2001 Neon with poor acceleration

The car is a 2001 Neon with a 3-speed auto tranny. The problem is poor accelration at low speed after the car has been driven for 20 miles
or so in hot weather. The car runs fine at freeway speed, but it just wouldn't accelerate at low speed, especially when driving uphill. It feels as if it were in too high a gear, and I could detect a slight "burning clutch" smell after driving up a steep hill.
I suspect the problem is in the transmission, but I want to be sure it isn't engine related. Is there any simple test I could do to eliminate that possibility? Any ideas?
Nick
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Check on how many shifts you feel/count as you get up to cruising speed when the car does not accelerate properly. Given that you know it is a 3-speed trans, then if it is only 2, and the engine RPM is ultimately correct relative to your speed when cruising, then you started out from stop in 2nd gear...
Bob

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