Who said fuel-efficient cars had to be boring?

For many Americans, customizing cars is almost as important as driving them, and that includes owners of tiny, fuel-efficient vehicles.

Owners of small cars and hybrids are getting in on the customizing trend in a big way, according to SouthFlorida.com.

 A 1932 Ford or 1957 Chevy seem like good fodder for hot rodding, but what about a Smart ForTwo?

One South Florida resident added 17-inch wheels, LED lights, and a custom interior to his Smart; spending $4,000 in modifications on a car with an estimated value of $14,000.

The owner runs a custom car shop, and has a few muscle cars. He uses the Smart to deliver parts and drop off estimates, and loves its fuel efficiency.

If the Smart isn't your style, how about a Toyota Prius with 18-inch wheels and lowered suspension, or tricked-out MINI Coopers and Fiat 500s? They're all out there.

Customizing small cars satisfies owners' need to have something unique, while still allowing them to save money on gas.

Granted, some of those modifications may affect gas mileage. Adding larger wheels and tires increases rotational mass and friction, but sometimes sacrifices have to be made for style.

Those sacrifices are easier when the vehicles being customized already get 35 mpg or more.

These custom creations might hint that Americans are finally embracing green cars.

Gas-sipping minicars, hybrids, and plug-in cars have gradually proven to be practical, reliable transportation, but they need to be more than that.

They need to everything that conventional cars do--and that includes being canvases for personal expression.


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