might be a better fit for simulating a highway merging scenario. Anyone?

    To restate, perception is everything in car driving: if someone FEELS zippy in their car, whether it's because they're really moving fast, or because a tiny hybrid-helper engine is buzzing madly, or because the color display has many little colorful arrows moving in lots of wonderful directions, then good for them. That's what matters to them. Otherwise it's all perception.

    Just like the perceptions about how one's hybrid may impact the environment:

    About a year ago, CNW Marketing Research, Inc., of Bandon, Ore., a firm with a well-established reputation for industry forecasting, made claims last year that that hybrid vehicles used more energy in their lifetime, from creation to disposal, than many SUVs. The tagline of one of CNW’s releases was, “Hybrids Consumer More Energy in Lifetime Than Chevrolet’s Tahoe SUV.”

    With the full study released in December, called “Dust to Dust: The Energy Cost of New Vehicles from Concept to Disposal,” CNW claims to assess all stages of vehicle production, including research and development, raw material production and sourcing, production and assembly, sales, operation and maintenance, and disposal of the vehicle at the end of its life.

    “If a consumer is concerned about fuel economy because of family budgets or depleting oil supplies, it is perfectly logical to consider buying high-fuel-economy vehicles, said Art Spinella, president of CNW, in a release. “But if the concern is the broader issues such as environmental impact of energy usage, some high-mileage vehicles actually cost society more than conventional or even larger models over their lifetime.

    The full report is out there, google CNW dust to dust.

    One final note: ever notice how most cars with older-style green-lettering Mass plates are usually driven very slowly by cautious bluehairs? Well, and this is just another perception, I think that the backlash in these comments is also largely defined by the generally conservative, "by nature I'm not in a rush," -type drivers that are more than happy with the performance of a Prius. So telling them otherwise is tantamount to heresy.

    Then again, watching some very aggressive Prius drivers out there barreling along the Pike like a one-headlight Fung-Wah bus in the left lane, I have to wonder: do you feel like you're still helping the environment when you drive such that you now have worse fuel economy than a BMW M3 sports car? (Watch the Top Gear segment on youtube.) And I've seen more than one of you closet-speeding greenniks!! Shame, shame. Tisk, tisk! (with finger crossing other finger 'tisk' gesture.)

    And, at the end of the day, I'd still love to have a Prius or other hybrid mysefl. (Anyone see the new Honda Insight?) When we tried to buy one in 2004, we couldn't find a dealer with one to test drive. And the attitude they gave us! Well, now, dealers are offering 1200-2000 off Priuses/Prii (gosh, I hate pseudo-Latin car names)--even the hot cars are now selling tepidly.

    Posted by Prius Priapism December 16, 08 09:07 AM
  1. I think the valuable insight to add here is that fuel economy often has more to do with driving habits than the engine/car hardware you're strapped onto. Many cars deliver respectable fuel economy if you drive so as to not exceed 2000 RPM in 90% of circumstances.

    We've become a culture of maximum acceleration from one stop light to the next for no reason. Our right lanes are emptier than our left lanes because we have become accustomed to a 'perpetual passing' mindset.

    And, aggressive merging is just another example.

    Posted by Prius Priapism December 16, 08 09:15 AM
  1. Clifford gets an "F." This is a VERY poor assessment. I have over 140k mostly highway miles on my 2004 Prius (after trading in a much "faster" luxury car). Not the stereotypical Obama voting tree hugger, this conservative believes the Prius is a near perfect vehicle. It has PLENTY of acceleration (I typically drive 80mph on highway and have never had a problem accelerating or passing), PLENTY of room (the typical five passengers with two sets of hockey equipment is not a problem), PLENTY of luxury (Nav, leather, Bluetooth, etc), and I still average between 43-47mpg! Driving a Prius does not equate to vehicular castration. Conquer your ego, I know this is the biggest hurdle for male Prius drivers, and your assessment will change dramatically.

    Posted by TSC December 16, 08 09:22 AM
  1. As long as cars are made for speed and power, rather than efficiency and transportation, this dichotomy will persist. Aside from the police and contractors, everyone should be driving something like a Prius, and this problem would go away along with a few others.

    Posted by Snerrick December 16, 08 09:33 AM
  1. Forget about acceleration issues, I am a Toyota enthusiast who is NOT a Prius (or Hybrid in general) enthusiast at all for two reasons.

    1. Hybrids cost too much to repair once the warranty is up. I have heard that the electric motor's battery packs do not last very long and cost upwards of $7,000 to replace when they go. I am not expressing this as FACT because I don't know, that's just what I was told.

    2. Don't buy a Prius to save money on gas or save mother earth. What you pay in difference in sticker price to get a hybrid model eclipses what you save in gas for at least a few years, and if we truly want to reduce our dependency on foreign oil and save the earth, we need to invest much more in Hydrogen Fuel Cell cars, which use only Hydrogen as fuel to create electricity to power the car or truck (not a drop of gasoline) and emit only water vapor (not a gram of CO2), they will both environmentally superior and completely eliminate the need for gasoline. GM and Honda are working on a couple possible models, but nothing that is anywhere near mass production to the point where they make a dent in the market. I own a Toyota SUV, and I love it, but I wish Toyota would get off of its hybrid high and focus on Hydrogen fuel cell technology, because it is the future of automotive power train technology and it will save our country from depending on foreign oil. Too bad ExxonMobil and Shell don't share my enthusiasm.

    Posted by Mark December 16, 08 09:37 AM
  1. Clifford: the problem is you. The Prius handles on-ramps just fine; better than my Corolla, in fact. Maybe you're one of those guys who needs to be in the fast lane within your first 500 yards on the highway; I don't know. All I know is that your article is somewhere between "slanted" and "without merit".

    Posted by stanley December 16, 08 09:38 AM
  1. The truth is I have driven countless cars in recent years. On top of owning my own car (Subaru Legacy which easily gets 20 mpg with a good amount of city driving on it) I have a zipcar subscription for business purposes. I have driven the Prius dozens of times. I found at first that the car performed very similar to this description. In fact, I had trouble pulling onto a 55 mph road when the ramp led downhill. It seems as if the more I rented the prius (the exact car no less) the more it broke in and has much better acceleration. I have had it over 100 mph, but that was on a windless day. Put a little breeze in there and I'm back to feeling like I'll die at 45 mph

    Posted by Tim December 16, 08 09:48 AM
  1. Hi! I'm not a Prius apologist. I figured we should have at least one somewhere in the comments.

    Posted by Jeffrey December 16, 08 10:42 AM
  1. This car is a problem...a bunch of poster think there is no problems with them...Well do they look in thier rear view mirror...They think they are entittled to be in the high speed lane like the rest of us...well they dont realize that people behind them have hit the brakes because thier weak priuses are screaming for mercy trying to get up to speed...These people think thier cars can do wrong...well wake up clueless people...these underpowered cars would not have been allowed on the road 20 - 30 years ago...your the reason traffic is so bad.
    .Are you prius owners that desperate for attention...your all like "Look at me, look at me, someone please look at me!" gas prices have dropped and you look stupider then ever!

    Posted by EJFX December 16, 08 10:58 AM
  1. Good grief...


    I don't drive a Prius. I voted for McCain. I believe in drilling for oil in George's Bank.

    I also have a '92 Volvo 240 DL for my second car so I know exactly what 114 horse power driving 3,000# performs like.

    It is more then adequate and anyone who would get white knuckles trying to merge doesn't know how to drive. Give it up and take a bus.

    Posted by Dal90 December 16, 08 11:42 AM
  1. I've driven for 45 years all types of vehicles. I've owned a prius for over a year and never, I repeat never had a problem with merging or going fast enough in the fast lane. I feel the author of this article is probably a schill for certain prius competitors who are a day late and 15 billion dollars short in producing an american vehicle that can match the economy and performance of the prius hybid.
    Wake up people, the prius is a good reliable car that delivers exactly what is promises. It was't made for nascar, get over it, or get with it. Go Green, save the planet for your childrens sake!

    Posted by careman December 16, 08 12:17 PM
  1. Those of you who think the Prius is any greener than your old gas burner need to open your minds a little more. The batteries packed on the Prius are old-school NiCads: very environmentally unclean to manufacture as well as to dispose of. You can't simply throw these into the dump. Wait 10-15 years and figure out where they're gonna have to dump all those dead batteries! People buy hybrids because they think they are saving a few bucks, not because they want to help the environment (when in actuallity, it is not).

    Posted by James Brown December 16, 08 12:29 PM
  1. From my point of view all cars merge OK - because it seems most drivers don't care about anyone else on the road and whatever speed they are going is just fine because when they get to the end of the ramp they are going to merge into a lane (pick one) whether they are going 35 or 70 and whethere you are are there (with right of way and no where to go) or not. At least the author seemed to care about merging so as not to cause an accident.

    However I don't undertand how anyone could complain about the acceleration of almost any car because it seems that most people ooze from rest no matter what they are driving. Often being passed by bicycles! I've driven some truely slow cars and groan when the car ahead won't get across the intersection in time to allow the other 10 cars behind them go as well. This 'Safe and cautious' driver is contributing to traffic congestion and increased fuel consumption for all (idling in light lines gets you 1 MPG). I've driven Chevettes and was more than able to keep up with traffic. Sadly.

    I will say this. I drive a car well able to accelerate: If I have choice between lining up behind the inevitable Corolla or a Prius at a stop light I usually take the Prius, they do seem to have acceleartion capabilities in my experience of following many of them.

    Posted by Marie December 16, 08 12:36 PM
  1. the acceleration cannot possibly be any worse than any Kia or Saturn I've driven Some of us don't even care about "muscle" in our cars. isn't pumping up our engines needlessly that what got us into this SUV-mini-tank mess in the first place?
    Loo at the booming sales for the Smart ForTwo. It can't even go above 80mph.
    As long as it gets me from point A to pint B, I could care less how fast it gets me there.
    Anyone driving over 65mph is seriously sacrificing fuel efficiency for speed.

    Posted by Noel December 16, 08 12:37 PM
  1. This article is nonsense. I have both a Prius and a Camry Hybrid and neither car has every had an acceleration problem. I feel perfectly safe driving both cars.

    Posted by Julie December 16, 08 12:55 PM
  1. I agree with Peter. Today's cars are overpowered and could be much more efficient. I towed a small trailer from Waltham to Colorado with a1979 Subaru Brat rated at 65HP with very few problems. I think the Prius is rated at 110HP which should be plenty. Clearly, the author is mistaken in his analysis. I would like to hear from Prius owners about performance in snow.

    Posted by Jim de Millbilly December 16, 08 01:31 PM
  1. The Prius is lacking in acceleration and it is a (minor) safety issue when merging onto certain roadways. Those are facts that the uber-defensive and otherwise politically pent up (i.e. "Please give me a platform or forum of any type to talk about my Prius....") folks here have conveniently overlooked or otherwise talked around.

    Get over yourselves. You are not doing me any favors by driving a Prius, bringing around an armful of reusable grocery bags, putting water in stainless steel bottles with fancy designs instead of using plastic bottles, etc., etc. If you want to help me and the lives of the next generations, then you should get yourself in physical shape and eat properly. The American health and obesity downward spiral is the biggest looming threat to our future. Too many fat people getting old, getting sick, and getting their kids fat too.

    Posted by Hoss December 16, 08 01:36 PM
  1. Nothing say's "I'm an idiot" more than seeing a Prius drive by!
    "Hey, look at me! I just paid a premium to be politically correct!" Never mind that the total overall cost to run is the same or more as a standard vehicle. And who cares that the battery is a bio-hazard!

    The sooner those tin cans are off the road the sooner we can use the old Yugo jokes for the Prius!

    Posted by Beenthere-Donethat December 16, 08 01:58 PM
  1. I've seen articles like this before. These are meant to be Prius-bashing but the author tries to seem objective. I have a V-6 SUV and a Prius and the Prius accelerates much faster onto the highway. This article is not based on fact so I question the motive.

    Posted by Pam December 16, 08 02:15 PM
  1. If they could only put the Prius engine in a sporty sedan...guaranteed they would sell more of those to the folks looking at getting a Mazda3, Nissan or Honda.

    That and rather high rear window. Of course, when I test drove one I never took it out onto the highway.


    Posted by Nate December 16, 08 02:31 PM
  1. The Prius is garbage. The new generation of hybrids is far superior, but the new generation of clean diesels make hybrid gas vehicles obsolete. Sell the Prius, buy a Jetta.

    I agree with #57 - I laugh at the idiots I drive past in Priuses.

    Posted by Blagogate December 16, 08 02:31 PM
  1. Much of this is the fault of the Prius driver self-righteously playing a video game with their fuel economy readout. Sorry, the 1oz of gas they save from blocking traffic is not worth the pileup they cause... some of those people simply have a passive-aggressive spiteful attitude and delight in causing accidents.

    Posted by Alisha December 16, 08 02:39 PM
  1. Well - it looks like this has degenerated into something like the PC vs. Mac debates. (#57 and 60).

    Hate to say it guys, but the Prius and hybrids in general are here to stay. Now that gas is back down blow $2.00 per gallon, it will be fashionable to bash the hybrid drivers but the fact remains that for many people these are terrific cars and will make up the difference in the purchase price within a few years. I purchased one in 2006 - have put over 77,000 miles on it and notice no lack of power in merging or general driving - particularly compared to the old Saturn I used to drive.

    Fortunately, I got the tax break when I bought it but, assuming that I keep the car for 10 years (as I did with previous cars) I have no doubt that I would make up the difference within a few years.

    Its not he car - it may be the drivers...

    Posted by Keith LaMarre December 16, 08 02:51 PM
  1. I've been a Prius owner for 6 months and I think it's a great car even if the numbers don't fully play out on carbon footprint or fuel savings. Prius owners have proven the demand for more efficient cars vs. simply piling on more and more horse power that is fun off the line, but highly inefficient in most other situations. Disruptive technologies like hybrid or electric have different success metrics than what has been traditionally sold. No one expects you to understand or for everyone to fall for it.

    My experience is the Prius can feel a touch sluggish relative to a traditional car if you are driving it the same way. Once you are used to the way the gas and electric motors work together, accelerating into traffic is just dandy.

    Posted by AHG December 16, 08 02:58 PM
  1. This is a troll article. Either there was something wrong with the car or something wrong with the writer's driving. The prius's acceleration isn't any worse than other cars it's size with traditional engines. They certainly don't have as much power as a luxury or sports car, but everyone already knows that.

    Posted by enduro December 16, 08 03:09 PM
  1. Another article for the sake of something to write that may be slightly contoversial; the car as enduro just said has the same acceleration as any the same size. I have driven SUV's with far slower acceleration and yet I hear no comments of merge SUV merge. I am British and I am used to driving smaller cars but this is the best out there at the moment (and I don't work for Toyota), I to was a little scepticle until my wife persuaded me and it was a good choice, I have driven almost any sized vehicle there is after serving nineteen years in the military. Leave this little gem alone!

    Posted by Sam P December 16, 08 03:49 PM
  1. Been-There-D-T # 57: AMEN!

    I want to stomp on the gas and ride my Ford F150 right over one of these pompous, ultra-intelligentsia! (Hybrid or a Smart Car driver.) Not that we shouldn't do away with Arab oil, or increase fuel efficiency but Electric cars (as with most global warming & green ideas) have little benefit to the environment. Burning Coal produces electricity and, when the car battery run out of charges, they are...uh...hold your breathe...Not RECYCLABLE!

    China is responsible for the majority of environmental pollutants and I don’t think China, Russia South America, Africa give two cr@ps about US initiatives on Global Warming. We continue inventing and subcribing to BS theories that drives Gov’t funded BS Groups as more and more Americans lose jobs. There are scientists on both sides of the global warming issue but the left ignores this as they do will most opposition. Sooner or later the Chickens do come home to roost.

    Man you Lib’s are insane! Al Gore invented the internet and won a Nobel Prize for his Global Warming initiatives. He and Nancy Pelosi need REAL [expletive deleted] jobs and to give “being the World HERO a break.” The world may end some day and environmental pollution won’t be the cause. It’s more likely that some radical nut-job running a government with the will and the means will detonate a nuclear, biological or chemical attack against the US. Kind of like a nuke in the hands of Iran. But let’s just wait for the UN to say that it is ok to sanction them. Put that in your less than one once/medicinal marijuana pipe and smoke it.

    Posted by chemical alli December 16, 08 03:55 PM
  1. Clifford your not in touch with reality. I rented a Prius in California. I drove it 700 miles along Routet 1 then to Napa and back to San Fran. I never experienced any situations like you describe and I typically drive a V8 powered vehicle. Write an accurate report or don't write at all.

    Posted by LBS December 16, 08 04:00 PM
  1. I drive a 450HP turbo charged sports car. I would not drive a Prius if it was free.

    I have no issues merging. I enjoy paying $1.99 for premium gas. My car gets 9 miles per gallon, but I can afford it.

    I would drive a a cliff.

    Posted by Dagimp December 16, 08 04:10 PM
  1. I'm gonna have to go ahead and disagree with you. i do not drive a prius regularly, I am a Toyota Camry Hybrid driver (great acceleration). I have driven Priuses before because people in my family own a Generation 1 and a Generation 2. Even the Gen 1 has good acceleration, I never have faced a problem driving it on the highway. I find its short distance acceleration is great. And as for the Gen 2 acceleration it is a non issue as well.

    This article should probably be taken down and should reconsider your position. Acceleration is something I find is often overated in cars. It gives people an excuse to get the V6 when in reality most cars on the road do just fine.

    Posted by JGS2 December 16, 08 04:20 PM
  1. Not true. I've driven my Prius in Los Angeles freeway traffic for four years now and can say that it's very quick when accelerating. I also rent cars on a frequent basis when traveling for business, and many of those -- Ford Fusion, for one -- aren't anywhere near as quick. Sounds like operator error to me.

    Posted by Jon December 16, 08 04:23 PM
  1. ** News Flash ** Prius is a decent car, great on gas, not for everyone.

    Posted by Marv Cook December 16, 08 04:53 PM
  1. "Prius drivers are too busy bragging about mileage and keeping up with the latest Barack Obama bumper stickers to be concerned about speed."


    Posted by Bill B. December 16, 08 05:04 PM
  1. Post #70

    Try driving something that isn't a POS Ford. Maybe a BMW 335i, Nissan Maxima, Audi A4, Infiniti G37.

    Posted by Firesky December 16, 08 05:30 PM
  1. OK, you hotrod Prius drivers, I'm saying my 2006 4-cyl, man. 5-speed Ford Escape will leave you wondering if you're going backwards. Just wait for the light to turn green and I'm long gone. And the Escape looks a lot better than a Prius, I think. I just hope the thing lasts past May 2009, when its warranty expires. We'll see how my made-in-US out of 90% North American parts does in that regard, but I can tell you it comes off the line right quick when I ask it to.

    Posted by Pop Klutch December 16, 08 05:32 PM
  1. This article and ensuing discussion are surprising. The article itself is a waste, adn shows that the author just doesn't get the big picture. It's a good thing that people are driving cars that use less gasoline. Never mind if the investment pays back after xx years, never mind if it's quick going down the ramp. Hello people.....we are sucking up too much gasoline in this country, and that is the primary problem. We are hostages to the joy of hot rodding down the highway entrance ramp. The car will still go 70 or 75, it just won't get to that speed as quickly. This is a problem worth having OPEC dangle us on a string?

    Posted by bribeau December 16, 08 07:39 PM
  1. I drove a friends Prius from Boston to Naples, FL 10 days ago and also in December 2007. This last trip I averaged 49.1 MPG (speed in the 65-75 range depending on the posted limit) for a fuel cost of about $60. Never noticed any performance problems including entering the highway from rest stops or on ramps. My biggest complaints are the rear vision and limited foot room for long hauls. Last year when I started it was the first major snowfall of the season (around Dec 13th). I hit snow around NYC and the Prius does not do well in snow (I drive a Subaru) but it was better than the 2 seat BMW ahead of me that couldn't stop fishtailng for several miles until the snow turned to rain. I thought that the Prius had summer tires until I checked the sidewall (M+S).

    Posted by SWE43 December 16, 08 08:12 PM
  1. I've got an Obama magnet on my G35. There are few cars that are capable of keeping up with it. But I take the T - much greener than a Prius.

    Posted by tcq December 16, 08 11:59 PM
  1. "This the dumbest article I've read in a long time. Economy cars do not get 0-60 in 8 seconds."

    Not true. My 2008 Civic manual does 0-60 in 7.8 seconds. The Mazda 3 is similar. Back in the 80s, that might have been true, but not since the 90s. Granted, we've all been spoiled by higher horsepower engines. Many cars were up around 12 seconds (even slower than the Prius) until the last maybe twenty years.

    Posted by Erik December 17, 08 08:06 AM
  1. I liked the recent BBC Top Gear show where a Prius was driven around the track with a BMW M3 4 liter V8. The Prius managed 17 MPG. The BMW 19. Of course the "test" was designed to show the Prius under the worst conditions (a lot of pressure on the gas to keep the speed up) and the BMW under the best (just idling was all it had to do to keep up with a Prius being driven fast) - but their point was it matters more HOW you drive than WHAT you drive in terms of getting good milage from your car. Hint people: braking constantly hurts milage.

    Posted by Marie December 17, 08 08:16 AM
  1. We've been duped by power, and have bought in to ever-increasing costs.

    Case in point A: my 1977 Saab 99 had a 4-speed manual tranny and "only' 108 horsepower. It was a very used (130,000 mi) car, but still got 25 + mpg in mixed driving back in 1985. AND -- most pertinent to this article -- although it was slow as an old VW bug or a 'sporty 240' Volvo off the line, but was engineered to go from 20 to 70 in a flash. One shift, 2nd to 3rd, all the way to highway speed. No engine whine, no problem merging into traffic with a small displacement engine and well-designed power train. Detroit, are you listening? (Why do I even ask?)

    Oh, you did listen. A little. Thank you, Chrysler. For Saab was one of the first cars with "cab forward" design. Plus, its suspension and excellent handling allowed me to leave my muscle-head friends (they with 5.7 liter Camaros) in the dust going down twisty country backroads.

    Case-in-point B. My 1988 Honda Civic. This time a 5-speed, with a smaller engine, I'd get AT EASY 40 mpg in mixed driving, and could broach 50 mpg on highway trips.

    Welcome back to the future. We keep getting fooled again.

    Posted by OneMoreBicycle December 17, 08 11:28 AM
  1. If you want to be REALLY scared on the highway, try merging with a 1st gen CRV!

    Posted by rockin3 December 17, 08 11:41 AM
  1. I have had a Prius for 4 years and never have I had any problem merging into traffic. First if you have have to come to a complete stop before merging, the traffic is probably crawling. Otherwise you are alrady doing 35 on the ramp and its easy to get to 65 as you merge. If some idiot is doing 75mph in the right lane its his problem. Anyway, what do you acheive in getting to 65 3 secs faster? How valuable is your time that 3 secs a trip is so dear to you that you are willing to burn more fuel and pollute the atmosphere for the rest of us. Cutting in and out of lanes is dangerous and should be discouraged. If you want to get off on speed go to a race track

    Posted by Kapitankool December 17, 08 12:21 PM
  1. I know a vehicle that you can get now that will beat the Prius in terms of milage and power. It's called the VW Jetta TDI clean diesel. The Prius is rated gas motor, 45hp@4500 rpm and 82lb-ft@4200 rpm. The electric is rated at 44hp@1,040-5600 rpm and 258lb-ft@0-400 rpm where as the Jetta is rated at 140hp@4,000 rpm and 236lb-ft@1,750-2,500 rpm and it gets average of 40-41 mpg where people have gotten 50+mpg out of this new clean diesel car.

    Now, if you want to talk about acceleration, I'm sure the Jetta will beat the Prius and can even get better milage too with more fun while you at it. This is totally stock too. If you were to modify and re-chipped the ECU of the Jetta, you can get even more power and better fuel mileage. What more can you ask for. They have even said that the new clean burning diesel produces even less harmful gases then gas burners.

    My point is, gas burners is old technology. New clean burning diesel will much better option then gas in terms of fuel economy and to make power.

    Posted by Racer December 18, 08 01:25 AM
  1. FJ: I don't think this is a soapbox I am standing on. We all may "know the realities of driving in Massachusetts," as you put it; my experience includes frequently merging onto I-93 NB at Exit 33 - a steepish uphill - at 50MPH, which is below the speed limit of I think 55 (it raises to 65 a tad north of there, I think). This would be in a five-year-old Honda Civic, not generally considered an unsafe car (although not one possessed of an outsize motor. I think I have fewer than 110hp).

    I do disagree strongly with the blogger's contention I quoted earlier, that safe driving on MA freeways requires merging onto 65mph roadways at 70-75mph. Such has not been my experience; in fact I think it's crazy. I think it shows an outsize fear of those drivers whose 90mph habit leads them to drive in the right-hand lane because there are fewer cars in it. I think dangerous driving - and exceeding the speed limit in the entering and exiting lane certainly qualifies - in response to the same dangerous driving is not a sane response. Nor is wringing one's hands and claiming nothing can be done because freeway laws are not enforced. Leadfoot drivers in entering/exiting lanes should expect 50mph merging. It sounds to me that the more Priuses on my freeway, the safer my driving experience.

    Posted by TCD December 18, 08 02:23 AM
  1. Do any of you work for Toyota? Or any automotive manufacturer, for that matter? (At this time you might be thankful that you don't.)

    There is obviously something wrong with the acceleration in Prius. Toyota is planning on increasing it's acceleration. Is that not an admission of poor performance? Or would you consider that par for the course for any auto manufacturer? (Attempting to improve the model in areas where it is deficient.)

    Posted by ThePriusMakesMeLaugh December 18, 08 11:56 AM
  1. If everyone on here is claiming that their Prius has adaquate acceleration, then why is it that I can remember at least 5 times in the past year alone when I've been stuck behind a Prius trying to merge onto the pike and felt like I was about to die because of it? Maybe the people posting just don't realize how slow they are really going?

    The author clearly has a bone to pick with the car but I also think the car does have acceleration issues. I've driven my friends Prius a couple of times around the city and it feels like I'm driving a riding lawn mower. Something clearly needs to be done to give the car a little more pep.I think South Park hit the nail on the head with their episode about hybrid drivers. Everyone one of you probably enjoys the smell of your own flatulance!

    Posted by Liberalhippied-bagsarehilarious December 18, 08 01:53 PM
  1. Actually 0-60 acceleration is rarely important when merging onto the highway. I'ts mid-range torque and 30-70 acceleration that's the issue.

    However, the Prius sucks at both. There's no power off the line, none on the ramp, none on the highway, It's also poor handling on it's tiny little tires and a danger on the road.

    Your suckers that made a poor investment (that will never pay back) in this excuse for economy are just trying to rationalize it. Let's face it, the car is a performance and safety loser.

    Posted by phonyuser December 18, 08 04:08 PM
  1. I have a lead foot and used to drive a V6 sedan. I think the current generation Prius has good acceleration. I have a Zipcar membership so I drive a Prius about once a week. Perhaps the people who are complaining about the acceleration have only driven the previous generation Prius (before 2004).

    If you're stuck behind a slow Prius driver on an onramp, it's probably not because their car is slow. It's because the driver has a habit of babying the gas pedal to save fuel - which is a fine habit, but NOT when somebody is behind them or they're merging into 75mph traffic!

    Posted by Jeremy December 18, 08 04:59 PM
  1. I drive a 340hp car, and was wondering about this very same question not too long ago. So, on a Boston to NYC drive, I paced a Prius.

    Two answers came from this experiment:
    1. The Prius does just fine on the highway.
    2. Clifford Atiyeh hasn't a clue.

    Posted by CS December 19, 08 10:01 AM
  1. You paced a Prius?
    Are you extra retarded? The point was about passing power, and merging power. If I pushed a Pruis off a cliff it'll do just fine too.

    How about you drive one and have some fun merging onto 60 to 70mph traffic from an onramp.

    Posted by Dagimp December 21, 08 02:58 AM
  1. As so many others have observed, this article is nonsense. The Prius has plenty of pep. We have both a 2005 Prius and a 1996 Camry 4-cylinder wagon with an automatic (the Camry has about 70000 miles on it, we bought it new, it's a well-maintained car and it runs like it always did, so don't discount my comments based on its age). The Prius will out-accelerate the Camry in almost every driving situation. The comments by the writer of this article about the 1.5 liter engine are idiotic. The pep of the Prius comes from the tremendous torque of the electric motor. Contrary to the belief of most people, it is torque that produces acceleration, not horsepower (which determines the top speed of a car). Newton taught us that (F=MA).

    Posted by Don Allen December 24, 08 09:03 AM
  1. The Prius 'problem' isn't merge speed getting on the highway; it's Prius drivers putting on a smug, self-congratulatory 'green' attitude as they drive 60 mph in the fast lane. Also, you could've saved over $10K buying a less-polluting car with PZEV engine technology but that wouldn't have made quite the 'statement' a hybrid does, right? Oh, and blind people hate hybrids 'cause they can't hear them.

    Posted by EGD December 24, 08 10:57 AM
  1. Hey Prius owners, get over it. You bought a car for gas milage, not for anything else. It putts around and does it's thing. But face it, it's slow and it's boring. The expression "you are what you drive" fits perfectly here. Go sip your latte at Starbuck's and leave some room on the entrance ramps for those that want to enjoy the highways.

    Posted by Z3 December 24, 08 11:15 AM
  1. Merging should not be a problem for a Prius or any other car sold in the US market. It all comes down to how "average" folks drive in the US......not well. A "me first" attitude, lack of anticipation, no attention to traffic flow, poor usage of car momentum, hard acceleration/hard & sudden braking, multi-tasking while driving, lack of involvement while driving (90+% automatic transmissions in the US), poor situational awareness, etc., etc., etc. One good example = folks who insist on passing in the right lane on the highway just prior to where an on-ramp comes onto the highway.....causing problems for a Prius or any other car trying to merge, regardless of HP.

    Having lived in Europe for a few years and driven on the Autobahns all over Germany in low power cars, merging has never been a problem = on roads where you often seeing people exceeding 150mph. Why? People going that fast DO NOT do so in the right lane, antipate merging cars/make way for them and actually pay attention while driving. This usually isn't the case with the typical US insulated SUV driver sipping a coffee and talking on the cell phone while driving.

    Posted by Swissguy December 25, 08 10:15 AM
  1. what in THE WORLD is a "freeway"????

    Posted by mikeybigboy December 25, 08 11:14 AM
  1. ride a bike; Prius blows

    Posted by George December 27, 08 10:55 PM
  1. I wish someone had told the NH state trooper how slow the Prius was when I got a $290 ticket doing 85 MPH on Route 93 just north of Concord. Dont be a sissy. Stomp on that gas pedal and that lawnmower engine is plenty fast. (and I can still average 45mpg in the summer).

    Same argument should work for the fast lane. (why do they call it that anyway when you have to do 10mph going through them?)

    Posted by Ray January 1, 09 09:28 AM
  1. most prius driver's would not drive anything else but. so what else could they compare one to.

    Posted by jay January 6, 09 04:41 PM
  1. Let me first say I have a BMW M3 as a 2nd car, which does 0 to 60 quicker than you can sneeze. The Prius is a great everyday commute car with ample acceleration under normal conditions. Key word is "normal" because during weekdays everyone should be driving to work, not racing and weaving in and out of traffic.

    Posted by Pete January 7, 09 04:05 PM
  1. I recently watch a TV show, where they tested the fuel effiecency of a Prius against a BMW M3. Well under ideal conditions the Prius will win hands down. But what was done on this particular show was , both cars were put on a track and the Prius had to go around the track as fast as it could and the BMW just had to keep up to the Prius, and fuel consumption was measure. The Prius averaged 17 mpg and the BMW 19 mpg. So if your considering a Prius for better MPG make sure foot isn't made of lead. in case you want to see the the show

    Posted by Giovanni January 8, 09 04:37 PM
  1. Too bad your break-even between gas savings and the premium you payed for the hybrid is approximately 12 years. How environmentally friendly are the battery packs. Hmmm, if you were truly green, you'd recycle a preowned vehicle compared to the environmental resources needed to build a Prius. Oh, and people who drive Prius's are terrible drivers.

    Posted by CA Prius hater January 9, 09 03:55 PM
  1. Anyone who says a car is unsafe because it has too little acceleration just can't drive worth a crap. I like a speedy car, I've owned a GTO and ride a motorcycle, but I've also had a Ford Escort, and I could drive pretty damn fast in that thing, too. Not to mention take it off road where most people wouldn't dare go without at least a pickup truck.

    Instead of griping about getting too little oomph when you mash the pedal, learn how to "manage" your vehicle, plan your maneuvers, keep your speed up all the time.

    Posted by Old Poor Richard January 11, 09 06:09 PM
  1. I'd be happy if they'd just GET OUT OF THE PASSING LANE!

    They start at the base of the hill going 65mph, and by the top of a hill, bumble bees are passing them.

    Thanks for saving the world, Prius owners (at least until your battery has to be recycled) but how about a little lane courtesy?

    Posted by D S January 12, 09 12:03 PM
  1. Say all you want and compare The Prius for what it was not designed for and try to show it is worse than a bmw (dont even try to bring the hummer joke here: hummers are for defense use. period.). If u really want to do a stupid comparison, finish the race part and also do an idle time running test and look at the overall mileage numbers.

    Crappy'ol Bob Lutz of GM just posed with a cadillac hybrid concept: he is supposedly now going to to save the [brand] that he doesnt believe in. What a band of losers.
    To those who think big 3 r any better 'patriotic' : are all raw materials for the infamous big 3 mined, milled in the US? (nope..) and the biggest idiot of the big 3: GM just gave their battery contract to LG (surely not an American company)

    I hope the hybrids from Toyota, Honda make it big in the market and that Toyota's plugin gets into the market before GM does. And obviously it will be way better than the GM thingy: coz it will be a Toyota. This would really make them look like what they really are: a bunch of losers. Enough of cheating and ripping the poor people for so many years. Time to move on to efficient and effective products that can be trusted..

    Posted by hadji January 12, 09 03:47 PM
  1. You need to return to driving school and learn how to merge onto the highway. If you have to floor it, you're probably twiddling with your cellphone on the ramp instead of assessing the traffic flow.

    Posted by Rick Evans January 15, 09 01:15 PM
  1. I've never driven a Prius, but I do drive a '93 Volvo 240 wagon, plenty of pep and no problems merging. I often merge onto 93N coming from the airport, the ramp is all up hill and I'm always passing people when I get to the top. My VW TDI (diesel) also had 114 hp, but was lighter and had much more torque. Very pepy and got better mpg than a Prius. Clean diesel is the way to go. Not only excellent mileage, but could be modified to run on non-petrolium oils (vegetable, penut, soybean ect.) or use even less petrolium bu using bio-diesel (differnt than vegetable oil)

    Posted by bjcboston January 16, 09 12:39 AM
  1. The Prius is too slow for my condo complex! I'll be looking forward to more Diesels from BMW (and other manufacturers) that have real power and torque. Rumor has it that the 1 series Diesel will be sold here (123d I believe) . Solid, proven, and long lasting 100 year old tech. No battery changeovers costing many thousands of dollars!

    Posted by KoonKat January 21, 09 09:09 PM
  1. I don't know what Prius the author drove, but it must have been driven by a little old lady. The Prius seems to tune itself to the driving habits of the driver. Mine is no slouch, as many other suprised drivers have learned. More than one mustang has eaten my Prius dust in one on one races. And I still average over 45 MPG in combined driving.

    I drive a "classic" 2003 Prius with about 158K miles, which still has the original battery. My biggest gripe is that the drivers of so many cars and SUVs drive as if the gas pedal were an egg. If I have clear road ahead of me at a light change or on-ramp, I'm almost always way ahead of the pack very quickly. If I'm slowing down someone behind me, it's because someone in front of me is in my way!

    Posted by Bob January 21, 09 09:27 PM
  1. I hate getting stuck behind these Piles of foreign crap on the highway, Doing 55 in the fast lane is not ok people! Also all Prius drivers can now remove the 1-20-09 sticker from their Prius you stupid Liberals. I cannot count on how many occasions that I have had to put my high beams on to get one of these [cars] to finally move, Maybe it's the sight of an F350 a couple feet behind them that gets them to finally move over so I can unleash the power of the 7.5 liter big block under my hood with straight pipes running out the back. I personally find that the Prius drivers just don't appreciate the hum of my Super Swampers as I roar past them with 4 tons of American steel!

    Posted by Liberals suck January 22, 09 08:46 PM
  1. I just drove up 95 from Conn. to Boston, somewhere in R.I. there was a clown in a Priass in the left lane trying to pass a semi on a long hill. A dozen cars pile up behind the wonder car, brake lights flash, after about a mile the fool in the Prius has to give up and pull in behind the slow moving truck. Almost caused a couple of accidents. A great car to talk about at the Obama rally, but not good on the road, I saw it today.

    Posted by x-man63 January 25, 09 06:04 PM
  1. I've owned two Prius and never experienced any issues except the thrill of low totals at the pump. Toyota created the dream car others should follow and melt into trucks,boats, convertibles et al. Since when is good bad?

    Posted by Johnny Glosta January 31, 09 03:15 PM
  1. Joe wrote "If one knows how to drive, merging onto a highway at 50-55 is not a problem. " Nancy wrote "I've been driving a Prius since 2004 and have NEVER had any problem with acceleration--even with a car full (five extra large people) and baggage." I've rented Prius's in Florida for the great gas mileage, but do not consider this a safe car on the highway. Try merging from a ramp to 65 mph with trailer trucks bearing down on you. If you feel there's no problem, then you ARE the problem by being oblivious. The Prius isn't cutting it. And to have "five extra large people" and baggage and not have a problem? Maybe it's not a problem at the shopping mall parking lot, but Nancy is also oblivious to what's happening around her. Maybe it's the screams from her passengers' near-death experiences distracting Nancy. The Prius was tested by Road and Track and was so slow it was a throwback to the mid-'70s. Letter #110 by "Posted by Liberals suck" on 1/22/09 was wicked funny.

    Posted by High_Taxes February 5, 09 12:59 PM
  1. I agree, something is wrong with the Prius (or maybe the drivers). I often seem them driving slowly - although maybe they are thinking about all the environmental damage they will be causing with the non-recyclable batteries in the vehicles that they paid extra for (so that they seem "green").

    Posted by J February 5, 09 04:56 PM
  1. I don't have a Prius, but when you read over 100 actual Prius owners disputing the major theme of the Globe's automotive correspondent, you must wonder why the Globe is paying him. No wonder the Globe is almost bankrupt, wasting their money on useless articles and authors.

    Posted by Common sense February 5, 09 08:27 PM
  1. The new and improved Prius will be released soon. According to "Automobile" (3/09) the gas engine goes from 1.5L to 1.8L and from 76hp to 98hp "a 22% gain in total hybrid system power deliver improved acceleration." "According to Toyota, the PWR (power) mode 'increases sensitivity to throttle input for a sportier feel.'" There is also "a 28% increase in peak engine torque to 105 lb-ft."
    Gee, why would they want to increase horsepower and torque if the Prius were so fast already? Answer - because the acceleration of the current Prius's was so inadequate and feeble, despite the protests of current clueless owners to this blog. You might be saving gas driving a Prius, Honda Fit, Versa, etc., but your life apparently doesn't mean that much if saving some gas gets you killed in the circumstance where you need engine power. Most vehicles use their peak power rarely. It's more likely in an emergency when you need the power or handling that the Prius and its ilk will fail you. Not realizing this and continuing to state your old Prius is more than enough makes the current Prius driver into future road-kill.

    Posted by High_Taxes February 6, 09 07:24 AM
  1. I love burning gus in my Caddy CTS-V, my wifes E-Class wagon (a total pig on gas) and the Subrban to pull the boat or go out in the snow. I love these Prius drivers with the Obamna stickers. In fact, I love them so much I get nice and close out on the highway.

    Posted by Steadman Steinbach February 10, 09 11:25 AM
  1. That is why I bought a Cadillac Escalade Hybrid. At least my V8 can get up to speed. The only question I have is where are all of these used up batteries going after 100k miles. No one can seem to answer me that. Oh well, I guess Hybrid means let the next generation worry about that. On a trucking I a must go!!!

    Posted by Wayne Oleary February 22, 09 08:59 AM
  1. The danger is not the acceleration from 35 - 60, which is the merging onto the highway scenario. It's the 0-30 of going from a side street to a main road without the benefit of a stoplight. And these cars do pretty well in that area.

    I have a civic hybrid - which is really the best car ever and I don't get why more people don't get these - I'm starting to think the reason is not the extra 3 mpg, but the fact that the Civic is very subtle, and doesn't shout, "Look how Green and LIberal I am!"

    Posted by Mike February 22, 09 09:13 AM
  1. I think all you knuckleheads are so busy listening to NPR, that you fail to notice the hazard that you create. I am not sure the car is anemic as described as much as most of the drivers are clueless to the hazards they create trying squeeze everything they can out of every ounce of gas.

    When traffic is moving (granted rare) driving 55 when traffic is doing 70 is just not safe. Yes I know what the speed limit is, but damn but your foot down.

    Posted by Eric February 22, 09 04:54 PM
  1. The bar for what is considered normal acceleration has been constantly raised over the years. Now even the most budget minded car hit 60mph in less than 8 seconds. It has no impact on safety.

    Posted by Anonymous February 23, 09 08:30 AM

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Clifford Atiyeh is an automotive writer and car enthusiast . He has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own.
In the garage: 1995 21-speed Iron Horse, 2002 Jeep Wrangler X (by association)
Bill Griffith is a veteran Boston Globe reporter, having reviewed cars for more than 10 years and serving as assistant sports editor for 25 years. He was also the paper's sports media columnist.
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AAA's Car Doctor, John Paul John Paul is public affairs manager for AAA Southern New England, a certified mechanic, and a Globe columnist. He hosts a weekly radio show on WROL.
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