Toyota Planning Inexpensive, Rear-Wheel Drive Sports Car

Toyota exited the sports car game in the United States when the Celica coupe was discontinued in 2006. Although the automaker has given the green light to its FT-86 coupe, a new, less expensive, rear-wheel-drive car may beat it to the market.

According to Motor Trend, the late Toyota chief test driver Hiromu Naruse dreamed of a low-cost, rear-wheel-drive car aimed at young drivers. Since Naruse's untimely death earlier this year, Toyota began development on such a car: a hatchback based on the chassis of the Toyota Aygo city car, with an engine from Daihatsu. Toyota will reportedly source the 1.5-liter I-4 powerplant from Daihatsu, and may also have its Japanese subsidiary produce the vehicle.

Toyota hopes the rear-wheel-drive setup will be attractive to youthful consumers, and the vehicle is expected to tip the scales at a sub-Mazda Miata weight of 2200 pounds. Should it arrive in North America, it's poised to be the least expensive rear-wheel-drive offering.

Unlike the FT-86's price, which has steadily crept up to as high as $27,000, the new Toyota hatchback will likely retail closer to $16,000, and could beat the FT-86 to the market. Utilizing existing technologies and components, the hatch has the potential to be ready within two years, just before the FT-86.

In addition to the forthcoming FT-86 and new rear-drive hatchback, Toyota also confirmed it has started development a new iteration of its famed Supra. Should all three models become a reality, Toyota will be able to regain some credibility among enthusiasts. Would you consider a sub-$15,000 rear-drive sports car?

Source: Motor Trend

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