By on July 20, 2012

As if the absurdly hyperbolic headline “The day the world changed” wasn’t enough of a tip-off , the hype machine for the Toyobaru twins has officially reached its zenith, with Wheels magazine’s Peter Robinson declaring the Japanese-spec Toyota 86 to be superior to the Porsche Cayman.

Reading Robinson’s article, it’s as if I’d experienced a different car than the two FR-S’ I’d already driven. Robinson rhetorically muses on whether the transmission is “…the best manual gearchange ever” (Not a chance) and praises the Toyobaru’s steering as being better than the Cayman’s. If you want to feel like you’re driving Polyphony Digital’s approximation of what a Miata feels like, then yes, it’s wonderful. Reading the rest of the article, you’d think that this car could cure cancer, re-ignite the spark in your floundering marriage and make your hairline stop receding.

When I wrote my first article on the hype surrounding this car, I was partly dismayed because I was prepared to go and buy one, with my own money – not as some corporate (or freebie) long-term tester. The reviews I’d read beforehand led me to believe that this was the one we had all been waiting for, the affordable sports car that would set the competition on fire and usher in a new era of focused, rear-drive machines that a punk like me could realistically afford. I tempered my expectations, hoping it was merely a blast to drive, rather than the Second Coming of Christ, but even then, the experience left something to be desired.

Make no mistake; it’s a good car. We need cars like this, badly. It really is light, nimble and engaging, it looks sharp and it’s priced accessibly. And yet, I couldn’t really connect with the car. I began to empathize with the reviewers who felt that the original Lexus LS400 was a well-made simulacrum of a European luxury sedan, but without the essential intangibles that make the car a superlative experience rather than just “good”.

Some people seem to think that I have a particular axe to grind with this car, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. My issue is that the breathless praise of the Toyobaru is harmful to the car itself. The Toyobaru has numerous flaws that keep it from being truly great, but there’s no honor in obscuring them. The engine is a dud, there are instances of embarrassing corner-cutting evident in places that most people don’t look and the dynamics of the car feel more digital than analog – something that may be unavoidable in this era, but it remains a sore spot as long as the MX-5, with its hydraulic steering, frenetic I4 engine and unassailable manual gearbox exists in its current form. Even Randy Pobst, in his recent Motor Trend comparo, felt that the twins lagged behind the MX-5 in subjective driving pleasure.

From that vantage point, comparing it to a Cayman is asinine. The Cayman is better in every single respect, period. It’s also exponentially more expensive, built to a much higher standard and therefore, should be better. Robinson’s insistence to the contrary is disingenuous, and no amount of “everyone has their own opinion” is going to convince me otherwise. It’s a blatant falsehood, like assertions that the Hyundai Equus is superior to the Lexus LS. Both are fine vehicles, but one is simply better than the other, and I can’t ignore it. Would I go and buy the Equus to save some money and get an almost-as-capable car? You bet. But I wouldn’t delude myself into thinking I bought a superior car. Instead I’d be satisfied with the value proposition and the anonymity, and leave it at that. Nobody is cross-shopping the Toyobaru and the Cayman the same way – the car is a stepping stone to Porsche ownership, one that’s been sorely missed in the market. Why pretend otherwise? I’m perfectly content with accepting the Toyobaru on that premise, with all the compromises it entails. But trying to portray it as a “giant killer” or whatever hyperbolic turn-of-phrase is en vogue right now will only induce eye-rolls and lead to unmet expectations. Lest we forget the Camaro and how opinions changed once the rose-tinted glasses came off  a year later.

Fanboyism always plays out the same way. Lacking any concrete or meaningful pursuits to identify with, people hitch their emotional and even spiritual well-being to manufactured brands and entities. They invest themselves in them with literally a religious fervor, and any attack on their chosen entity is taken as blasphemy. Movie critics are getting death threats over poor reviews of the newest Batman flick, and auto journalists are unwilling to give a sober analysis of this car, save for the lads at Evo magazine. Nonwithstanding all the insinuations about being blackballed, my experience has shown me that few journalists (but many readers) are willing to stand up and say “The Emperor has no clothes” when a car doesn’t live up to the hype.

The Toyobaru, at least, isn’t naked.

Postscript: I’ve seen comments on various forums alleging this review was bought and paid for – I promise you, dear reader, it’s not. This is the work of an overly enthusiastic journalist who is either using hyperbole as a literary crutch, or is so self-deluded that they have the gall to run this story without a hint of irony.

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129 Comments on “Toyobaru Hype: We’ve Hit Peak Bullshit...”


  • avatar

    I was wondering if Robinson was comparing the car to the new Porsche Cayman, with its less visceral character–then I remembered that there isn’t a new Cayman until next year.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      It’s been leaked that, next month, Robinson pits a Zonda F against a Toyota FJ Cruiser on a demanding autocross course, concluding that the FJ eeks out the veeeeery slightest but nonetheless surprising victory due to its more communicative chassis, better damped suspension and fade resistant brakes.

      Okay. That’s an insane thing to even imagine and I apologize.

      I harbor no hatorade for the Toybaru Twins, nor do I hold the Cayman in particularly high regard, but…

      …yes, Derek calls a spade as a spade.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Edited to add (could not beat the clock):

        I have yet to drive either Toybaru, but expect that they are fine vehicles, and I absolutely tip my hat to Toyota and Subaru for building a niche vehicle at a relatively affordable price point that emphasizes those things that make for a sports car (handling, rwd, weight distribution, low center of gravity, etc.).

        My reply above this one makes me sound like I’m coming off waaay too snide and dismissive of the Toyota or Subaru twins.

        And a big caveat: I’ve not driven either yet. If Robinson is correct, I will be the first one to eat crow when I do get that chance to drive either, and I will eat crow publicly.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    Uh-huh!

  • avatar
    Justin Berkowitz

    The engine isn’t a dud, DK. It just doesn’t have low-end torque. That’s a problem for secretary buyers but it’s part of the car’s intended image: It’s meant to be driven, beaten, revved, and manhandled. As you know, the engine was specially designed for this car and the most important aim was to keep the center of gravity low.

    This is the cheap rear-drive sports car that the “peach fuzzed Ayatollahs of the internet”—to borrow the phrase from Lawrence Ulrich—have issued fatwas demanding. If it was too refined, had ample low-end torque, too low of a redline, Toyota would be taking stick for compromising. Refinement and features would have made it more expensive and heavier, too.

    Toyota is damned if it does, damned if it doesn’t with this car. They are trying to appeal to people who are impossible to please and still got at least 90% of the way there. And the company is candid and aware that coupes have limited lifespans, that continual improvements will need to be made, that the FR-S interior is lackluster, and that the platform needs to be used for other things.

    • 0 avatar

      JB, Having driven a first-gen Miata for a few years, the engine is a bit of a letdown but hardly a dealbreaker. On the freeway, I found that even a 6-4 downshift felt weak, like the car was dragging an anchor behind itself. I almost wish they let it have the traditional boxer burble, which is unique to say the least.

      My main issue is with the endless evangelizing like the above article. It diminishes the highlights of the car by making it out to be something it’s not.

      Knowing the endless compromises, red-tape and bullshit that goes into the development of any car, it’s hard to criticize the efforts of engineers with a straight face. Holding this car, or any car, up to a standard of papal infallibility is even worse.

      • 0 avatar
        probert

        parking brake off?

      • 0 avatar
        Justin Berkowitz

        You’ve almost got a straw man there, because Wheels is Australian and, like the Brits, their magazines oversell every good new car.

        Considering the achievement in building this vehicle at all, and the challenges you allude to of approving, engineering, and manufacturing it—I’m assuming you’ve not worked at a car company, where you’d get an even more colorful view of the process—I think it deserves the praise it’s gotten.

        As for papal infallibility, just remember that Pope John Paul II—the vicar of Christ on Earth—said in 2007 that despite the infallibility of his predecessors, unbaptized infants may not go to limbo after all.

        • 0 avatar

          Almost, but not quite, because it’s if a respected automotive authority wants to peddle utter bullshit like this, then it’s fair comment to criticize it. I have never worked at a car company in my short time on this earth, but I hope to; the stories and hijinks I heard from my father, worked in the industry for most of my life, are what made me want to be here in the first place.

      • 0 avatar
        RGS920

        I am more inclined to believe Wheel’s review then your own opinion of the car. You stated in your first anti-hype rant that you drove a friend’s FR-S on some local roads for about 20 minutes and came away unimpressed. Have you had the time to actually give a thorough test of the car? I am looking forward to Jack’s review/shootout of the car.

        Also, is it really a suprise that the GT-86/FR-S is being touted as the better driver’s car than the base model Caymen? Toyota and Subaru stated that one of the bench marks for driving fun (obviously subjective) was the Caymen.

        You know that this week in Top Gear magazine Jeremy Clarkson is comparing the top 24 performance cars this year and the GT 86 is one of them. Are you going to have an aneurysm if Jeremy Clarkson declares the GT-86 the best of the lot?

      • 0 avatar
        TonyJZX

        Clarkson has already declared the winner and its a forgone conclusion.

        Let me say this first… I like TTAC and the writers are fine.

        Here’s the problem: Wheels is the premiere Australian magazine. Peter Robinson was probably reviewing cars while Derek was in school. In fact he was crashing Lamborghinis before many of the Jalopnik readership was born.

        In Australia, the 86 is about $33,000 out the door. The Cayman is probably $133,000. Let me put it like this… the average wage in Australia is double the 86 and half the Cayman’s RRP.

        If you were to ask me to dismiss the opinions of both Robinson and Clarkson with their respective backgrounds for a review that has not surfaced yet from Derek or Jack… there’s a problem and its not with Wheels or Top Gear.

        Unfortunately on this planet, background and experience matters.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “if a respected automotive authority wants to peddle utter bullshit like this, then it’s fair comment to criticize it.”

        Perhaps the author just really likes the car and disagrees with you.

        And to the extent that the Mustang is relevant here, let’s remember that it is not a factor in the Australian market. (I would assume that a Mustang would be a costly import, the cost of which would be increased by the need to convert it to RHD.)

      • 0 avatar
        tuffjuff

        @Pch101

        I think the point Derek is making is that while this is a good car, it’s not better than a car three times it’s price, and it’s obnoxious to suggest it is. It’s a good car, but it’s not the second coming of JC, so let’s not pretend it is.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “I think the point Derek is making is that while this is a good car, it’s not better than a car three times it’s price”

        I understand his point. My point is that we should allow for the possibility that the author of the Wheels article sincerely disagrees with him.

        We’re talking about subjective perceptions here. If Mr. Kreindler prefers chocolate ice cream and Mr. Robinson prefers tiramisu, that only proves that they have different tastes in desserts, not that one of them is inaccurate. In a pissing contest based strictly upon opinion, there is no absolute “right” or “wrong” answer.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “See where I’m going?”

        I have made the comments that I have because I see exactly where you’re going.

        So you disagree with Mr. Robinson. That’s fine (and admittedly, it does sound like he’s overselling it), but the only thing that you’re conclusively proving is that you disagree.

        I think that you’ve crossed the line between understanding that strongly held opinions are ultimately still just opinions, and in confusing your opinions as being equivalent to facts. Personally, I find the interior photos to be too garish to get past the rest of the car (I sincerely hope that it looks better in the flesh than it does in the photographs), but again, that’s just my opinion.

    • 0 avatar
      nrcote

      Justin B > The engine isn’t a dud, DK. It just doesn’t have low-end torque. That’s a problem for secretary buyers
      ———————————

      Drove a ’99 Civic SiR (the Canadian Si) from 1999 to 2004. 160 HP, no low-end torque. That engine was very nice, but still a dud. When you need to keep the revs at 5500 RPMs or more in town in case you need to pass a Corolla, that gets old very soon. Of course, that’s different if you get a Toyobaru in order to track it. How many Toyobaru buyers will track them? Not many, I guess. How many will crash them? Many more, I believe.

      • 0 avatar
        sexyhammer

        http://sexyhammer.wordpress.com/2012/07/22/the-benefits-of-working-at-a-track/

        i have seen 7 Scions and 2 Subarus. all but one was at the track I work at. not that my experience should be taken as an accurate sample of the total population of Toyobaru owners, but I found that interesting. I have been trolling the various forums that popped up around this car and it seems like a relatively large number of new owners bought this car to at least pull double duty and they have seen at least one track day.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    All I know about the car is what I’ve read on here. However, I can see the ultimate fanboy spouting “dude it’s as good as a Cayman some dude said so on the ‘net, a Porsche dude!” All the braggadocio will continue until he tries to keep up with a Cayman. This is supposed to be a light, fun, tossable car; why can’t people leave it at that?

    • 0 avatar
      probert

      That’s where every review I’ve read does leave it. Now we just have to wait for the Mustang owners to start posting.

      • 0 avatar
        TonyJZX

        people want validation of their opinions

        people want to hear about the little guy beating the giants

        magazines want provocative cover one liners

        online news organs wants the same provocative articles to drive clicks

        i’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that any article on the 86 is a hot drawcard right now, good or bad who cares… let’s get right on it before the buzz dies down in say 12-18 months

      • 0 avatar
        tuffjuff

        @TonyJZX

        I think part of it is that people want to (and *should*) be happy/comfortable/prideful/whateveryouwill about their $30,000 purchase.

        If you’re spending that kind of cash, you have to REALLY like something. You’re talking a good percentage of many people’s annual salary for an item that is for most purposes not at all necessary. You could just as easily get to work on a bicycle or a bus, but you WANT your $30,000 entry level sports car.

        I bought my Focus in a line of crazy good competition. I won’t sit here and tell you the Cruze is crap or the Elantra is stupid – they’re both really good cars. But personally I find my car to be better. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have bought it. I imagine the exact same argument takes place between FR-S and Mustang owners; the only different? They’re talking about equipment that costs 50% more money.

    • 0 avatar
      tekdemon

      To be fair, a decent driver in an 86 would probably be able to keep up fairly well with a base Cayman with your average Cayman driver. Most Porsche owners I know aren’t particularly good drivers at all. Obviously though, someone who actually drives their Cayman hard would kill a stock 86 but then again it’s also kinda silly to assume that all the 86’s out there are going to stay stock-if we go by it’s namesake I assume we’ll be seeing some insanely tuned out 86’s very shortly.

  • avatar
    George B

    Dereck, if you had a budget that allowed an extra $1000/car in parts on the Toyobaru, what would you change?

    I’m also be interested in input from engineers from the automotive industry. Could a larger displacement engine fit in this car? How much weight would hydraulic power steering add? Is there a better way to implement electric power steering that preserves road feel? Engineering involves compromises to hit spec. numbers and price targets.

    • 0 avatar

      I’d go to hydraulic steering, no question. I’m not sure if Toyota has an adequate powerplant for the car, the only one that springs to mind really is the V6 out of the IS250, which would add some more torque with similar horsepower – spare me the “it would mess up the balance” argument, because this is purely a thought exercise. Subaru has the Flat-6 engine…I like the boxer burble too, no need to try and make it sound like an I4.

      The chassis, brakes and seats are all fine. The clutch takeup is irritating, but I don’t know what the exact “fix” would be. Finishing up some of the ugly interior bits would probably eat into the rest of the budget. The unfinished trunklid, improving the dreadful knobs and buttons and steering wheel.

      • 0 avatar
        TonyJZX

        this car feels rushed

        the “DIC (driver information centre)” is a joke – cars 10 yrs ago provide more relevant driving information

        no steering wheel controls? really? a $15k Kia hatch has a more resolved dash

        however all this is easily fixed… come 2014/2015 with a refresh

        maybe it was their plan all along

      • 0 avatar
        Josh McCullough

        I dont get it. You want the car to have more torque, a slightly better interior, and a bigger engine–spare me the “it would mess up the balance” argument–and then you say that you’d take this car over a V6 Mustang, which is essentially what you’d end up with.

      • 0 avatar
        RGS920

        I will second you DK on the hydraulic steering. The FR-S is the first car I have owned with electric steering and everything feels muted. I can still get road feel through the wheel; but not the amount I am used to. On a car which is designed for “driving pleasurel” the electric steering is a let down. The only thing though is that if all new cars are going the electric steering route, is this a better electric steering then other systems? I am genuinly curious because I know you get the opportunity to drive a wide variety of cars.

      • 0 avatar
        Morea

        Why does at 2700 pound car riding on 205s need power steering at all?

      • 0 avatar
        Chicago Dude

        I thought the engine was developed specifically for this car. OK, no problem. Having the bore at 86mm and the stroke at 86mm sounds like a really dumb marketing gimmick. Why did they do that?!? Were those really the optimal measurements?

        They probably could have built an engine around 2.1 or 2.2 liters that fit in the same location with the same center of gravity with a 5-10% gain in power and torque and pretty close to the same fuel economy. It would be a better car and wouldn’t have cost any more to build.

      • 0 avatar
        sastexan

        @Derek – clutch pickup is a 10-15 minute fix; I’m planning to do it one weekend soon. The BRZ has insulated trunklid; should be able to get that part easily. The radio buttons are annoying but it works really well – the bluetooth connects immediately to my iphone (unlike our ’11 Odyssey which searches for 30 seconds and might or might not connect – it gets confused), bluetooth audio is easy to control, the HD FM sounds pretty darn good (yes, I listen to NPR in the mornings). I was all set to replace the head unit immediately but now I’m keeping it and maybe I’ll just do speakers at some point.

        @ TonyJZX – why would you need steering wheel controls when all the other controls are 12″ from your hands on the steering wheel? it isn’t like an SUV where you have half a mile to reach the climate control buttons. you can’t possibly be that lazy.

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        “Why does at 2700 pound car riding on 205s need power steering at all?”

        Because the facebook generation hasn’t put in one afternoon of actual physical labor in their entire pencil necked life.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        RGS, the Mazda RX-8 (yes, now officially not in production) has electric assisted steering, and as I came from a BMW 335i (that had great steering), I do declare the RX-8’s steering feel to be divine.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        @Morea,

        Touche!!!

      • 0 avatar
        bumpy ii

        “Having the bore at 86mm and the stroke at 86mm sounds like a really dumb marketing gimmick. Why did they do that?!? Were those really the optimal measurements?”

        One could make the case that they are. 86 x 86 mm yields an even-square 2-liter engine in four cylinders. Having the bore and stroke equal usually yields an engine with a good balance between the low-end torque of an undersquare engine (longer stroke) and the high rev-happiness of an oversquare engine (larger bore).

        The Toyobaru got cute with the torque curve to produce both an undersquare-type grunt at the low end, and an oversquare characteristic top end. This, however, left a BIG fricking hole in the middle of the torque curve between 3,000 and 5,000 rpm. The car has a nice squirt off the line, then falls on its face for a bit until it realizes its a sports car and wakes the eff up. This means you have to either putter around town at 2500 rpm, or drop down two gears to kick it upstairs and flog it. There’s nothing in between.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Just stick the damn motor from the WRX in it and call it a day for f*ck’s sake!!!

      (Offer a reasonably priced track pack emphasizing brakes and suspension with that WRX mill).

  • avatar
    grzydj

    Comparing this car to a Mustang is asinine. Writing another “article” about how you still don’t like the FR-S is also asinine.

    You’ve hit peak bullshit already.

    • 0 avatar

      Do me a favor, go count the number of times I said “I like this car”

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      A 305hp V6 Mustang with performance package is 25k, not asinine from a price point. Now you can drop another 3k on the Mustang so your dash lights turn to fushia or mauve.

    • 0 avatar
      nrcote

      grzydy > You’ve hit peak bullshit already.

      Indeed. Peter Robinson, of Wheels magazine, is way over the top. Huh? You mean Kreindler? Not a chance.

      Yes, you guessed it, I have a Mustang. A 2012 V6. Great car. Is is better than a Toyobaru? Don’t know. But since there’s so much hype about the Toyobaru, I would think so.

  • avatar
    stryker1

    “It’s also exponentially more expensive”

    if to the 1.1 power is exponential… Otherwise, good read.

  • avatar
    sastexan

    I put my money where my mouth is and bought an FR-S over a month ago. Although I thought Derek in the first article was over the top, I’ve actually come down to seeing his argument on some level. He says it is a “good” car – I think it is “great” for the value, and even ignoring price, “very good”. Below are my thoughts.

    This is a $25k-$30k car. It isn’t the resurrection. Many compromises were made. Life is about compromise – you just have to decide WHAT you want to compromise. This car fits what I was looking for and does it well.

    I disagree with Derek’s criticism of the steering and engine – I think the steering is wonderfully accurate and communicative, and the engine does its job well, although different than I’m used to – it likes a good wringing (which I’ve only been doing for 2 days since I just hit 1000 miles break in period). The engine is very mechanical sounding – I’d like a little more exhaust boxer sound too – but that will be easy to change with the tuner market on board. The gearbox is excellent – not the best in the world, but pretty high up there. The clutch pickup is weird – many owners are doing a mod where the pedal is adjusted so the clutch engages a little lower and feels more natural. The tires, although communicative and predictable, lack a lot of grip – I will surely change that out.

    I cannot compare it to a Cayman as I haven’t driven one, but I did back-to-back my car with a friend’s track-prepped NC Miata earlier this week. The Miata is a blast – no question about it – but that engine takes a lot of energy to get it moving. The Miata is rougher, bouncier (even with a full roll bar installed), slower (although in corners probably similar). Steering and transmission are different but same category as each other. I doubt a lot of cross shopping between the two regardless.

    I’m looking forward to my first HPDE day out at Summit Point – aiming for October. And I, too, look forward to Jack’s track review.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Getting married this weekend, a few of the groomsmen and bridesmaids are former students who my soon to be wife and I made friends with over the years. They were middle schoolers then and almost graduated now. The boys in that age group are excited about this car (but then I was excited about IROC-Zs when I was that age).

    I fell for hype in those days today I get sick of the overhype whether it is the 5 years of orgasmic bliss leading up to the bunker Chevy calls a Camaro or the Toyobaru.

  • avatar
    SpacemanSpiff

    Since I can’t fit in a Miata, as long as I fit in the Toyobaru and it is at least almost as good as a Miata, I’ll be happy. I can’t afford a Cayman, couldn’t afford to keep a 944 running as a daily driver and don’t fit in a Miata. From my standpoint, until Nissan builds a new 240 or something, this thing has changed the world.

    • 0 avatar
      TonyJZX

      yep pretty simple, toyota has built the better mousetrap

      until someone builds a better one (I’m looking at Nissan here), this is it

      there’s been an explosion of online fan sites/boards and i think its inevitable Nissan and maybe Mazda will counter but right now, this is as good as it gets for the money

      mustangs and porsches aren’t a part of the equation for many people in the world so any comparison good or bad, for me, goes straight into the recycle bin

  • avatar
    Ion

    I’ve noticed no comparos with this and the genesis and im starting to wonder why. MT compared the BRZ to the v6 stang but it seems to me like the hyundai is more likely to be cross shoped than the mustang

    • 0 avatar
      TonyJZX

      http://www.roadandtrack.com/tests/comparison/mazda-mx-5-miata-vs-subaru-brz-vs-hyundai-genesis-coupe

      3,500lb on the genesis

    • 0 avatar
      sastexan

      I drove a 1.8T genesis. Much bulkier car (physically, handling, etc.) and the turbo lag is ATROCIOUS on the street. I’d get into the throttle, turbo comes on, back breaks loose, traction control shuts everything down (very invasive), keep the go pedal down, wait 2 seconds for turbo to spool back up, and launch back away.

      It is fast – if you can keep the turbo spooled up. But it is ponderous and heavy feeling. Much closer feel to a mustang.

      That’s not a criticism – I’d love a Boss – but a little bit of night and day, despite price and target market similarities to the FRS/BRZ.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    One of the joys of a site like TTAC is that the writers can be like proverbial snowflakes.

    We may have some similar enthusiast orientations. But the breadth of our interests and opinions at TTAC is as different as Mercury is from Pluto. For every race car driver and classic car aficionado, there is a frugalist and family man who enjoys cars every bit as much… just in a different way.

    I spent a week with the FR-S and I’m probably smack dab in the middle ground when it comes to this whole debate.

    To me, the more interesting question is Scion. But I’ll leave that discussion for another time.

    Good to see you here Justin. All the best!

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    crunch crunch crunch crunch

    Good popcorn

    crunch crunch crunch crunch

    Man, the Toyota fans are UPSET today.

    crunch crunch crunch crunch

    Shame on you Derek, you don’t bow at the altar of Toyota, errrr Scion, err FT-86, FR-S – well you know.

    Back to my popcorn.

    • 0 avatar
      nrcote

      LOL

      +1

    • 0 avatar
      Geekcarlover

      Find a way to tie in GM. Really watch the fur fly.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        crunch crunch crunch

        Huh? What.

        crunch crunch crunch

        You mean bring up a point like the Camaro outsells it 3:1 with no cash on the hood

        crunch crunch crunch

        Or when the Camaro was launched it didn’t have problems like failed engine sensors, Christmas tree dashboards and water in the taillights

        crunch crunch crunch

        Or how GM had parts, their techs trained and prepared to service the vehicles

        crunch crunch crunch

        Or how they both have cost cut interiors with the charm of a plastic cooler

        crunch crunch crunch

        And despite the fact the Camaro sucks it had a far better product launch

        crunch crunch crunch

        Or say something like how the FR-S launch was right of the GM playbook for Toyota. Take a product they clearly cut corners on, don’t brand it logically but instead put it in a zombie and failed North American division in a sad attempt to prop it up.

        crunch crunch crunch

        Nah, I wouldn’t want to do that.

        crunch crunch crunch

        Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm…mmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Good popcorn.

      • 0 avatar
        tekdemon

        Baiting aside, I recall the Camaro launch fairly well and mostly remember the spoiler screw issues at launch where you’d end up with the nuts rattling around inside of the trunk lid and the spoiler falling off.
        I thought the 86 had a nice interior actually.

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    I had no idea bout the EPS….that is a huge disappointment in what was supposed to be a drivers car. To me though, the engine is the weak point. I admit up front to being a bit of a 4 cylinder hater at times (certainly when compared to a good 6 cylinder), and one area where the e30 BMW 325is will always have this beat hands down is in the motor department. That being said, I wonder how much this car is like the RX-8, where the engine, while being the weak point on the car, also was an integral part of the design and therefore performance and feel. If you put a bigger, heavier, less compact, but torquier, more powerful, and (in the case of the Toyobaru) more sonorous engine in, do you mess up the packaging, weight distribution, short wheelbase, and overall curbweight you were trying to target to begin with? I know the boxer 4 was favored because of its ability to be mounted low in the chassis and also its compact design (I want to imagine that two more cylinders to go for a flat 6 couldn’t have been that hard to fit though…)

    • 0 avatar
      duffman13

      Driver’s cars have been using EPS for the past decade. It all depends on execution. The S2000 had EPS for it’s entire model run, does that make it any less a driver’s car?

    • 0 avatar
      Georgewilliamherbert

      I have yet to climb inside the 86, but am hoping to this weekend. I own two RX-8s (ok, I own one, my wife owns one, and reminds me often she got hers first…), and I do a little bit of engineering design and packaging design on the side.

      The RX-8 was focused on front-rear weight balance, and the entire engine block being behind the front axle line was the point. I don’t know where the line is on the FT-86 cars, but they achieved roughly the same F/R balance.

      FT-86 was also focused on CG height, which reduces body roll issues. I don’t know of a measurement of the RX-8 vertical CG height, but it also is very good in roll (C&D’s best handling cars test instrumented results, my own hands-on uninstrumented impression, etc).

      My overall impression is that there was a mass / packaging / balance tradeoff involved. I could easily put a larger engine in the RX-8’s nose compartment without changing the frame or suspension up there. There’s space. What there isn’t is a way to rebalance the mass, unless I go to putting in a transaxle rather than conventional front-mount transmission. Any conventional four cylinder engine will add say for argument 50% to the engine weight. You might keep engine block behind the RX-8 front axle line with a flat-four and the grace of god (and highly creative exhaust packaging…), but not with an inline-4. There’s not enough other mass to work with (battery in the trunk, etc) to make a difference. Moving the wheelbase around relative to the body is a whole new chassis design.

      What I can see from a distance of the FT-86 cars, I think they had the same problem.

      The industry is suffering from not having a mass-production sports car power range off the shelf transaxle. But nobody’s going to rush to make one of those unless it seems like a mass market car might come along to use it.

      One might conceivably rear-mount a front-mount intended transmission, just build it an adapter housing and run the back straight onto a separate differential. But that’s getting pretty klugey.

      A car manufacturer could front the development cost to a transmission maker and just get it done anyways, but it seems like they generally don’t do that type of business relationship from what I can see (from the outside).

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        For what it is worth, Porsche used Audi 5000 transaxles in their 924. There are still FWD versions of the A4 in Europe, and the transmissions used should still be suitable for a front engine, rear transaxle application.

      • 0 avatar
        Georgewilliamherbert

        CJ –

        The Audi 01J CVT (which I think is what you’re referring to… see http://europeantransmissionscom.x-shops.com/shop/product.php?productid=16316&cat=411&page=1 ) probably won’t work.

        As you can see from that photo, its power input comes in above the axle line. I still haven’t been inside the 86 (darn it to heck) but from the photos and component heights / center of gravity it’s pretty obvious that the driveshaft has to be pretty low in the car. You might be able to put in an adapter gear at the rear to bring the power up to the transmission input, but the transmission looks to be most of a foot tall, which probably exceeds the space in the FT86 body. One can always change the stampings and move whatever else is under there (or make a bump into the fuel tank, which I bet is what’s there), but it’s not trivial. As a new-design option might have worked a bit better.

        And it’s a CVT. Purists would yack flaming poop at the idea…

        The “right” choice is a new build low profile transaxle, in a car designed from the beginning for it, not Frankenstein’s Rear Transmission ;-)

  • avatar
    quiksilver180

    I’ve debated about buying this car for awhile, but I have yet to drive it (I’m going to hold out for a more powerful version, or just a different car)… but I agree that almost everything I read about this car that it’s on cloud nine, almost too unrealistic.

    But playing devil’s advocate, look at it this way… at least Toyota and Subaru are pursuing to build a great driving car that’s affordable and it’s getting a ton of coverage, while sales so far have been exceeding expectations. Then you get other car manufacturers to follow suit and focus on the driving experience instead of creating dull cars. I remember reading (possibly here on TTAC) that people’s interests in cars have been on the decline and car manufacturers focusing mostly on creating appliances to get people places. And if that’s the case, I’ll take it.

  • avatar
    marc

    The Toyota won, and automotive “enthusiasts” hate when Toyota wins, especially at the expense of something sacred like Porsche. Well with the Cayman’s lousy interior, and the many good attributes of the Toyota, I’m not surprised, because apprently the authors of that piece believed a mere one second 0-60 advantage was just not worth an extra $80,000. I’m gonna have to agree with them. At least until the next Cayman arrives.

    Bigger issue is that TTAC has spent an awful lot of column inches excoriating other blogs and print mags lately, and people are starting to take you to task for it. Something to consider.

    • 0 avatar
      KalapanaBlack

      “Bigger issue is that TTAC has spent an awful lot of column inches excoriating other blogs and print mags lately, and people are starting to take you to task for it. Something to consider.”

      Glad I’m not the only one that’s getting a bit tired of that. TTAC used to criticize the auto industry. Now they just criticize the automotive journalism industry (with some exceptions), and it seems to me that they’re doing so in a rather hypocritical and juvenile fashion.

      But don’t you dare say anything critical of TTAC, because you will be in Banville, Population 1, before the next Ford Fusion ad even loads.

      I realize this is off-topic, but the post that started this thread is rather pointless and over-critical, too…

      • 0 avatar

        The fact that this post is here is the strongest evidence otherwise.

      • 0 avatar
        Ben

        +1, another reader getting tired of this. In this case TTAC picked on the wrong journalist. As has been pointed out by others on here, Peter Robinson is arguably Australia’s most respected motoring journalist. His review is for the Australian market, where an 86 costs $33,000 drive away, and the Cayman costs $100,000 more. There is no V6 Mustang in Australia, and the private imports with a RHD conversion cost around Cayman money. For $33,000 (that’s $8000 less than the cheapest MX-5) this car will inevitably change the enthusiasts’ car market in Australia, you could almost call it a game changer.

        DK, the zenith you refer to occurred over 6 weeks ago when WHEELS released Robinson’s article. I support TTAC’s goal to keep the entire industry accountable, however in this case you’ve subjected “Robbo” to some unwarranted friendly fire.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        I, for one, am glad TTAC rips into auto-journo puffery, whackery/quackery, and that TTAC “excoriates other blogs and print mags.”

        For if TTAC did not, who would?

        Never mind if any particular writer at TTAC is objectively right or wrong (if such a thing can even be determined when it comes to anything related to opining on the virtues or vices of automobiles- I’m not talking Car&Driver stat sheets or Consumer Report reliability indices) with respect to any particular review.

        At least there’s a publication that’s not too timid to slay sacred cows and doesn’t pretend to give critical analyses and reviews without full disclosure of the perks and privileges provided by the very manufacturers of the vehicles being reviewed.

        I just love me some auto reviews where the reviewer gets a first class plane ticket to Pebble Beach, gets put up for the weekend at a 5 star hotel, gets a complimentary 18 holes along with a couple of days of driving scenic back roads, all gratis, and is then departing on that return airplane with a bag full of swag.

        Not.

        Let’s face it: The truth is that most of automotive ‘journalism,’ just like the rest of whore-dom journalism, has been corrupted by dolla dolla bill, y’all, and the usual suspect car rags are proxy mouthpieces of the manufacturers themselves.

        You stay classy, driving gloves clad captains of Motor Trend/Car&Driver/Road&Track.

  • avatar
    wmba

    Well said, Derek.

    Like you, I was prepared to buy an FR-S on the spot, having read everything on the car since last fall.

    I already own a Subaru, have owned two more previously. I know what a Subaru boxer sounds like, feels like, etc. Except, of course not a new DI boxer, and I think that’s what did it in for me.

    When I started to drive it, I couldn’t believe the cacophonous mechanical noise, and by the time I hit third, I already knew that this noisebox wasn’t going to be my next car. It sounded like marbles in a colander at lower speeds, at higher rpm, it had a hint of VW Beetle. And loud with it for little forward thrust. Yuck.

    I couldn’t tell you if the steering was any good, or the brakes for that matter. They were unremarkable and hence acceptable. All I spent time doing was trying to learn the clutch engagement, from a standing start and a decent one-two shift. It ain’t easy, and it should be.

    So, I guess if you beat the bejasus out of it the engine may be OK. Which makes daily driving an effort with little reward. I misread the message from Toyota. To me this is a cheap, noisy little car with few redeeming features.

    Annoying. Now what do I get? New tires for the beast, I guess.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    The problem isn’t under the hood. It’s the restrictive 4.11 ring & pinion in the rear end. Have your favorite tranny shop put some 4.56s (or higher numerically) in it and it’ll feel like you left 1000 lbs on the bench.

    It’ll remain stock and smog compliant, but axle ratio is the last thing the tuner crowd thinks of because FWD and AWD ring & pinions are incased inside the trans, but ask any hot rodder and we’ll tell ya.

    Fart cans can actually reduce output depending on what other mods were done or not done.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    Are there really many car reviews that don’t read like this? I’m dumping my Road & Track subscription because I can’t stand being exposed to their shameless ad copy. Page 43 of the August issue has two Nissan reviews by two different editors. Sam Mitani’s ‘Drive’ of the new Altima is positively embarrassing. Words like best, elegant, stately, premium, and luxury lead up to noting that the seats were engineered using the same principles NASA used in designing the space shuttle’s seats. I guess that means they’re made to fit people. Also on the page is Tom Wilson’s Infiniti JX review. While he managed to find a single area in which the JX was acceptable rather than exciting, he too invoked NASA to describe the wonder that is a new CUV. This time it was the electronics. Is it possible that two editors writing about two different cars independently included NASA references, or was this garbage written by one Nissan publicist who ran out of ideas?

    • 0 avatar
      Kevin Jaeger

      Agree. Most car reviews read like regurgitated ad copy.

      This type of enthusiasm for an affordable RWD sports coupe is unseemly, and should be reserved for when an automaker unveils a true game-changer that blows the competition out of the water.

      • 0 avatar
        Ben

        The article was written for the Australian market, where the 86 retails for $33,000. For comparison you’d need another $8000 for a base MX-5, or another $100,000 for a Cayman.

        Yes, cars are damn expensive in Australia compared to the USA. However you need to understand that context to understand why the 86 is such a game changer.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Who cares how much this car costs in Australia?

        Is it any good, irrespective of price point, at its intended mission, is the crux of the matter, no?

  • avatar
    gonzojunkie

    Are you fucking kidding me? My step-dad’s late-80s Celica was more fun to drive than this.

  • avatar
    Oren Weizman

    I think that what’s difficult for some of us to get Derek is why you’ve decided to go on a jihad with this car. I’ve driven it and have a neighbour with one and without a doubt it’s an unbelievable drive and tremendous fun.

    I actually didn’t connect with it because I find the premise of all cars like the Toyobaru idiotic, but thats a subject for another day and involved a lease on aV6 RAV4 Sport (without the wheel on the back) and my ability to ‘bricoler’ a beautiful e36 M3

    But the tone of some of your articles (like the one on the Passat) and you putting the picture of a Lexus GS on your ‘ On Press Trips And The Associated BS ‘ makes me think you’re not the most Toyota friendly person in the universe.

    Maybe you need to eat more Tofu like Jack ! Haha !

    • 0 avatar

      I want to state for the record that I have no brand bias for one simple reason; I don’t care enough. It’s as silly as cheering on a sports team or some other arbitrary tribal association. When you root for a “brand”, the marketers have won.

      My jihad, again, for the 3000th time, isn’t against the car. Notice I said I was ready to go and buy one. I call it like I see it.

      Dissenting opinions – as long as they’re well written – are always welcome, especially if you send them to editors@ttac.com with a view to us publishing them.

      • 0 avatar
        Zombo

        You don’t like sports teams , what are you Canadian ? LOL ! I don’t care for this car either dues to it’s just under 30K price tag (all the examples I’ve seen so far – not worth it) it’s generic looks , people not car guys would not even recognize something that looks like a cross between the last generation Celica and 370Z as something new and different . Never liked the Subaru boxer engine either . I wouldn’t rule it out as a used car buy years down the road if it proves reliable , but right now would rather have a lightly used RSX Type S with an LSD , rear wheel drive be damned !

      • 0 avatar
        BugBehr

        It very much sounds like you’re only stating that you like the car in order to somehow validate your other opinions. Bash the car, and then say “but I actually like it!” TTAC’s gone downhill – the discussion of over-hyping is understandable, and I quite support the criticism of large auto mags, but it seems that half the time, Derek, you’re just complaining for the sake of complaining. In that way, this is in fact like a teenager’s livejournal.

  • avatar
    joe_thousandaire

    Toyota has a perfectly good 3.5l V6 sitting around that could easily be tuned up to 300hp. Subaru has a 305hp boxer. Why did they put a lawnmower engine in this car?

    • 0 avatar
      Kevin Jaeger

      I think it’s pretty clear those options involve significant trade-offs involving cost and weight.

      Besides, the Nissan Z, Hyundai Genesis Coupe and Mustangs already have that market segment pretty well covered.

    • 0 avatar
      tekdemon

      It has the lowest center of gravity of any car under 90 grand so that’d be a starter.

  • avatar
    BTEFan

    I am surprised that they didn’t do a comparison between the Toyota 86 and a Ford Falcon or Holden Commodore. I get copies of wheels from friends that go to Australia and just about every issue has an article on some iteration of each model.

  • avatar
    Detroit-X

    So is this Breakaru the successor to the 280Z’s slogan: “Own The Road?”

    If I retype the headline to this story would my comment be “awaiting moderation?”

  • avatar
    MR2turbo4evr

    Where does Robinson get off liking an inferior Toyota product? He obviously doesn’t know anything about cars, otherwise he’d know that the only cars worth liking are air cooled porsches, the odd BMW, panthers and anything hyundai or kia makes…..
    /sarcasm

  • avatar
    FromaBuick6

    Two rants about nothing while not actually reviewing the car. This is the sort of crap I expect from Jalopnik.

    Your vague comments about how the driving experience left you cold compared to your old Miata place you alongside the E30 BMW nerds in the hair shirt brigade. You wish it had hydraulic steering? Come on.

    I’m sorry that you’re so tragically hip that hype has ruined the car for you. You sound like one of those hipsters that stopped liking the Black Keys when they started getting radio airplay.

    • 0 avatar
      chicagoland

      I agree, Jalopnik is site for crazed fanbois!

    • 0 avatar
      colganc

      Jalopnik? Sure, with them posting “Why You Don’t Post Your Picture Of Mila Kunis In Your High School Yearbook To An Internet Forum”. This post isn’t anything near Jalopnik.

      The car hipsters I’ve talked to fawn over the cars and the hype. The BRZ/FRS are the New Kids on the Block and Derek is writing for Rolling Stone. “They sound good for a pop group and I like listening to pop, but if they don’t put more substance in their music they’re going to disappear after their fifteen minutes of fame are up.”

    • 0 avatar
      spaceywilly

      Bingo. Top Gear Magazine just chose the GT86 as the winner of their “speed week.” Are we going to get an equally huge and pointless rant about that? Lots of whining about hype and not many substantial complaints, is this a car blog or a teenager’s livejournal? This looks bad for ttac, especially when stacked up against the droves of respected reviewers who are heaping praise on this car. Time to admit you’re wrong, ttac, and go take a BRZ on a long trip and think about why that is.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Since when is Top Gear Magazine itself or anyone who writes for it considered to be a “respected reviewer,” and by whose standards?

        Top Gear Magazine?

        O Rly?

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Did I miss TTAC’s review of the Scion FR-S or Subaru BRZ? I could swear that at one point we were expecting Jack Baruth to review one of them, but I can’t recall any actual informative articles about the car since Alex Dykes’ pre-production review.

      • 0 avatar
        FromaBuick6

        Right. We were promised videos and Baruth in another ridiculous jacket. That was nearly a month ago.

      • 0 avatar
        TonyJZX

        this article does have a place

        i have no problems with people criticising paper magazines… god knows Wheels and Top Gear and Clarkson deserve a bashing

        like most print media their heyday is long gone

        however the timing is wrong

        give us a the 86 review by Alex, Jack and Derek telling us exactly where it falls down THEN rant at the world

        like most of the TTAC audience I like the manual models but the world is against us… you’ll find most are well optioned automatics being sold which would tell you a VAST number of the 86 audience does not care for ultimate driving dynamics and that no one cares about comparos to Euro exotics… the 86 is unfortunately the right car for the moment and people making Toyota rich… Akio and Tada were right and everyone else is wrong

  • avatar
    Brendan McAleer

    Well, I have one starting Monday, and I’m still somewhat hopeful.

  • avatar
    DaveL

    For the price I would agree that its a good car, at least to how it appears and what I’ve seen on it. I still cant believe somebody actually compared this car to a Porche Cayman. You dont have to be a car expert or enthusiast to know that a car priced at price A is not better than a car built to a higher degree of quality for Price DD :) How could anyone even pretend to make that argument ha

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      I don’t agree that a less expensive car, even a far less expensive car, can’t be better than a far more expensive one.

      I am tired, or I would list at least 3 examples (I know I can come up with at least three).

      Although I agree that it’s remarkable that anyone could or would claim that the car in question is better than the Cayman, it has less to do with price than with the motor, chassis and suspension involved.

  • avatar
    colganc

    I disagree. The hype will help the car. Most people looking to buy the FRS/BRZ and read these articles are unlikely to have to have enough car ownership experience to put their qualities into perspective.

    I was in the market for the FRS/BRZ, but once the final pricing was announced I switched to finding a low mileage, great condition, CPO Cayman. I succeeded and I am now a happy Cayman owner.

    I am sure the FRS/BRZ is a great car, but from a fun to drive perspective the omission of a transaxle is huge. If the price was lower or if I could have gotten a bit more “mechanicals” for the price, I very likely would have ended up with a FRS/BRZ.

    As to the article you are referring to comparing the FRS/BRZ to a Cayman has left me dumbfounded and even more so after reading many of the comments here. The two cars don’t really compare unless the Cayman is a few years old CPO. On the performance side when you compare them, they don’t compare. The Cayman COG is similarly low, but it also has a massive F/R balance advantage. The F/R balance on the Cayman can help with breaking stability, traction out of a corner, and initial turn in. The wheelbase is also shorter on the Cayman bad for very high speeds, but better for handling.

    The engine performance is also worlds apart and I don’t think anyone disagrees. Another advantage to me, that the Cayman has over the FRS/BRZ on the engine front is the noise. Not exhaust noise. Exhaust noise is very overrated. The noises that come from the engine riding behind you are wonderful. It makes me wonder how incredible a Ferrari or Lamborghini sound from in the cabin.

    Short of it: the hype for the FRS/BRZ is good for the cars and they cannot compete with the Cayman’s driving experience.

  • avatar
    tayu

    More and more, I am just not understanding it.

    Are you auto journalists paying attention? When was the last time you talked to someone under 25??

    Aren’t you guys seeing the writing on the wall?

    Our passion–cars, and driving them–is becoming extinct.

    “From that vantage point, comparing it to a Cayman is asinine. The Cayman is better in every single respect, period. It’s also exponentially more expensive, built to a much higher standard and therefore, should be better.”

    This is the quote that most strikes a chord. This next/current generation of car buyers–the children of the latter half of the baby-boomers–is growing up in a financial and social period of contraction. A significant number of them will not make enough money to own any Porsche–Cayman or otherwise.

    Even more importantly: the vast majority of young people have little-to-no interest in owning–or even ever driving–a Porsche in the first place.

    Car enthusiasts are a dying breed.

    I’m sure the FR-S/BRZ is full of compromises. I am positive the Cayman is better in every respect.

    But, from what I have read, the FR-S/BRZ to be a combination of performance, fun, weight, power, cost, practicality and accessibility that has not been produced by a major carmaker, with nearly so much fanfare, in quite a long time.

    If this gets young people fired up about cars *AT ALL*, then I would consider it a serious victory.

    Owning a car is not what it used to be. Nearly anywhere you go in the US, gas is DOUBLE what it was ten years ago.

    If you’re a teenage guy, you’re looking at a couple thousand dollars a year for decent insurance.

    These days, a car’s value proposition is often an integral part of it’s inherent ‘goodness.’

    I’d argue the reason there’s so much press full of breathless superlatives about these little cars is because people are excited about them. Why don’t you just embrace it?

    To reiterate one last time:
    The people ten years younger than us, who the industry is already beginning to cater to, likes the idea of cars that drive themselves.

    They want cars…that you don’t drive.

    Let’s enjoy it while we can, people…amirite?

    • 0 avatar
      Georgewilliamherbert

      Tayu writes in part:
      I’m sure the FR-S/BRZ is full of compromises. I am positive the Cayman is better in every respect.

      Ah, following up on this and my earlier note…

      One of the mass market compromises is tires.

      FT-86 models have 17×7 wheels all around off the shelf. This has two effects: one, pushes to 50:50 (or close) balance for optimal handling, and two, allows you to do front-rear tire rotation patterns, which do matter somewhat for tire wear for mass market drivers.

      Cayman base model has 17×7 front 17.8.5 rear, so you can only right/left flip the tires to rotate, but that allows the car to have uneven weight distribution with rearwards bias of 45/55 (nominal, depending on whose numbers you believe).

      You see plenty of road cars which have different tires F/R, but for daily drivers it starts to make a difference over time.

      One of those cost tradeoffs…

    • 0 avatar

      I’m 23 years old. Check out the “Generation Why” columns for an exhaustive look at the generation that doesn’t care about cars…that are affordable.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Never ceases to amaze me how the same cast of characters complain, whine, gnash their teeth, and moan about how bad TTAC is and yet they come back here and post day after day after day.

    TTAC’s advertisers and the people selling their ad space thank you.

  • avatar
    smallenginesmakemesad

    I have not driven an 86 or a Cayman (although I have driven a Corolla and a 911 and I know which one I preferred) so I don’t have a personal opinion on which of these is better, but I would just like to put in my 2 cents that I have the greatest respect for Peter Robinson as a motoring journalist.

    I have been reading his work for three decades and he really does know what he is talking about. His opinions have swayed my decision as to whether or not I should buy a particular car on more than one occasion.

    He is very well known and respected in Australia and I would take seriously anything he said. I read that article when it came out and actually considered visiting a Toyota dealer for the first time ever because I thought – “No, it can’t be that good – I must see for myself”.

    Then I decided that it would have the same problem that most Japanese cars have for the “ample gentleman” and stuck with my Mercedes.

    I’ll probably sit in one at the next Motor Show.

  • avatar
    FJ60LandCruiser

    It’s a fun, cheap car.

    It’s also a loud car, a car hastily assembled like my wife’s WRX with buzzing interior bits and cheap panels. It handles well, better than the current Miata, but not dialed in like the previous generation.

    It’s down on power by about 100 horses and 80 pounds of torque, so when you actually learn to drive it right around a track, you will be searching for more punch like a junkie.

    Most dealers are gouging these for 28-33 grand. You can get last year’s WRX for less than that, and for 33 grand you can still find the few STi’s that remain unsold.

    I drove the wife’s WRX to the Toyota dealer to test drive the FR-S, so that I could get the true back-to-back experience of a test drive. The 86 is lighter than the WRX, and changes direction more nimbly, but that’s about all the pluses. The WRX will devour it on a track, outrun it at a light, carry a 42” TV and wall bracket, and won’t shut down in rain and snow.

    When the turbo kicks in, you realize what the 86 is missing. It may be a “pure” sports car, but so what? I own a family wagon that is more fun to drive on and off the track, is more practical, and costs less.

    • 0 avatar
      rwb

      All Scion dealerships I’ve checked are holding firm to to the $24930 MSRP with no markup: “Pure Pricing” they call it. Not sure why you’re seeing anything more than that at a legitimate Scion dealer.

      • 0 avatar
        Volt 230

        I had to drive 1 1/2 hours to another county to get mine cause all the dealers around me, wanted MSRP plus $2k to $4k over, take it or leave it, so I left it.

    • 0 avatar
      tekdemon

      Most scion dealers sell at MSRP and you even qualify for the $1000 recent graduate incentive if you finance via Toyota…only the BRZ gets markups and even those are rarer now that people can just go to a Scion dealership.
      Only a moron would pay 28K for one.

  • avatar
    Trend-Shifter

    I suspect that Toyota picked the power and torque curve to keep the car planted on curves while under acceleration.
    They need to protect un-experienced drivers from themselves. Toyota don’t need any bad press saying they spin out at a dime.

    Then later they can offer low volume special editions to remedy the low power issue while maintaining their reputation. If the limited verion of the high power version can spin out under power then you can blame the driver. They also can get the higher price point.

  • avatar
    Scott_314

    The hard part for some people, maybe Derek Kreindler, to realize is that we’re not as stupid now we were a few years ago. No one is going to buy a car based on that article and risk disappointment.

    We don`t sit around comparing IROC vs 5.0 track times or horsepower. In fact pull out any single metric, and even your 12-year old kid will say `so what`.

    We`re smart enough now to recognize and evaluate based on the OVERALL PACKAGE. That includes price, financing, insurance, fuel economy, handling, acceleration, power, comfort at highway speeds, comfort around town, comfort for passengers, practicality, trunk size, materials, reliability, style, looks, image, ease of repairs, cost of maintenance, and whatever else we can find in our research.

    And Toyobaru have assembled a very compelling overall package. Sort of how Apple does. No, they are not for everyone, but denying that the package is compelling will draw the internet`s ire.

  • avatar
    itsnotagsr

    I’ll go aganist the trend here and add my own feelings on “Australia’s finest auto media”. The reality is the both Wheels and Motor magazines are quickly becoming irrelevant. Australia used to be a closed shop in many ways, from car importers to motoring journalists. I say this because I actually know a few of them. They are not that good. Defintitely not world class. Some just think they are. This article is simply a means to get people to buy the magazine. A former editor of Motor once told me that any magazine with a WRX on the cover sold twice as many copies as any other car. No doubt the flavour of the month (Toybaru) is the same.

    I share DK’s thoughts on this car. Australia is such a small market, we don’t get many of the Toybaru’s natural competitors. Toyota (to their credit) have priced this car very cheaply. It has even caught Subaru flat footed! Had this car been priced at AUD$40k, as many expected, there would not be the same hype.

    The Toybaru needs to be seen for what it is. A marketing exercise. You had two manufacturers who were losing bulk marketshare amongst GenY/X car buyers. They needed something to give their brands a spark before their target market bought Camrys, or didn’t buy a car at all. This is seen by the many comments of their new President Mr. A. Toyoda.

    Personally, I think this car has got so much press (particularly in Australia) because we have forgotten what choice we used to have. There were precious few options for fun cars. Hence in a market where you have only 1-2 options, its not hard for the Toybaru to be a leader. Lets not forget what choices people had in the 90s/early 2000s from Toyota, Nissan and Honda. Names like the Integra Type-R, Nissan 200SX, etc. These were all better (and yes more expensive) cars than the Toybaru. However, to most owners, there was marginal difference in Australia between leasing a $30k and $40k car. If the Toyabaru had been the new 200SX or WRX (ie real game changers), then perhaps some of the hype would be justified. To me, its just a cheap coupe. Nothing more.

    • 0 avatar
      smallenginesmakemesad

      “A former editor of Motor once told me that any magazine with a WRX on the cover sold twice as many copies as any other car.”

      I bet I know who that was. I remember when Motor turned into some sort of WRX club periodical – except with worse photography. I stopped my subscription then and have not gone back.

  • avatar
    sexyhammer

    I will agree with Derek on the point he makes concerning the hype and the harm it is doing to the car’s image. I have been following the development of this car since it’s earliest rumors were first whispered. It is absolutely mind-blowing how much credit Toyota has given itself as the idea matured into reality.

    Derek’s point, if I am understanding it correctly, is that the self-aggrandizing from Toyota and the blinders the fanboys and reviewers seem to be wearing is going to obscure the flaws and prevent them from being properly analyzed and corrected as time goes by.

    Obviously the Toyobaru is a step in the right direction, but should they just stop where they are and call it “good enough?” With a baseline like this, we can only HOPE that optional packages and revisions come along to address the obvious compromises that it embodies.

    • 0 avatar

      Right on the money, sir.

    • 0 avatar
      itsnotagsr

      Agree with your comments, but I can’t help thinking that Toybaru are getting the praise because (at least in the Australian market) there are no other real competitors. Only when other manufacturers launch “fun” cars at reasonable prices, will the Toybaru be judged against its peers. Judging it against other cars at higher price points places too much emphasis on its “value” rather than the car’s more meaningful characteristics.

  • avatar
    outback_ute

    I think you have made a mountain out of a mole hill here Derek – the key conclusion included the phrase “in this comparison”, ie fun-to-drive on a winding mountain road, not that it is a better all-around car. It was clearly stated that the Cayman was faster, had better road-holding, sounds better, etc, however the more accessible limits on the Toyota were clearly a key factor.

  • avatar
    WheelMcCoy

    Late to this discussion, but I finally got around to reading Peter Robinson’s article and I agree with @outback_ute’s comment: “I think you have made a mountain out of a mole hill here Derek”

    Robinson pays sufficient homage to the Cayman. Also, Robinson has good reason to compare the 86 to the Cayman because Tada used the Cayman as a benchmark… not too unlike the Acura NSX using the Ferrari 328 as its benchmark in its day.

    In the end, Robinson concluded the 86 tops the Cayman, but in the price/performance category. He never said the 86 was the better car, but that the 86 was thrilling to drive nevertheless.

  • avatar

    Thank you for the most excellent article. This needed to be said.
    I think the reason many of us looked at this car favorably was because we thought we had been promised a performance engine and suspension in a future model year. We liked the potential more than the reality of what we thought was just a base model.
    Of course now a performance-engined model won’t be coming because of a lot of reasons, including political in-fighting. So now the shine is gone, and we’re stuck with only what was supposed to be a base model. At least it’s a little faster than ye olde Miata, but no where as fun as an S2000.


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