Toyota Prius with body kit from AutoLabo in Japan
The Toyota Prius is just one of THOSE kinds of cars; it attracts wackiness. And sometimes wackness. Herewith, our roundup of miscellaneous Prius stuff that we couldn't fit anywhere else.
Even Better Mileage From Streamliner Body Kit: From the Detroit News (of all places) comes a wonderful item about a Japanese body-panel kit that claims to boost Prius mileage by a further 7 miles per gallon. Plus it just looks really cool.
From the AutoLabo company (available in the US through D's Club), the basic "A-Coro" kit (for $1,995) improves airflow over and around the Prius, and works to separate the air cleanly at the back of the car, cutting turbulence that causes drag. It includes body-side flares, a deeper front fascia, and a rear fascia with an integral diffuser. Even better looking are the rear wheel skirts (a further $595).
Courts Deem Prius Not Sufficiently Luxurious: Pity poor Moshe Leib, owner of TB Limo Black Car Service, whose quest to pick up passengers at the Tampa airport in his shiny black Toyota Prius has been dealt a fatal blow. Both an appeals court and a federal judge have affirmed a decision by the Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission that his Prius is not a limo, because it doesn't qualify as a "luxury" vehicle. This means he can drop off passengers, but can't pick them up. His business is down, so he was trying to save money on gas. Now he's thinking of a hybrid SUV instead.
"The Prius Effect" Will Make Your Kid Do His Homework: Moving on from Detroit to the San Francisco Bay Area, we learn that the Silicon Valley Moms' Blog (which has dads writing for it too) suggests that online grades let parents monitor their kids' performance in real time--and intervene as soon as grades drop. Just like hyper-miling by watching the energy-flow data and mileage figures in your Prius, get it?
Author David Mott says, "With the Prius Effect of online grading, we can help him correct ineffective behavior right away. Plus, now that our son knows we are checking his grades each night, he puts more effort into doing assignments and turning them in on time." Yikes.
It's Reliable Used Too: We recently pointed out that Consumer Reports called the 2009 Toyota Prius Touring its Best New Car Value. We forgot to mention, though, that the magazine also included earlier Prius models on its "Most Reliable Used Vehicles" list in the Family Car category. They're good coming and going!
2009 Toyota Prius Touring