By on March 1, 2013

Ever try and play a round of golf as a Miata driver? From first hand experience, I can tell you it doesn’t work well. If you are lucky at manipulating large objects and have nothing else in the trunk, your golf bag might fit. God help you if you are giving a friend a lift to the course. One golf bag will go in the passenger footwell, the other will likely have to sit on the folded soft top, with the passenger’s arm holding the golf bag. Ask me how I know.

The long-rumored Toyota FT-86 convertible, seen here in concept form solves that problem. The hachi roku’s back seats aren’t really suitable for a full-size adult, let alone two of them, but like the Porsche 911, they can store golf clubs (or a helmet bag if you’re so inclined) with easy. Mechanically, the drop top Toyobaru is the same I think it looks fantastic, and I’d really like the iPhone holder shaped like two pistons. I’m allowed to have that in my Miata, right?

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49 Comments on “Hachi Roku Drops The Top...”


  • avatar
    APaGttH

    That is a damn fine looking automobile.

    Two questions that come right to mind:

    Chassis flex (how bad) as this started as a hard top and price point.

    A third question as I typed this – does Subaru get a version with the more “civilized” interior and more uplevel features.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m wondering about weight as well. The interior on the concept looks like a step up. As one of the few people who likes boxer engine noises, I’d violate my own rule and fit an aftermarket muffler just to hear that thing at WOT

      • 0 avatar
        juicy sushi

        The interior looks to be a re-painted version of the standard 86/GT-86/BRZ interior. Only the Scion FR-S has the decontented interior that makes the Subaru “premium”.

        I’d rather have the coupe myself (and a set of Watanabes).

    • 0 avatar
      Thinkin...

      Word on the street is that toyota said it would only push this to production is it was “weight-neutral.” Not sure how they define that, as it certainly won’t be the same weight, but I’m sure the droptop was a consideration from day one, so I hope flex and weight penalty isn’t that bad. Gold star for them if they can keep it to less than 200#.

      As for the price – I’m guessing that it’ll be start at $27,995 or thereabouts. So another player against the Miata / Mustang V6.

      What baffles me, though, is the fuel economy. Even forgetting about the convertible for a moment, consider the FRS/BRZ vs. the Mustang V6. The former is lighter, more aerodynamic AND has less frontal area, and narrower tires, and it has 100 less horsepower. Yet, it still manages to get significantly worse gas mileage, and burns premium gas. WTF?

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        It isn’t worse at all, the FRS has better gas mileage than the Mustang, the manual is rated about 1-mpg better in both city/highway, the auto is a lot better. It isn’t dramatically better because of the gearing, it wasn’t tuned for economy, and even the Mustang MPG gets worse with the performance gearing. I also have read that in real world driving the Mustang struggles to meet the EPA estimates and the twins have been exceeding it.

        It does take premium fuel but I do not think you NEED to use it, just that the engine makes more HP when using it.

        • 0 avatar
          Thinkin...

          My bad – you’re correct that the mpg numbers are closer than I’d thought. Which is still insane considering the differences in weight/power/aerodynamics.

          I understand the whole performance gearing thing, I just don’t understand why automakers won’t give sporting cars a highway gear. Ditto for the Miata. The Mx5 and FR-S should KILL the heavier, more powerful pony cars on the highway, and it’s not the case at all.

          I mean, would it be so bad for gears 1-5 to be close ratio and 6th to allow the car to cruise 75mph at 2000 rpm? Seems to me to be very low-handing fruit that would push the highway numbers up considerably. I know they’re not intended as GT cars, but still, people need to drive them from track to track! And surely automakers recognise the marketability of MPG figures.

          (In the NB miatas, the optional 6-speed transmission actually has a shorter top gear than the 5-speed!)

          • 0 avatar
            mnm4ever

            It isn’t insane really, its just physics. Its 200hp and the car gets around 30mpg. Do you know of any other cars that have 200hp and get significantly better MPG? You have to drop to an economy car to really see significantly higher numbers and everything on those cars is designed for economy, not performance. And sure, the Mustang can hit 30, but only on the highway, and only with the base gearing, which comes with a lower final drive ratio. The bigger engine has to work less to cruise, which is why it can hit the high EPA numbers. Once you start really using that power you will see the numbers drop a lot. From what I have heard, the MX5 and FRS real world MPG numbers are pretty close to the EPA estimates when driven normally.

            As for your gearing question, I have often wondered the same thing, but the final drive ratio is what limits a lot of that, even with an ultra-high 6th gear. You want the car to feel responsive, even at highway speeds, and with a low-torque engine you need to maintain some revs to have that feeling. The bigger engines have more toque at lower RPMs, allowing the engines to lug on the highway more. That’s why a Corvette can get almost the same gas mileage on the highway as an FRS, yet even a 110hp Mazda3 only gets about 6mpg more.

  • avatar
    Fordson

    Derek, you’re a young guy, right? What is a young, normal guy with (I assume) an active social life living in a big city doing courting any association with golf?

    Golf is for old people, or at least old at heart. Even the young pro golfers you see on TV wear clothes that are straight outta Sun City.

    Every time a see a young guy talking about his golf game (and they are always showing male pattern baldness and are nursing the beginnings of a paunch), I die a little inside.

    • 0 avatar

      What the hell is everyone’s problem with golf?

      Do you like walking? Some people like walking. Golf courses are great places to do this. Stop stereotyping.

      • 0 avatar
        Fordson

        “What the hell is everyone’s problem with golf?”

        Ah, so I’m not the only one saying this. See?

        Derek, go up to some hot babe the same age as you in a Toronto bar. Tell her one of your car-buying criteria is the ability to fit a couple golf bags into it. Watch her drink come out her nose.

        • 0 avatar

          I think as soon as I mention the word “car” it’s game over…

          • 0 avatar
            George Herbert

            Sometimes Car is not a dirty word to the hot chicks.

            The cars my wife’s gotten when choice was up to her, over her lifetime, were a Mustang convertible, 300ZX, and RX-8…

          • 0 avatar
            ZoomZoom

            George knows how to treat a lady right!

        • 0 avatar
          mnm4ever

          My favorite part about golf is driving the golf carts. Actually that’s the only thing I like at all about golf. I used to have one of those “mock” inspirational posters at my desk, it said: “Track Days – Because golf is for p###ies”. I got a lot of real angry crap about it real quick so I took it down. Turns out the sales guys are REALLY into their golf, no sense of humor. The helpdesk guys loved it though. I try to stay out of the office as much as possible.

          • 0 avatar
            ZoomZoom

            You took the poster down!

            That can only mean one thing: You compared the sales and marketing guys’ shiny new Lexus’ with burled wood interiors and Mercedes’ metal-flake pearl paint to the helpdesk guys’ beater Rangers and rusted out Sunfires with tennis balls for shifter knobs.

            Based on available evidence and potential availability of eligible women of bearing age who might be seeking eligible males, you made a discriminating choice regarding your personal inner circle using career risks and rewards as decision-making input factors!

            Right? ;)

          • 0 avatar
            mnm4ever

            Nah I just didn’t feel like listening to the sales guys cry. None of them drive cool cars, but all of them drive boring luxury cars, and Harleys too for some reason. Our helpdesk guys are car guys, they have fun fast cheap cars mostly. Most of the other guys in my company drive giant trucks, they either fish or hunt or are quite large and need room, but we have a few cool car guys with nice rides. One guy has a Porsche Turbo he actually tracks monthly, he’s cool, he liked my poster too.

          • 0 avatar
            mnm4ever

            Oh and I already have a hotter girl than any of them and she doesn’t care about luxury cars, she only likes sports cars and only drives a stick shift.

      • 0 avatar
        MeaCulpa

        Golf is fun, until you get beaten by two strokes on every hole by some old hag that ONLY plays the 7 iron and a putter while you spend most of the day looking for balls that ended up “somewhere in that direction” because you are all manly and likes to use the driver.
        This is the reason that I dream of the good old days – sure it sucked for black people and other minorities – when no women or children were allowed to even set foot in the vicinity of the course.

      • 0 avatar
        felix

        Golf: A good walk spoiled

    • 0 avatar

      And those clothes are comfortable.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m not too big on golf but I have been known to play 9 holes now and again. Quite poorly, at that. I suppose I have the right hairline for it…

      • 0 avatar
        MeaCulpa

        Come on, you only play golf because you miss interpreted somebody invited you along to “hit some balls”, “play a few holes” probably thinking that he omitted “with”, and thought that a “foursome” sounded awesome. You dirty Canadian you!

    • 0 avatar
      olddavid

      I guess either you get it or you don’t. Just another stupid measuring stick in world of bizarre measurements. Said by a man getting new grips to lower his handicap. My introduction was through a beloved Grandfather who saw it as a challenge and a way to bond with his grandsons. We played on a five hole course that used coal sand for greens. Unfortunately for the game, a majority are introduced to it by wanna-be’s, who place more emphasis on name-dropping and having the latest celebrity endorsed equipment than on the experience of watching the line of a putt manifest itself as it cuts through the mist at 6:00 a.m. on a Tuesday. With your son and wife.

      • 0 avatar
        corntrollio

        “Unfortunately for the game, a majority are introduced to it by wanna-be’s, who place more emphasis on name-dropping and having the latest celebrity endorsed equipment than on the experience of watching the line of a putt manifest itself as it cuts through the mist at 6:00 a.m. on a Tuesday. With your son and wife.”

        Agreed. Also, said wannabes like hitting a jacked 7 iron with the loft of a 6 iron the same distance someone with a real 6 iron as if one should be impressed by that. The wife plays too, btw.

      • 0 avatar
        Fordson

        I think you’re making my point for me…most people Derek’s age at 6:00 a.m. on a Tuesday are waking up and getting ready to go to work -they’re not on a golf course and they damn sure don’t have kids old enough to be out there with them.

        • 0 avatar
          olddavid

          We always tried to get 9 in before work and my son was playing at 6 years old. But, you have your pre-conceived notions and I have mine. I apologize if I made you feel you need to justify your opinion. I was only trying to make myself feel rational. A mostly hopeless task.

    • 0 avatar
      bortlicenseplate

      Fordson,

      With respect, you’re wrong. I remember in my mid-20′s, the post-party, early morning, hangover-curing round of 9 holes on a public course with your wingmen was one of the great weekend memories of my youth. Vomiting on the 3rd, 5th, and 6th holes was, I admit, less so. Still, don’t knock it til you try it.

      Dan

      • 0 avatar
        ZoomZoom

        So if your ball lands in it at the 3rd, 5th, or 6th hole, do you still take the shot?

        Maybe the ball washers are good at removing vomit. Or maybe it’s just best to put down a new ball…

  • avatar

    Mods

    All of the mods

  • avatar
    serothis

    So the three things that I think will make or brake this car is weight, chassis stiffness, price.

    I remember reading that the toyobaru twins were build with a convertible in mind but I don’t think anyone (except the engineers) knows what that means. If they saw the top off, there is no longer any way to not compare it to an mx-5. Cutting the top off coupe usually include weight gain, reduced chassis stiffness (less handling capabilities) and price increase

    The current frs (base model) around me is ~$25k and 2800lbs. If we assume a 150lb increase for chassis reinforcement and $3k price bump, would a $28k 2950lbs, softer brz/frs still be competitive to a ~$24k, 2400lbs mx-5?

    • 0 avatar
      SpinnyD

      It’s probably built like the solara convertible was (second gen anyway), designed with no roof, With A-pillars only with a LOT of bracing and structural improvments.

    • 0 avatar
      campocaceres

      As a layman, my assumption is that “built with a convertible in mind” means the chassis was designed so that the roof does not serve as a major structural support, so they can lop it off without any detriment to chassis stiffness. I wasn’t aware of this info about this car, and that’s actually really nice to hear. I would likely consider it in the future, knowing that.

      I’ve owned cars that were designed from the ground up to be a convertible, and convertible versions of “normal” cars. I didn’t want to believe it, but there is honestly a difference. Adapted convertibles really do feel ungainly; I noticed it even in daily driving.

  • avatar
    racer-esq.

    This is not a car that I would buy as a convertible, but if it helps amortize the development costs, then awesome.

    I love the white is great. It would be even better with dark metallic brown paint. Come on Scion, make a white leather with brown paint FR-S one of your special “release series” cars. You know, the ones that old people and cabbies buy to get their xBs fully loaded.

  • avatar
    Spartan

    This is the best execution of a convertible that I’ve seen in a long time. I just wish it had more power.

  • avatar
    corntrollio

    The Infiniti G coupe has a diagram on the inside of the trunk lid that shows how to fit two golf bags into it. It’s doable.

    I assume with the G convertible, you’d have to put them in the rear seat too.

  • avatar
    Fordson

    The chassis stiffness and the attendant weight gain to ameliorate that problem are only half the battle.

    The real issue is that as a convertible, it will be over $30k. And there is no way anyone paying that is going to go for the interior this car has. Every review pretty much agrees that the interior is sub-par even for a $25k car.

    I think that is one of the real factors in releasing either a convertible version or a turbo version. To sell either one here for the money they would have to sell it for, an interior redo would be in order…which pushes the cost up still more.

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    “If you are lucky at manipulating large objects and have nothing else in the trunk”

    Thats what she said! :)

  • avatar
    wmba

    Everything I’ve read says the vestigial back seat is sacrificed to make room for the stowed ragtop. Golf bag problem vis a vis the Miata solved.

    The mystery of the Toyobaru’s excessive weight is now resolved (only 150 pounds lighter than an Impreza). The floor pan and sills are capable of a rag top without much bracing – that’s my guess.

    The standard car is the most solid I’ve ever felt on my favorite piece of really poor road – broken asphalt to concrete pads and back again, with dozens of patches and two really good wavy whoop de doos. Especially considering the rock hard ride.

  • avatar
    Mykl

    Why would you need a helmet for golf?

    • 0 avatar
      MeaCulpa

      A spanish course on the costa del sol my close relatives – and Sean Connery btw – plays at had north africans with helmets instead of a tractor picking up balls at the driving range.

  • avatar
    CoastieLenn

    I can’t figure out why I detest this car (coupe/convert.) so much. Maybe its the blatant redundancy with the Subaru model. Maybe its the idea that “We’ll use lower power but keep it tail happy with Prius sized tires.” mentality. Maybe its the fact that this car so stereotypical with the greasey spikey haired, popped collar (do kids still do that?) polo shirt wearing, “I’ve got 246 pairs of Puma’s” type mongril.

    I guess I hate this car’s main target audience than I actually hate the car, but the target audience shapes a car… so by extension, I hate the car.

    Sorry for being “that guy”.

    I’ll take a V6 Mustang with a manual, please.

    • 0 avatar
      Mykl

      So basically, you don’t like sports cars?

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      Maybe it’s different where you live, but most all of these I have seen in the wild were driven by older guys, 30s-40s, professional types, who like real sports cars. I have seen a few women driving them too, but not kids, looks like girls in their 30s or so.

      This is a small, fairly light RWD car that still has some practicality to it, can carve corners and go to track days, yet still gets decent gas mileage for the daily work commute. The power is adequate for someone who wants to have fun and not street race, the tires are as big as they need to be for the power and weight, and the Subaru model is just there to help amortize the cost (and is sold at a higher price point and in significantly less numbers). I like Mustangs too, but it is very clear that they are much different cars that appeal to different people for different reasons, I don’t think we should hate on either one, I am just happy both exist.

      Just because the internet fanbois go crazy for it doesn’t mean they can afford to buy it or will buy it. They go crazy for dubbed out Lambo’s too, doesn’t mean Lambos suck because they are popular with kids. The “mogrils” are still buying the Tc. And BTW, spiked hair isn’t greasy, its stiff and dry with gel, I don’t think anyone pops the collar or wears polo shirts anymore, and I am pretty sure the Puma crowd never did that. Sounds to me like you just hate teenagers :) Not that I blame you, most of them are incredibly annoying.

  • avatar
    Junebug

    Well, having 2 teens in the house, I asked their opinion, my 14 (excuse me, almost 15) says she only wants a Jeep Rubicon with 4″ lift kit and some 35″ tires, my college girl says – whatever, as long as it isn’t one of those friggin Mini things or a Fiat. My youngest is also a damn good shot with a rifle and loves to shoot targets with me, while the oldest prefers to use an old school recurve bow, and she’s scary accurate, I try NOT to piss her off – LOL! Truth is, neither they nor their friends are big into sports cars. It’s a whole new generation guys, and the car culture is dying.

    • 0 avatar
      ZoomZoom

      Raising your sons to shoot actual guns and your daughters to become lady archers, well done sir!

      I agree with your assertion that the car culture is dying.

      Many of today’s kids don’t even want to drive. They think they’re killing the Earth so they won’t even buy lawnmowers. They buy reel-mowers and then don’t use them because that’s hard work using a reel-mower! Eventually, they end up getting a V8 SUV once they have a few cubs of their own, and that’s about when they begin their lives of eternal guilt.

      There was another “Peak Oil” article yesterday too. The difference between this and “Peak Oil” articles of ten years ago is that this one was written/published by the mainstream press and not late-night talk radio.

      Today’s twenty-somethings are getting it from all angles. Some have given in and just walk. Others ride Vespas to work, and they don’t care how many cars they get in front of and slow down, nor how much more fuel it takes for a long chain of cars to follow a Vespa and stop/go more often.

    • 0 avatar
      niky

      Jeeps. It’s a girl thing. A lot of my female relatives love Jeeps.

      My daughter, on the other hand, adorea the new Ranger.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I’m so glad that pearl/metallic white is coming back. It’s always been my favorite color. I saw a newish IS this morning, with the same color on it. It was glistening!


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