Okay, go ahead and laugh. I might give out with a chuckle here and there. On the other hand, if Toyota wants to bolt some performance parts onto its meek hybrid, who am I to complain?
The Prius PLUS Performance Package starts with a seven-piece aerodynamic ground effects kit that delivers an aggressive and lower-profile stance. It includes front and rear bumper spoilers, sleek side skirts and a uniquely styled rear diffuser. The custom body kit was aerodynamically designed and engineered to reduce the vehicle’s coefficient of drag, maintaining its already great fuel efficiency.
And kudos to the Big T for not claiming, as might an aftermarket firm, that fuel efficiency would go up with a body kit.
Complementing the body kit are race-inspired 17-inch forged alloy wheels. The higher strength-to-weight ratio reduces the unsprung weight, assists in keeping the corner weight down and performance up, while maintaining the Prius’ overall light vehicle weight and high fuel efficiency. The wheels are fitted with low profile 215/45R17 tires and have a custom offset, which increases track width yet maintaining Prius’ low rolling resistance. The attractive split five-spoke pattern with a liquid metal protective finish will keep the appearance looking great.
Base tires on the Prius are 195/65R15, so this is a major change. The custom offset means that aftermarket suppliers will have a problem making sport wheels for Prii, but Toyota undoubtedly sees this as a feature.
And while there aren’t any actual go-fast pieces in the package, there are some handling benefits to be had:
The performance side of the PLUS package delivers excellent traction and handling that will surprise any automotive enthusiast without sacrificing fuel efficiency. The track-tuned lowering springs lower the vehicle 1.1 inches in the front and 1.3 inches in the rear. This enhances the vehicle’s on-road performance through quicker turn-in, enhanced steering response and improved cornering ability. A tuned rear sway bar is added to help reduce body lean for flatter cornering and maneuverability. This helps provide the driver control and confidence while touring, mountain driving or just plain having fun. The sway bar is constructed of high carbon spring steel, powder coated to prevent corrosion and road damage.
Still no irs for the Prius, but space considerations are likely the controlling factor. (Heck, my medium-zoot sedan has a solid beam out back, and you don’t hear me complain. Much.)
I have to wonder if all these boy-racer parts herald a general Manning Up in the industry. Shucks, even the new New Beetle (officially designated “Beetle” without the qualifier) has been reskinned for reduced perceived simper.