I’ve always found most body kits to be silly. Side skirts, fender flares, and front splitters usually do little more than add weight and make a slow car look like it’s trying too hard to go fast. But every now and then a good, clean body kit can improve the appearance of a car, and if done right, even improve its aerodynamic properties.
Hybrids seem to be especially popular to make body kits for recently, with both the Toyota Prius and Ford Fusion Hybrid receiving different takes on body enhancements. Toyota is taking the game a step further with its Aerius body kit which offers subtle improvements to the exterior without negatively affecting the drag coefficient.
The kit’s name is derived from Latin, and means “belonging to the air,” quite appropriate for an Earth-friendly hybrid. The kit was designed by SoCal-based Five Axis Designs, who mostly do work on Toyota’s youth brand, Scion. The kit is so subtle it might be difficult to tell what, if anything they did at first. Side skirts give the car a lower-looking stance, and front-and-rear splitters make the car appear as if it is only inches from the ground. Unlike other, more gregarious kits, Five Axis went to great lengths to leave the 0.25 drag coefficient intact while making the Prius look almost… sporty?
I think the best part of this kit is the color though; the dark sky blue is money. The custom color came from Nippon Color Design Studio America and is water, rather than oil based, making it more environmentally friendly. A window film from 3M has been applied that blocks 99.9% of UV light, and ultra-low rolling resistance tires wrap around 19″ Five Axis wheels with a clear wheel cover to keep drag down.
There has been a lot of talk lately about using recycled materials for seating and interior accommodations. Five Axis listened, and applied True Textile recycled polyester seat covers, with the seats themselves made from Ultrafabrics environmentally-produced polyurethane materials. The interior accents are made from environmentally friendly resins created from 40 percent recycled post-industrial waste and birch trees. There is even a 900 watt, 10-speaker Pioneer sound system and 7 inch DVD screen so you can put An Inconvienient Truth on permanent loop.
Pretty cool kit, for a Prius, and it should be available from Five Axis for purchase in the coming months.