Toyota has long been the butt of jokes about being a producer of dull, soulless appliances. They’ve done a lot to shake that reputation lately, with fun-to-drive cars like the 86 and the upcoming Supra. However, it’s a new, amped-up Prius that gives the Japanese automaker well-deserved kudos.
Toyota’s newest attempt at turning the tide involves turning their in-house tuning division, Toyota Racing Development (TRD) loose on what may be its most-maligned, by enthusiasts, model. TRD’s upgrades are mostly visual, but they do certainly make the Prius into a more aggressive-looking hybrid people-mover.
The subtle body kit includes everything you’d expect: a front lip spoiler, side skirts, and a rear diffuser. There’s also a few other touches, too, including door handle inserts and a roof-mounted diffuser above the rear window. TRD engineers also gave the Prius a dual exhaust system, a red stop/start button, and a selection of aluminum wheels with sizes ranging from 15 to 18 inches
While TRD’s upgrades don’t make an improvement on the dyno sheet, the engineers utilized computational fluid dynamic (CFD) analysis to maximize the slipperiness of the Prius’ already aerodynamic shape. Appropriately enough, the TRD Prius is designed for maximum efficiency, aerodynamics, and fuel economy.
The parts will be available as kits or à la carte, with the option to have them factory paint-matched at an additional cost. The parts are already on sale in Japan and will be formally unveiled in January at the 2019 Tokyo Auto Salon. None of the parts or kits are for sale in the US—yet.
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