Besides working to overcome the PR disaster of the unintended acceleration debacle, Toyota has been hard at work developing a new generation of an affordable sports car. Continuing on with new CEO Akio Toyoda's quest to build more passionate drivers cars, the company will soon be releasing the all new FT-86 coupe sometime in 2011. With around 200 horsepower, a 6-speed manual, and rear wheel drive, pricing should start around $20,000.
However, this base price may be going up according to recent reports. No definite numbers have been given just yet, but the overall value for the money vs. performance should be pretty even. There hasn't been a clear answer as far as engine choices, but expect it to be 2.0 liters. Total weight for the car should be around 2,200 lbs. Is it just me or do these figures sound strikingly familiar? Oh yes, that's right, these numbers are similar to the Mazda MX-5 Miata.
Is Toyota really going after this market share? It appears so and a little competition between the two isn't a bad thing. Word has it that the next generation MX-5 is currently being designed and engineers are desperately finding ways to cut weight to better performance. Could this turn into the battle of small 2 -door Japanese roadsters/coupes reminiscent of old school British racing days? Both companies understand the importance of fuel efficiency in the very near future and are probably eyeing this sports car segment as the next big thing. And why wouldn't it be?
The MX-5's formula is simple: inexpensive to buy, fun driving experience, decent performance, and excellent reliability (something the British forgot with the old MG's and Triumphs). I've actually managed to convince myself while writing this piece that a huge matchup is on the way. So get your driving gloves on and check book ready because this is something we can all afford to buy.