The 2019 Detroit Auto Show brings forth the new 2020 Toyota Supra. We last saw the Supra in 1998–but CarGurus shoppers haven’t lost interest in this car.
This is the fifth generation of the Supra, slotting in above the 86. Why do we love this version? Underneath the Toyota skin, it’s a BMW, promising excellent handling and a performance engine. But the delight over the latest Supra is based on its previous generations. It first debuted as the Celica Supra in 1979, going through another three generations before getting discontinued.
Supra, at the beginning
The Toyota Celica Supra first went on sale for $10,118 in 1979–just over $34,000 in 2019 dollars. A manual came standard, and the car had the distinction of being the first Toyota vehicle (in the US) to offer cruise control. While a sports package has been available since the birth of the Celica Supra, it wasn’t until the third generation that the Supra leaned into its sportiness with a targa top and a limited-slip differential, among other features. The base trim cost approximately $18,000, or just over $41,000 in today’s dollars. (If you have your heart set on the third-generation Supra, you can find it on CarGurus.)
By the fourth generation, the Supra had carved out a niche as a performance car – and at a premium price. It cost $34,225 in 1993–equal to $59,695 in 2019 dollars. We found that CarGurus shoppers are more interested in the fourth generation than the third generation – three times more interested, in fact. And we can see why. Among other improvements, it lost 200 pounds, thanks to more aluminum parts, and gained a twin-turbo engine.
Interestingly, of all of the fourth-generation cars, the 1994 Supra garnered the most searches. The 1994 Supra will come at a premium: Versions on CarGurus are going between $40,000 and $50,000. If you don’t want to pay the high sticker price, you can take a look at the 1993s and 1995s, which are available on CarGurus for under $30,000.
You can also find several features from the Supra in used cars for a fraction of the price. Take the Targa top, which was also featured on the Honda Civic del Sol and came out around the same time as the fourth-generation Supra. Or the Nissan 300ZX, which debuted in 1984 and was available with a turbo engine.
The future of 2-door sports cars
So with the long-awaited return of this 2-door performance car, will we see more like it from other automakers? Perhaps. The MX-5 Miata, introduced in 1990, has continued to win fans. And Acura upgraded the NSX for 2019 to offer better performance. More automakers may join their ranks. Nissan revealed a refreshed 370Z at SEMA in 2018, featuring a new engine and (gasp!) a manual transmission, but the company hasn’t confirmed when – or if – we’ll see those changes on dealer lots this year.
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