This past decade, Toyota has cut pretty much all of their sporty cars. There was the MR2, the Supra, the Celica… now all that’s left are the “SE” versions of existing cars, none of which are very exciting. However, they might change things with the FT-86. It’s billed as a small, lightweight sportscar, a spiritual successor to the cult favorite AE86 Trueno/Levin. However, the beloved 86 was a sportier version of the affordable Corolla, while the new Toyota/Subaru joint project is a standalone model. Toyota has also been plagued by the recent tragedies in Japan as well as the controversy over stuck accelerator pedals. New sportscar projects aren’t always successful. Honda’s CR-Z, seemingly a revolution in sporting vehicles, has been widely criticized as underpowered. It seems Honda was attempting to use the CR-Z as a real-world test bed to research hybrid technology in sporty cars.
Sure, the FT-86 may have increased power compared to the original to compensate for its weight, and of course it’s being tested on Germany’s famous Nurburgring, but will Toyota’s new, more cautious mentality towards creating and marketing cars hurt its potential? If this project is a failure, consumers may be forced to look towards Lexus for an exhilarating drive, leaving customers without the means to purchase an upscale car hanging.