PLUS Performance Package Turns 2011 Prius Into A Real TRD

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Prius isn't the first name in performance, or even the 51st, but apparently there's some demand for a factory performance package for the mass-market hybrid, as Toyota has just released its PLUS Performance Package for the car.

Used as a clothes horse for the new PLUS hybrid performance line from Toyota's in-house performance division, Toyota Racing Development (TRD), the Prius PLUS package will be available in limited quantities. So what makes the PLUS package sporty?

A set of "track-tuned" lowering springs drop the car 1.1 inches up front and 1.3 inches at the rear, and a new rear swaybar is fitted. Toyota says turn-in is improved, as are steering response and cornering ability.

A seven-piece aero body kit makes the car look lower, including front and rear bumpers, side skirts, spoilers, and a diffuser. Best of all for hybrid performance fans, the kit actually reduces drag rather than increasing it. Next, Toyota adds low-offset "race-inspired" 17-inch alloy wheels, though we have no idea what that means aside from the fact that they're lighter than the usual wheels. "Low-profile" 215/45 tires wrap the wheels.

Four exterior colors are available, including Blizzard Pearl, Classic Silver Metallic, black, and Winter Gray Metallic. Inside, PLUS-logo carpet floor mats finish the TRD treatment. The package adds $3,699 to the price of the Prius Two, Three and Four, and $2,999 to the Prius Five. Order books open in July.

So does this Prius sound sporty enough to tempt you to the green side, or is it still too much hybrid, not enough high-speed?

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