This past week I've been paying visits to local car dealerships around the South Bay to test drive cars that may become a candidate for our weekend cruiser; not giving up the Prius, but adding to our garage.
Some of the cars I've test driven include:
- Lexus CT200h
- Honda CR-Z EX
- Subaru BRZ
- Scion FR-S
- Infiniti G coupe and
- Acura ILX
So far, the Honda CR-Z EX and Lexus CT200h F Sport package rein supreme in terms of pricing, comfort, fun and value. While the BRZ and FR-S are stellar performing rides in their class and price range, I am not sure if I want to see myself back in a compact tuner after relinquishing the RSX. They are both still fun to drive nonetheless! The Acura ILX is full of nice luxury amenities, but it feels like a glorified Honda Civic that it is based on. The CT200h is technically a glorified Prius but feels far from it. The Inifiniti G coupe has the best of both worlds, performance and amenities, but sits at the higher spectrum of the price range. I am hesitant to jump the gun on a new Lexus CT200h or Honda CR-Z EX because they are in their mid-life refresh. A few more years and a successor, with new technology, safety features, amenities and fuel efficiency will replace the current mid-life refreshed models.
Speaking of the Lexus CT200h, since it and the Prius both share a common platform, there's a trend where Prius enthusiasts are swapping in parts from the CT200h into their Prius. Rims are a popular and a no brainer swap, but I've seen some swaps involving full seats and other interior swaps. This level of modding, taking parts from one car and swapping them into another of similar platform, reminds me of the hay days where Honda Civic drivers would spend a boat load of money to purchase full DC4 Integra interiors (seats, dashboard, consoles and door panels) to swap into their 5th generation Honda Civic coupes or hatchbacks. The same applies to RSX drivers swapping in and rewiring Honda S2000 digital gauge clusters and seats. Not as ridiculous as the import tuner trend of the mid to late nineties where show cars compete to have as many different car parts as they possibly can.
For the amount of effort and costs involved in these swaps, might as well just trade in the Prius and buy a Lexus CT200h and call it a day. I mean regardless of how many CT200h parts a Prius has in it, "it is still a Prius". Just my personal opinion.