You may not like stance cars, but this looks rather good.
When the fifth-generation Toyota Prius broke cover last year, we were shocked to see the little hybrid car had shaken off its ugly duckling image for a fresh and trendy look. Even though it's a breath of fresh air, several tuners have attempted to improve the styling further with unique body kits.
Japan-based T-Demand is one such company and has gone a step further by offering a series of suspension and braking upgrades. Air suspension allows you to lower the vehicle to the ground, creating a dramatic "bagged" look. The fitment of air suspension should soak up any road imperfections, but we can't imagine this being practical for daily use. Then again, stance is all about aesthetics.
Still, the ride height can be raised and lowered easily, which is more convenient than a static setup.
It's not the only suspension upgrade applied to the Prius. Customers can opt for revised upper and lower control arms, new dampers, tie rods, and toe controls. Elsewhere, T-Demand also equips the hybrid with larger brake discs. There are two size options: 355 mm (14-inch) and 380 mm (15-inch).
That's pretty big for a Prius and should provide ample stopping power. Regardless of the brake disc size, T-Demand fits six-piston calipers as part of the package. All these components are finished in a bright orange shade. Even though you can't see most of it, your mechanic will undoubtedly appreciate the pop of color underneath.
The negative camber wheels are, perhaps, the most interesting part of the vehicle. While the wheel design is attractive, the overall effect is somewhat controversial.
As mentioned, stance cars rob a vehicle of its practicality and, sometimes, its handling and driving characteristics. Many will think this is a strange trade-off, as the overall effect isn't to everyone's taste. However, stance culture has a growing fan base, and companies are capitalizing on the craze - we've seen stanced off-roaders and high-end luxury sedans.
Late last year, Toyota's in-house tuner unveiled a stylish body kit for the Prius. Two options are available; both have more widespread appeal than T-Demand's embellishments. It's great to see so many customization options for a reasonably pedestrian car, though.
As for performance modifications, T-Demand has not mentioned any engine upgrades. Those desiring quick acceleration will have to be satisfied with the Prime derivative, which can hit 60 mph in 6.6 seconds. Hopefully, Toyota will follow through and build the sporty Prius we desire.
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