Unless you're card carrying member of the Sierra Club, the Toyota Prius is usually about as exciting as a rousing evening of PBS news hour after snorting your body weight and melatonin.
But because you have eyes and I have eyes.
I think we can all tell that this is no ordinary Prius.
It is an ordinary Prius, but it's been modified for one specific purpose rally racing.
Toyota's engineers embarked on a skunkworks project of sorts bouncing between locations in a pandemic to put together a Prius that's capable of absolutely dominating the dirt.
Since less weight means more speed,the engineers said about stripping the interior of any unnecessary weight Door panels.
Who needs them seats?
Well the stock ones aren't exactly great for racing so they were ditched in favor of proper racing seats was six point harnesses.
In fact they took pretty much everything out safer parts of the dashboard and the shift lever that is now very naked.
Class windows were removed in favor of safer Plexiglas ask An FIA compliant roll cage was sandwiched in there too.
Since you'd be hard pressed to find a serious racing series that doesn't require a roll cage.
It's much harder to tell the extent of this priuses modifications from the outside.
sure there's a vinyl wrap around the entire body but the American rally associations reliance on 15 inch wheels means the Prius was able to use it stock rollers Dig a little deeper and you'll find upgraded brakes and gravel specific tires.
The previous stock suspension was cast aside in favor of a Frankenstein setup from Toyota's Parts Catalog, including springs from the Avalon TRD and Camry, in addition to some parts from the TRD trimmed Cav4 for a little extra off road crab.
One thing Toyota's engineers didn't change though, was the power train, 1.8 liter Atkinson cycle engine is still there, as is the pair of electric motors providing power on each axle.
That means output is the same at 121 horsepower but you'd be surprised how much less that matters when your focus is sliding around in the dirt.
The only major change here is a cut off switch the drains both the 12 volt electrical system and all the high voltage hybrid bits.
So what's it like out in the gravel#?
Let's find out.
Now this is a all wheel drive Prius technically, it uses a electric motor in the rear and a conventional gas powered linkage up front.
The back does not spin out as much as you might think you will get a little more push.
It is still very front bias, but all it takes is a little bit of a flick or a light lift of the wheel to get your backend to rotate.
And then you just kind of feed it a little bit of power as you go and it's God, I know, man.
You just do a bunch of drifts and have a bunch of good times.
This is built for rally which means 90% of the time you're probably not going very straight.
So you know just kind of turn the wheel grip it, wait for the gravel tires to dig in, find your line and just keep steering.
Now it is very weird that I'm doing this with the steering wheel of a Prius, but you know, whatever the world's weird place these days You know if you're only used to doing 65 on the freeway in a Prius, I think you're missing out.
Get yourself a sollozzo, a whole bunch of equipment, and a rally cage, and just take it to town.
Yeah, this thing is a riot.
I know you can't tell behind the camera but all I am doing is smiling right now.
This thing is just a hoot and a half.
It is not hard to have fun in this thing.
credit where it's due to the engineers doing this though these guys aren't doing this for Toyota for any specific reason they're not trying to break into an official rally or anything like that.
These guys just want to take this car and explore its limits and see what kind of dumb fun stuff they can get up to.
And they've succeeded with flying colors.
My opinion this thing is absolutely hilarious.
You just take it into a hairpin, perhaps give it a little more throttle and you need to spin it a little more than you need to.
And just whip it out the other side.
This thing I probably could have stopped driving by now but I don't think I'm gonna.
I think I'm gonna ride this thing all the way back home to Detroit.
Five bucks says there isn't a GPS transponder in this thing.
They're gonna have a real hard time finding it.
So really, what's the takeaway here with the rally Prius, I can't go to the dealership and buy one.
You certainly can't go to the dealership and buy one.
Really when it comes down to a stigma As you can tell by the joke in my intro, a lot of people tend to pigeonhole the Prius into the corner where it's a grandpa car where you're only caring about efficiency and it's just boring and can be left alone.
But really that's limiting it.
As you can see here with a little bit of ingenuity and access to even just an OEM parts catalog.
You can turn this thing into quite the little reaper I think we may be giving the Prius a little less benefit of the doubt than it deserves.