Two Classes of Toyota-built Sports Coupe and the $5 Difference

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
two classes of toyota built sports coupe and the 5 difference

With the aggressively styled LC 500 garnering most of the Lexus coupe headlines, what with its eight-cylinder engine and look-over-here sheetmetal, its RC stablemate often gets short shrift. Meanwhile, the more attainable Toyota 86 (formerly the Scion FR-S) seems to make headlines for not offering extra horsepower than for anything else.

America is not a forgiving place for coupes these days.

Still, which of these rear-drive Toyota-built coupes holds the most appeal to a buyer? The 86’s handling and youthful intentions aside, it’s arguably the RC, as Lexus’s coupe offers more interior room, horsepower, and clout. Even the base RC 200t, which becomes the RC 300 for 2018, brings a 241-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter to the table, handily besting the 86’s turboless 2.0.

Of course, it’s not really a fair comparison. The price gulf between the two models is quite significant. Or is it?

Not if you’re thinking of taking out a lease on outgoing 2017 models. According to CarsDirect, some existing lease deals narrow the price gap to insignificant levels, despite the $16,000 window sticker difference.

In Los Angeles, for example, a Toyota 86 (carrying an MSRP of $27,840) can be leased for $349 over a 36-month term with $1,999 due at signing. At the other end of the dealership, a Lexus RC 200t (MSRP of $44,285) can become your driveway companion for $299 a month over the same term, only with $3,999 due at signing. That works out to $405 a month for the 86, and $410 a month for the RC.

How was Toyota able to level its two-door playing field? Not surprisingly, incentives play a big role. The RC boasts $4,500 in lease cash, while the 86 sports zero dollars on its hood. Also, the RC’s lower money factor essentially equates to a lease with a 0-percent interest rate.

As Toyota continues to avoid incentives to move the 86 off dealer lots, sales continue a downward slide. U.S. sales of the co-developed 2+2 sat at 530 vehicles last month, a 19-percent decrease from September 2016. Year-to-date, Toyota 86 sales are down just over 4 percent from 2016 levels.

The Lexus RC, which debuted for the 2015 model year, sells in remarkably similar numbers as its corporate cousin. September sales of the RC line were 11 percent lower, year-over-year, with sales across the first nine months of 2017 ringing in 38-percent lower than last year’s tally.

[Images: Toyota]

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  • Mike1041 Mike1041 on Oct 27, 2017

    I live within ten miles of a combination Toyota Lexus plant. I know many employees that work at that facility and they all tell me that the Lexus differences on a corresponding model are huge. Closer tolerances and higher quality parts are the many ones. If I were going to purchase on of these cars its Lexus hands down. Ask anyone who works for them.

  • True_Blue True_Blue on Oct 27, 2017

    For whatever it's worth, a good friend of mine bought a 2014 FR-S brand new, and recently installed a Jackson Racing centrifugal supercharger on it. He's over the moon ecstatic about it. It didn't "unbalance" the car as so many who've never even sat in an FR-S / 86 /BRZ state... it amplified it. It pulls hard and the car still has a beautiful balance and turn-in. He'll be tracking it next season, so we'll see if it blunted the edge or sharpened the blade.

  • Nrd515 I bought an '88 S10 Blazer with the 4.3. We had it 4 years and put just about 48K on it with a bunch of trips to Nebraska and S. Dakota to see relatives. It had a couple of minor issues when new, a piece of trim fell off the first day, and it had a seriously big oil leak soon after we got it. The amazinly tiny starter failed at about 40K, it was fixed under some sort of secret warranty and we got a new Silverado as a loaner. Other than that, and a couple of tires that blew when I ran over some junk on the road, it was a rock. I hated the dash instrumentation, and being built like a gorilla, it was about an inch and a half too narrow for my giant shoulders, but it drove fine, and was my second most trouble free vehicle ever, only beaten by my '82 K5 Blazer, which had zero issues for nearly 50K miles. We sold the S10 to a friend, who had it over 20 years and over 400,000 miles on the original short block! It had a couple of transmissions, a couple of valve jobs, a rear end rebuild at 300K, was stolen and vandalized twice, cut open like a tin can when a diabetic truck driver passed out(We were all impressed at the lack of rust inside the rear quarters at almost 10 years old, and it just went on and on. Ziebart did a good job on that Blazer. All three of his sons learned to drive in it, and it was only sent to the boneyard when the area above the windshield had rusted to the point it was like taking a shower when it rained. He now has a Jeep that he's put a ton of money into. He says he misses the S10's reliablity a lot these days, the Jeep is in the shop a lot.
  • Jeff S Most densely populated areas have emission testing and removing catalytic converters and altering pollution devices will cause your vehicle to fail emission testing which could effect renewing license plates. In less populated areas where emission testing is not done there would probably not be any legal consequences and the converter could either be removed or gutted both without having to buy specific parts for bypassing emissions. Tampering with emission systems would make it harder to resell a vehicle but if you plan on keeping the vehicle and literally running it till the wheels fall off there is not much that can be done if there is no emission testing. I did have a cat removed on a car long before mandatory emission testing and it did get better mpgs and it ran better. Also had a cat gutted on my S-10 which was close to 20 years old which increased performance and efficiency but that was in a state that did not require emission testing just that reformulated gas be sold during the Summer months. I would probably not do it again because after market converters are not that expensive on older S-10s compared to many of the newer vehicles. On newer vehicles it can effect other systems that are related to the operating and the running of the vehicle. A little harder to defeat pollution devices on newer vehicles with all the systems run by microprocessors but if someone wants to do it they can. This law could be addressing the modified diesels that are made into coal rollers just as much as the gasoline powered vehicles with cats. You probably will still be able to buy equipment that would modify the performance of a vehicles as long as the emission equipment is not altered.
  • ToolGuy I wonder if Vin Diesel requires DEF.(Does he have issues with Sulfur in concentrations above 15ppm?)
  • ToolGuy Presented for discussion: https://xroads.virginia.edu/~Hyper2/thoreau/civil.html
  • Kevin Ford can do what it's always done. Offer buyouts to retirement age employees, and transfers to operating facilities to those who aren't retirement age. Plus, the transition to electric isn't going to be a finger snap one time event. It's going to occur over a few model years. What's a more interesting question is: Where will today's youth find jobs in the auto industry given the lower employment levels?
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