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A few years ago, if we had put hot hatch, tuning, and Toyota Prius in one sentence, we’d have been Thanos snapped out of existence. But with the head-turning style and improved performance of the 2023 Toyota Prius, it may just be the hot hatch of the future. Japan’s HKS tuning shop agrees, and they’re already cooking up some mods to spice up this Toyota hybrid.

The 2023 Prius shows off hot hatch style with coilover suspension from Japanese Tuning brand HKS.
HKS’ Prius Prototype | HKS via Facebook

HKS developing Hipermax S coilovers to turn the Prius into a lowered hot hatch

As one of the legends of Japanese tuning, HKS has been building high-end aftermarket components for generations. You’ll likely remember the logos from those early Fast and Furious movies or Gran Turismo’s garage of video game parts. What we’re trying to say is HKS is a legend in the Japanese tuning space. And these days, they’re turning their attention to the 2023 Toyota Prius and legitimizing its potential as a hot hatch.

In a Facebook post on Wednesday, the brand showed off a 2023 Prius wearing its Hipermax S coilovers. Right now, they’re just a prototype. However, this kind of attention from a big tuning brand means a future with modded Prii is coming.

Hot hatch enthusiasts already love the 2023 Toyota Prius

While much of Toyota’s enthusiast attention comes thanks to the GR Corolla, Supra, and 86, the new Prius has grabbed some eyeballs as well.

From Twitter to Facebook groups and local car events, enthusiasts seem to appreciate what the new Prius brings to the table. Even if some do so a bit begrudgingly.

The fact is, the new Prius looks like a hot hatch already. The sharp LED headlights and sloping nose give the new Toyota hybrid an aggressive face. The new look fits in nicely alongside Toyota’s true sports cars. Subtle curves and lines on the body keep the good looks going, and an egg-like side profile is hot hatch gold.

Under the hood, the more-powerful hybrid drive system has people talking as well. Zero to 60 mph now takes just 7.1 seconds, compared to over 10 seconds in the previous car. That improved performance comes thanks to an upgraded hybrid powertrain.

For 2023 the Prius uses a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and more powerful electric motors to churn out 196 horsepower. The all-new Prius Prime does even better, cranking out 220 horses.

Tuning potential of the 2023 Prius

Given the Prius’ low center of gravity, it already has a solid handling platform for that all-wheel drive power. It comes standard with eco tires that are hardly aggressive, but pairing the Prius with wider wheels and sticky rubber should prove a solid upgrade. Add high-end suspension from HKS and we have no doubt that the 2023 Prius will sit firmly in hot hatch territory. It’ll just take a little aftermarket massaging to get it there.

But considering it’s nearly equal on power to the Honda Civic Si and Kia Forte GT, a few handling improvements stand to make the Prius a surprisingly fun hybrid hatch. Maybe the future for car enthusiasts isn’t so bad, after all.

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