Toyota’s Performance Renaissance?

Everyone probably remembers back to the dark times of Toyota. Gone were the days of fun cars like the Supra and MR2, with monuments to boring practicality, such as the Matrix and every updated Prius, being rolled out to replace your excited gasps with yawns of pure disappointment. However, since the launch of the GT86/FR-S in 2013, Toyota has been slowly moving back to its performance heritage. And with the upcoming Supra and rumors rolling around of a MR2 successor, I think we’re just about to reach the climax of that revival.

What most people probably care about is the return of the Supra nameplate. While it is still a controversial car due to the BMW partnership, it does still indicate that Toyota really is aiming to get back into the game of producing performers for the people. And while the return of every JDM fan’s wet dream is incredibly significant, there are other signs pointing to a more sporting future for Toyota. (Don’t worry, I’ll jerk off the Supra and the 2JZGTE a little bit later in the article)

TRD Camry_CarAndDriver
2020 Toyota Camry TRD – Photo Credit

Even when looking at Toyota’s sedan offerings, which weren’t exactly known for their sportiness, you can see some pretty welcome changes. Not only is the outdated Corolla platform getting a much needed update (based on the critically praised Corolla Hatchback), but we’re also getting Toyota Racing Development (TRD) versions of the Camry and Avalon for 2020. I know that a sport sedan isn’t exactly everyone’s thing, but I’d be lying if I said that a track ready Camry (built off of the already great XSE trim) priced for the average car enthusiast didn’t excite me in an almost sexual way.

TRD Avalon_CarAndDriver
2020 Toyota Avalon TRD – Photo credit

I already touched on it a little bit above, but the Corolla Hatchback is another good sign pointing to Toyota going more sport again. When reviewers got their hands on the little hatchback, they were impressed with the handling of the new platform. Obviously a gripe was the power, as it’s pushing out a pretty low 168hp and 151 tq, but the potential exists for the platform. As of right now, rumors are circulating of a potential hybridized hot hatch version of the Corolla. While I don’t like to put much weight on rumors, the last one about a new Supra was right, so f@3k it, I’ll believe it. Maybe we’ll get it for the sedan version too. Who f@#kin’ knows?!

Corolla Hatchback_salinasToyota
2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback XSE – Photo Credit

Speaking of rumors, we’ve got another one floating around about a possible MR2 revival. This isn’t exactly the biggest news though, as rumors of this have been going on for a hot minute now. Rumor has it that this new MR2 will follow the same route as the 86 and be a joint production shared between both Toyota and Subaru. Again, rumors are just rumors with nothing too concrete with them, but the inclusion of the MR2 would make some sense, as it would likely become the inbetweener of the 86 and the Supra. Plus, Masayuki Kai, Assistant Chief Engineer for the new Supra, has even indicated that Toyota is looking to bring the MR2 back to the streets. Doesn’t certainly mean it is going to happen, but it beats just hearing whispers of it happening by some rando like me on the internet.

mr2_topspeed’s concept of a possible new MR2 design – Photo Credit

Lastly, let’s talk a little about the upcoming Supra. This is probably the sports car project that most people who clicked this article give a s@#t about, and understandably so. This is the continuation of the legacy that was born from the MK3 and the excellent MK4 Supra. This is the one that needs to live up to the power and performance of the legendarily tunable and bulletproof 2JZGTE (I told you I’d jerk it off). Toyota’s partnership makes me semi-uncertain if it will have that panache  of the MK4, but I’ll hold on hope for right now. Even if the MK5 doesn’t live up to the hype though, its presence on lots and on the streets is an important step in Toyota’s consumer sport renaissance.

The latest leak of the MK5 Toyota Supra – Photo Credit

This is Toyota’s halo car, back from the dead after seventeen long years. This isn’t a car you bring back on a whim. This is a car you bring back to head a new era of performance.




If you’re looking for more car related content, check us out on Facebook or on Instagram (@ace_driving). If you’re up for it, check out our friend at Autonoch. He’s a good kid putting in good work. His articles are a bit different than our style, but well worth a read.

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