First of all, I thought I had already been to the launch party. Wrong. I thought I had driven the thing. Wrong. I learned today this was a pre-announcement-pre-party, and the cars I had seen were “production prototypes.” I see. Then, this splendiferous event with a rock band, canapés and apple juice must surely be the launch festa, I thought. (The dear reader knows by now that the average Toyota launch event in Japan entails a card table, two speakers, PowerPoint and a bottle of water.) Wrong again. It’s kind of a pre-announcement. The car itself will come in — we’ll talk about that when we talk timing.
However, I was told that today, that now we have real specs and prices, and the cars (which looked deceptively like the production prototypes) are the ones that will be sold. In Japan. As for America –– we’ll get to that. Here are the vital stats of the hachi-roku JDM spec:
Trim levels: RC, G, GT, GT “Limited.”
Weight: From 1,180kg (2,601 lbs) for the RC version to 1,250kg (2,756 lbs)
Engine: DOHC horizontally opposed 4-cylinder direct injection
Output: 147kW (200hp) / 7,000 rpm
Torque: 205nm / 6,400 – 6,600 rpm
And to answer a burning and often asked question: Yes, a tape deck, even a CD radio with USB are available. As options.
Now, the prices. Prices range from 1,990,000 yen for the RC version to 3,050,000 yen for the “the works” GT Limited version. The RC version is a barest minimum stripped spec, meant for environmentally responsible racing: This way, you don’t have to toss stuff you don’t need on the track. But don`t fall in love with the specs unless you are in Japan.
“The U.S. model will be a Scion,” hachi-roku Chief Engineer Tetsuya Tada tells me later in a tete-a-tete. “Scion’s concept is one trim level. That should be comparable to our GT trim.”
In Japan, the GT trim costs 2,790,000 yen for the stick shift, and 2,870,000 yen for the automatic. That would be a whopping $36,677 if converted by Google. For the stick.
Toyota spokesfolk and later Tada warned repeatedly against coquettish currency conversions, as they made the rounds on fan sites. The Japanese prices includes taxes, and in any case, prices in other countries will be what the market requires, not what Google says. The U.S. price remains a secret. I would guess it’s below $30K, but no way is it below $20K. And no, no stripper version stateside. You heard the man.