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Toyota Adds Prius Plus Performance Package To Hot Up Hybrid Handling

 
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2011 Toyota Prius with PLUS Performance Package

2011 Toyota Prius with PLUS Performance Package

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Pretty much every Toyota Prius hybrid you see on the streets looks the same.

Wild customization is generally limited to personalized plates that promote the driver's green credentials, solar panels, eco-living, or general hybrid luv-luv-LUV.

That's about to change.

Toyota announced today it will offer something called the "Prius PLUS Performance Package," made up of "cool and fun accessories" that upgrade the ur-hybrid with "sporty looks" and "performance handling," courtesy of the Toyota Racing Department (TRD).

2011 Toyota Prius with PLUS Performance Package

2011 Toyota Prius with PLUS Performance Package

Enlarge Photo
What does it mean? Well, when the first item listed on the press release is optional new paint colors, we're probably not talking about rip-snorting 400-kilowatt traction motors or oversized lithium-ion pack upgrades.

For the record, the colors are Blizzard Pearl, Classic Silver Metallic, Black and Winter Gray Metallic--or beige, silver, black, and gray, which are suitable Prius shades.

The package itself, once you've chosen a color, includes a seven-piece ground-effects aero kit that adds front and rear bumper spoilers, side skirts, and a rear diffuser, which the company says further reduce the car's coefficient of drag.

The 17-inch forged alloy five-spoke wheels are "race-inspired," and lower the unsprung weight on each corner. They're fitted with low-profile tires and are differently offset, increasing the track width without damaging the car's low rolling resistance.

2011 Toyota Prius with PLUS Performance Package

2011 Toyota Prius with PLUS Performance Package

Enlarge Photo
Lower springs drop the height of the Prius by 1.1 inches in the front, and 1.3 inches in the rear--probably suitable since it's the front wheels that are driven--and the kit adds a rear sway bar. Toyota says the resulting Prius steers more quickly, corners flatter, and is more maneuverable.

Y'know, just like on the racing Prius models. Ahem.

Rounding off the package are custom badges and, wait for it, carpeted floor mats with logos!

The price is $3,699 for Prius Two, Three, and Four models, and $2,999 for the high-end Prius Five trim level. Ordering begins next month, and Toyota says quantities will be limited.

Toyota calls the Prius Plus Performance Package the "first installment" of a new line of Plus accessories for multiple models.

[Toyota]

+++++++++++

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