Skip to main content

Toyota FT-86: The Affordable Driver's Car?

Toyota FT-86 II Concept
I have written previously about Why I Idolise Rear-Wheel-Drive, and it seems that Toyota (and strangely enough its development partner Subaru) agrees that a true driver's car should be driven by the rear wheels. Shown in its latest concept form at this year's Geneva Motor Show, the FT-86 might just be the perfect affordable sports car. The latest concept is reportedly quite close to the production model, and is a refreshing return to reality from the boy racer version that I was lucky enough to view in the flesh at the Australian International Motor Show in Sydney last October. I have followed the FT-86 since its first concept form, but it was only when Toyota's European division released production specifications this week that the reality of this car hit me: here is a real-sports car for the masses, a refreshing addition to a global new car fleet dominated by bland-mobiles and econoboxes. The production version of the FT-86 will sport a 2.0 litre naturally aspirated boxer engine of Subaru origin, that will utilise Toyota's D4-S technology, which combines both direct injection and port inject. Both manual and automatic transmissions will be offerred, each with six cogs, although in my book no matter how 'sporty' Toyota claims the auto box will be, only the six-speed manual is really worth a mention. Power outputs have not been confirmed, although a healthy increase on the 110kw of Subaru's current iteration of its 2.0 boxer is likely. I would like to see at least 150kw coupled to a relatively lean weight, but we will have to wait a little longer for those details to surface.

The appeal of the FT-86 is not simply that it is a rear-drive sports car - there are plenty of these available if you have enough cash. What is more exciting is the likelihood of a true sports car with a low price-point, and the prospect of a car that acknowledges you can have a lot of fun on a good chassis without a excess of power, and the associated build and running costs of a high-output engine.

In my mind two big questions remain about the FT-86. Firstly can Toyota, manufacturer of some of the best selling bland-mobiles on the planet and better know for 'green' than 'sporty', build a driver's car worth driving? I think Toyota has its intentions right in the development of the FT-86, and the collaboration with Subaru should only benefit the car's dynamics. Secondly, will it actually be affordable? Speculations on US pricing have dwelled in the US$20,000-US$25,000 range. If these are accurate, I would suspect that Australian pricing would likely fall in the $30,000-$40,000 range, despite the Aussie dollar continuing to trade above parity with the USD. A starting price closer to $30,000 would be great value, and could compete with with cars like the Mini Cooper for child-free car buyers looking for an involving drive. Where this car could fall down however, is prestige. Will fashion-conscious car buyers really buy a car with a Toyota badge? I hope that if the FT-86 is as good as it should be that the answer is yes.

There is one other question I have too: when can we see the Subaru version?


Popular posts from this blog

Car Lust: Audi A1 Sportback

It has been quite a while since I last posted anything here. To be precise (I do like to be), it has been exactly 284 days since my last post.  Since then many things have kept me from posting, and with every week that passes it has only become harder to give any attention to HaveCar WillDrive. But this week I have come down with such a terrible bout of car lust that I couldn't help but share it here. Yes, I am lusting badly for an Audi A1 Sportback. You may be asking yourself "what could be so exciting about a tarted-up overpriced Volkswagen Polo?" At first glance you may have a point, but let me explain.

Reflections Of A Car Addict On Holiday

BMW Vision Concept at AIMS 2011 After more than a month of running around madly, resting intensly, and doing various things that can only be done during uni holidays, it is well and truly time for me to put some time back into Have Car, Will Drive. In that time I've visited the Melbourne Motor Show, driven upwards of 1500km including two trips to Phillip Island, and dipped my feet in the mirky waters of car mechanics peforming my first radiator flush and attempting to understand the intricate workings of a Hyundai's hydraulic clutch system. 

Posthumus Review: 1990 Peugeot 405 Mi16

Everyone's first car has a special place in their heart, and for those of us with a passion for cars this effect is amplified. This was mine: a 1990 Peugeot 405 Mi16. I was with great restraint that had I held off buying my first car for nearly six months after I'd passed my license test, although finances (or more accurately, lack thereof) also played a substantial part. Having just scraped together just enough money for a car that might be worth owning, I trawled online car advertisements for weeks looking for the right vehicle. My list of criteria was short (ABS, somewhat economical to run, a touch of class) although armed with limited resources, this substantially limited my choices, especially given that I refused to own a family sedan of the Australian-built variety. Before buying the Peugeot I had test-driven five cars, all Saabs. Two GM 900s and three 9000s. The better of the two 900s I had bid for on ebay, but it sold above my budget, while the best of the 9000s made m