Somehow, I never thought I’d use the terms “Prius” and “Performance Package” in the same sentence, and after reading Carscoop’s description of the TRD developed kit, I’m still not sure they belong together. As shown at this year’s SEMA show, the Prius PLUS features a body kit and suspension mods, but no changes to the hybrid’s powertrain. The mods won’t yield much in terms of performance or handing, so you’d better be in love with revised looks of the Prius PLUS before you agree to pony up the cash for the kit. So what, exactly, do you get for your money?
First, there’s the body kit, which includes a rear diffuser, front and rear spoilers and side skirts. Toyota claims that the kit doesn’t have a negative effect on the Prius’ drag coefficient of .25; in other words, the kit neither adds downforce nor improves aerodynamics. Call it change for changes sake.
Next is the suspension work. The Prius PLUS includes new 17” wheels with a custom offset to increase the Prius’ track. Rolling resistance isn’t changed, so I’m not sure the new wheel and tire combination actually adds more grip. The PLUS package also includes lowering springs and a rear sway bar, both of which will yield a subtle improvement to the Prius’ handling. In theory, a lowered car should also return slightly better fuel economy, though probably not enough to notice.
You also get a PLUS badge for your car and new floormats, neither of which help acceleration or handling. Toyota hasn’t given us a price on the kit just yet, but I’m not exactly sure they’ll be flying off of dealer shelves no matter what they cost. Whatever the price turns out to be, the only real benefits will be produced by lowered springs and a rear sway bar, and I’m sure you can add those to your Prius for a lot less the cost of the Performance PLUS package.