QOTD: We've (Not) Got the Power, So Where Should It Go?
On Sunday, Matt brought you the story of Toyota’s latest plan to ditch its longstanding reputation for building boring yet reliable cars — a problem some quality deficient automakers would kill for.
The brand has recently bolstered its efforts to draw its design direction away from the realm of “safe” and into the neighborhood of edgy, funky, and just maybe, controversial. (How about that new Camry’s face, eh? Hmmm…) Still, design doesn’t equal driving thrills. Visual excitement doesn’t quicken the pulse after you’ve slipped behind the wheel.
To this end, Toyota appears ready to launch a performance line similar to Lexus’ F sub-brand. The automaker known for (very successfully) playing it safe may let its hair down. And not a moment too soon, some might say. While the upcoming 2018 Camry gains significant standard power from Toyota’s four-cylinder engineering prowess, vehicles like the C-HR crossover, Corolla, Corolla iM, and other models aren’t exactly causing heart palpitations on test drives (or any other drives, for that matter).
Let’s pick up that syringe filled with muscle enhancer, shall we?
If Toyota’s Yaris GRMN (Gazoo Racing Masters of Nürburgring) hot hatch shows us, it’s that the brand’s racing division is capable of massaging a pedestrian commuter car into a decent performer. Assuming it makes the trek to North America, no one’s kicking sand in this Yaris’ face.
So, if Toyota takes a page from, say, Nissan’s book — NISMOing all the things, as it were — what models need pumping up the most? There’s no shortage of choice. The rear-drive 86 2+2 sports coupe (formerly the Scion FR-S) has been forever saddled with a “nice effort, but needs more grunt” reputation. Its sales reflect it.
I’d argue, and many would agree, that the C-HR is in desperate need for more ponies, as well as a way to channel any power to the rear axle. Having a certified sports car in your stable’s nice, but what models actually sell these days? It’s crossovers all the way. Meanwhile, the Corolla and its five-door sibling are liable to break their wrists trying to punch through wet Kleenex.
Cover the low end of the market, I say. Offer hot variants across the compact class — both crossovers and passenger cars.
What say you, Best and Brightest?
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