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Check Out the Awesome Gas-Saving Modifications on This Hypermiling Toyota Prius

Illustration for article titled Check Out the Awesome Gas-Saving Modifications on This Hypermiling Toyota Prius
Image: Scotty McKinney

Some think the Toyota Prius is the anti-car—a jellybean-shaped, slow, boring hatchback that does nothing to further car culture. But those people would be wrong, because this highly-modified second-gen spotted in Massachusetts proves that the Prius is a vehicle to be respected by all. Check out these sweet aero mods!

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Scotty McKinney saw this machine headed northbound on Interstate 95 in Massachusetts, took some photos, and posted them to Facebook last week with a caption that read, in part: “I have questions.”

It’s a fair caption, because this Toyota Prius has been the recipient of some seriously wacky aerodynamic treatments. On the side, you can see some flat plates (pizza pans, perhaps?) covering the wheels, some sort of block-off for the rear windows (I’m not sure if those have any fuel-saving effects), and there’s a tiny side mirror replacing the standard one. Just look at this little thing:

Illustration for article titled Check Out the Awesome Gas-Saving Modifications on This Hypermiling Toyota Prius
Photo: Scotty McKinney
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There’s also a side skirt that looks to be made of some sort of floppy mat, which you can see is also used on the bottom of the custom rear fairing:

Illustration for article titled Check Out the Awesome Gas-Saving Modifications on This Hypermiling Toyota Prius
Photo: Scotty McKinney

That fairing appears to be built with some kind of metal frame that hangs off the tail end of the Prius, and is wrapped in plastic. New lights have been attached to the rear of the fairing, there’s a hose coming off the back of it (I’m not entirely sure what that’s for), and there looks to be a flexible solar panel on top.

Also, apparently missing is the Prius’ rear wiper and its antenna—both common mods in the hypermiling community.

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Illustration for article titled Check Out the Awesome Gas-Saving Modifications on This Hypermiling Toyota Prius

The thing just looks incredible driving down the road, and I’m curious to see what kind of fuel economy it managed on this trip.

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When most folks think of true enthusiast cars, they imagine vehicles that can be modified to accelerate faster, handle better, or traverse harsher off-road terrain. But with a Prius, many owners make modifications with the sole aim of improving fuel economy. It’s practical, it looks like a whole lot of fun, and it’s fascinating, making the Prius a real enthusiast’s choice.

Yes, the Prius is, without a doubt, an enthusiast’s car.

h/t: Oppositetalk Facebook group

Sr. Technical Editor, Jalopnik. Always interested in hearing from auto engineers—email me. Cars: Willys CJ-2A ('48), Jeep J10 ('85), Jeep Cherokee ('79, '91, '92, '00), Jeep Grand Cherokee 5spd ('94).

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DISCUSSION

Stang70Fastback
Stang70Fastback

This thing has been making the rounds in all of the FB car groups, and it’s amazing how many people immediately jump down the guy’s throat with comments poking fun at someone who apparently can’t afford gas for the car, or is too stingy if a Prius isn’t economical enough for him.

What the fuck, people. This is awesome. I highly doubt this guy is doing it out of necessity. It should be plainly obvious to anyone that this guy is a hypermiling nerd, and probably enjoys eeking out extra MPGs out of aerodynamic mods just as much as most of us enjoy eeking out a few extra HPs with power mods.

I would love to talk to this guy about this car. Dunno why so many people hate on these sorts of interesting things.

Having said that, stance is still stupid. At least this serves a useful purpose.