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2009 Toyota Prius Interior Review

Note: This interior review was created when the 2009 Toyota Prius was new.


Interior: 7.3

Toyota interiors are very highly regarded in the automotive industry, and the Prius is no exception. The 2009 model offers a high level of fit and finish and high-quality materials. Its layout is somewhat unusual, however, so shoppers should sit in the car to see if the ergonomics work for them. The one-box, hatchback shape of the Prius creates a roomy cabin despite the car's small dimensions -- it even bests many midsize sedans for both cargo capacity and passenger space.

  • "It may look small, but the well-packaged and airy interior is spacious for passengers and cargo alike. Plus, a long list of standard and optional features allows the Prius to serve both customers in search of a low-priced conveyance and those in need of more luxurious trappings." -- Edmunds
  • "Up to five people fit inside the Prius, and they're likely to enjoy more elbowroom than in the original model." -- Cars.com
  • "Inside, the Prius has much to crow about. At 44 cubic feet, the rear seat pegs the average of that 10-car sedan group, and the hybrid's hatch swallows 16 cubes, besting the sedan average by one." -- Car and Driver
  • "Cabin has its own hi-tech look but materials are nothing special." -- Consumer Guide


Seats in the 2009 Toyota Prius are generally comfortable and constructed of durable materials with a bit of luxury to them. But some writers find the driving position unusual, and complain about the lack of a height-adjustable driver's seat or a telescoping steering wheel. Overall, the Prius may not be a great fit for some body types.

  • "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." -- Edmunds
  • "The driver's seat could use more lateral support." -- Detroit News
  • "Most of the added space goes to the rear seats, where occupants have more head, shoulder, and leg room." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "The seats are adequately comfortable, but they're positioned oddly." -- Cars.com
  • "The seats are long-trip comfortable." -- MarketWatch
  • "The twin front seats provide adequate support. The cockpit easily accommodates four tall adults. There's room for a third slim occupant in the back, although the center of the rear bench seat isn't comfortable." -- MSN

Interior Features

The 2009 Prius offers a long list of available interior features, which allow buyers to build anything from a basic transporter to a near-luxury car. The price, however, rises quickly with added options. Touring models include a multifunction LCD touch screen that can control everything from the navigation system to the climate control, and can be configured to accept voice commands.

  • "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." -- Edmunds 
  • "Multifunction touch screen in center of dashboard absorbs most audio and climate functions, complicating their use. Default power-flow readout is distracting. Screen legibility is diminished by fingerprints and direct sunlight." -- Consumer Guide
  • "In addition to the navigation system and stability control, one of the truly cool options is hands-free access to the vehicle via onboard sensors that recognize a signal from a 'smart' key in the driver's purse or pocket. The driver then pushes a start button on the dash and taps the joystick shifter to begin moving." -- Detroit News
  • "One major gripe was the tiny shift level that sprouts from the dash and operates in a unique pattern. We feel there is nothing wrong with the traditional P, R, N, D, L, and it should have been adopted here. ... A second maddening gripe was the beeper that went off when one shifted into reverse. Granted, the Prius is virtually silent when operating solely in the electric mode and anyone behind the car should be warned that a reverse move is in the works. But something better than the incessant beeping could have been adopted." -- MarketWatch


The 2009 Toyota Prius offers 14.4 cubic feet of space -- once a large amount for the midsize class, but now less than what newer designs like the Chevy Malibu offer. Compared to other hybrids, however, it's very impressive. Its unique one-box shape gives it a versatile hauling capacity that many testers praise. After all, it's a hatchback competing with sedans. Reviews also praise the Prius for its array of compartments, including a unique double glovebox that elicits a lot of comment from testers.

  • "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." -- Edmunds
  • "The trunk houses 16.1 cubic feet of luggage, and a 60/40-split folding rear seat gives the Prius a lot of versatility and load-hauling ability for such compact exterior dimensions." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "The rear seats fold flat, which is a huge plus since the Honda Civic Hybrid's rear seats don't fold at all." -- Automobile.com
  • "Hatchback versatility, with 60/40 split folding rear seatback and 16.1 cu ft of space with four aboard. But sloped tail and high floor preclude toting tall items with hatch closed, despite large opening. Useful under-floor storage, plus roomy console bin and twin dashboard gloveboxes." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The big rear hatch opening can swallow a 25-inch TV with no problem." -- Kelley Blue Book

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