Rumor: Toyota and Suzuki Developing Another Lightweight Sports Car

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

rumor toyota and suzuki developing another lightweight sports car

Toyota and Suzuki are rumored to be collaborating on another lightweight, mid-engine sports car with some help from Daihatsu. While nothing has been confirmed, the model is presumed to be a successor to Toyota’s MR2 (pictured) – as the automaker has offered numerous hints in the past that the little two-seater (or something inspired by it) would eventually enter into production.

Following the joint development of the Subaru BRZ and Toyota GR86, the latter brand suggested it would eventually offer a trio of sporting options that paid homage to some of its most iconic performance models. It was suggested that one would probably slot in beneath the Toyobaru twins. Considering we already have the Supra and 86 on sale, the MR2 feels like the obvious choice.

A report by Motor1 has cited numerous Japanese outlets claiming the three companies were actively developing a two-seater equipped with a centrally mounted 1.0-liter three-cylinder motor producing somewhere around 120 horsepower. Best Car magazine has said the car is basically being designed with Toyota in mind.

From Motor1:

The Japanese magazine claims the three domestic automakers are working on an affordable mid-engined Toyota sports car with a turbocharged 1.0-liter engine. The three-pot is said to produce nearly 120 horsepower and 200 Newton-meters (147 pound-feet) of torque. It is believed the ICE will have a mild-hybrid setup to provide a small boost and improve fuel economy.
While the rumored output is not exactly impressive, the "Midship Sports" mentioned by Best Car is said to weigh just 1,000 kilograms (2,204 pounds). That would make it just about as light as the base Mazda MX-5 with the 1.5-liter engine, which has 129 hp and 150 Nm (111 lb-ft). It's said to be significantly bigger than the Miata and the third-generation MR2 by measuring 4,200 millimeters (165.3 inches) long, 1,720 mm (67.7 in) wide, and 1,220 mm (48 in) tall, with a wheelbase of 2,550 mm (100 in).
Suzuki is reportedly developing the engine while the front suspension will be adapted from the current-generation Yaris. The styling is said to take cues from the Daihatsu Copen although the rendering published by Best Car shows a sleeker sports car that takes itself more seriously. It would be strictly a two-seat affair and carry the Toyota badge.

While your gut is correctly telling you that’s probably not going to fly in North America without the mystery model seeing a bump in power, keep in mind that the base MX-5 produces significantly more oomph on our shores than it does in Japan. It’s not inconceivable that Subaru could spice up the powertrain when-and-if Toyota ships the model our way. However, it’ll probably cost a bit more than what’s being suggested right now.

Motor1 stated that the new model would cost between 2.2 to 2.8 million yen on the Japanese domestic market, depending on trim level and options. That’s just $16,500 to $21,000 when converted to U.S. dollars. But it also warned that these are just rumors and rumors often don’t make it into the world of facts. As things currently stand, we don’t even know how far down the path of development the hypothetical MR2 happens to be or if it has any real chance of making it to the finish line.

[Image: betto rodrigues/Shutterstock]

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2 of 26 comments
  • Randy in rocklin Randy in rocklin on Feb 19, 2023

    I have a 2004 and 1991 MR2. The 91 was a barn find with only 52k miles.

  • El scotto El scotto on Feb 20, 2023

    -darts eyes- imagine one one of these with a tune and tires that are the equivalent of gum erasers. Casual Friday and weekend car. My local coffee and cars is across the street from Wallyworld.

  • Probert Wow - so many digital renders - Ford, Stellantis. - whose next!!! They're really bringing it on....
  • Zerocred So many great drives:Dalton Hwy from Fairbanks to the Arctic Circle.Alaska Marine Highway from Bellingham WA to Skagway AK. it was a multi-day ferry ride so I didn’t actually drive it, but I did take my truck.Icefields Parkway from Jasper AB to Lake Louise AB, CA.I-70 and Hwy 50 from Denver to Sacramento.Hwy 395 on the east side of the Sierras.
  • Aidian Holder I'm not interested in buying anything from a company that deliberately targets all their production in crappy union-busting states. Ford decided to build their EV manufaturing in Tennessee. The company built it there because of an anti-union legal environment. I won't buy another Ford because of that. I've owned four Fords to date -- three of them pickups. I'm shopping for a new one. It won't be a Ford Lightning. If you care about your fellow workers, you won't buy one either.
  • Denis Jeep have other cars?!?
  • Darren Mertz In 2000, after reading the glowing reviews from c/d in 1998, I decided that was the car for me (yep, it took me 2 years to make up my mind). I found a 1999 with 24k on the clock at a local Volvo dealership. I think the salesman was more impressed with it than I was. It was everything I had hoped for. Comfortable, stylish, roomy, refined, efficient, flexible, ... I can't think of more superlatives right now but there are likely more. I had that car until just last year at this time. A red light runner t-boned me and my partner who was in the passenger seat. The cops estimate the other driver hit us at about 50 mph - on a city street. My partner wasn't visibly injured (when the seat air bag went off it shoved him out of the way of the intruding car) but his hip was rather tweaked. My car, though, was gone. I cried like a baby when they towed it away. I ruminated for months trying to decide how to replace it. Luckily, we had my 1998 SAAB 9000 as a spare car to use. I decided early on that there would be no new car considered. I loathe touch screens. I'm also not a fan of climate control. Months went by. I decided to keep looking for another B5 Passat. As the author wrote, the B5.5 just looked 'over done'. October this past year I found my Cinderella slipper - an early 2001. Same silver color. Same black leather interior. Same 1.8T engine. Same 5 speed manual transmission. I was happier than a pig in sh!t. But a little sad also. I had replaced my baby. But life goes on. I drive it every day to work which takes me over some rather twisty freeway ramps. I love the light snarel as I charge up some steep hills on my way home. So, I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Passat guy.