The Baby FT-86: A Real $20K Toyota Sports Car This Time?

Toyota FT-86 concept

The “Toyobaru” saga continues…

When news first broke that Toyota and Subaru would combine forces to create a rear-wheel-drive (RWD) sports car priced at $20K, the auto blogosphere went abuzz.

Like most things, though, when something seems to good to be true, it probably is. Cost overruns in development mean the FT-86 will be priced somewhere in the $25K range. Still a relative bargain, but just missing the affordability most 20-something street racers want.

Enter the “baby” FT-86.

Baby FT-86?

The Baby FT-86?

According to Road & Track, Toyota wasn’t too happy with the price increase and is working on a milder sports car priced some $5,000 less. R &T says,

This car will measure about 150 in. overall length and come powered by the company’s 3SZ-VE engine, a 1.5-liter inline-4 that produces 109 bhp. It will feature a front-engine/rear drive layout.

A hundred and nine horses isn’t a lot, but in a RWD lightweight coupe and with (hopefully) a fun six-speed manual, those 109 ponies priced south of $20K would likely gallop happily off dealers’ lots.

A baby FT-86 also would allow Toyota to price the grown-up one firmly in the $25-30k range, allowing the company to use higher quality materials and give it a bit more power.

Any RWD sports car is worth producing in my book, especially an affordable set of them from Toyota. What I’m having a little trouble with is where this leaves the Scion tC… a front-wheel-drive coupe that may not get much attention once the FT-86 twins hit dealers (supposedly) in 2011 and 2012.

Which Toyota would you buy: FT-86, Baby FT-86, or Scion tC? I’m thinking the grown-up FT-86 for me… maybe even over a Mustang.

-tgriffith

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4 Comments

  1. Aha! One for tgriffith. I must have been smoking one of the popular aromatics of the 60s. My apologies. I still maintain that the size and power difference would not be enough for me to drive the sardine can for any period of time. I will concede different strokes for different folks.

  2. @ panayoti
    If I’m not mistaken, the Miata is RWD too, isn’t it?
    I’d still go the FT-86 route over the Miata, just for looks alone. Miata will always seem a little feminine for my tastes… though I can’t argue that it’s a fun-to-drive little car!

  3. Don’t see why you are so pumped up at this midget sardine can even though it is rwd. The Miata, which is a sardine can, is 43 inches longer and weighs a ton and a half and produces 60 more horses. RWD is compensation enough to sway you to buy this over a Miata??? Hmmmm!

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