Toyota’s next collaboration involves Daihatsu and Suzuki and would result in an affordable successor to the MR2by Dim Angelov, on
In recent times, when we hear that Toyota is planning to make a sports car, the first question to come to mind is, who is Toyota teaming up with this time? Because sports cars account for a relatively small portion of the car market, companies like Toyota are maximizing profit by teaming up with others, a case in point being the GR86, co-developed with Subaru, and the GR Supra which was co-developed with BMW. The latest rumors from a Japanese car magazine, Best Car, however, talk about a new mid-engine successor to the MR2 on the way, and this is everything we know about it so far.
This time, Daihatsu and Suzuki are teaming up with Toyota
Rumors about an ICE-powered, MR2 successor have been circulating since December 2021, and they all talk about a new MR2 coming out “around 20 years” after the last generation was discontinued, in 2007. At the beginning of 2022, Toyota unveiled the largest array of concept cars, among which was a compact, mid-engine, BEV sports car. While we don’t know much about it yet, aside from it being a compact, performance EV, we know that a small, mid-engine sports car with an internal combustion engine is also in the works, and Toyota will co-develop it with help from Daihatsu and Suzuki.
Given Toyota’s latest performance models – the GR Yaris and GR Corolla – you’d be forgiven to think that the 1.6-liter, turbocharged, inline-three would be the choice of powertrain for the upcoming MR2 successor. Instead, however, it will feature a 1.0-liter (998 cc) turbocharged inline-three. A version of the engine is already in use in some Suzuki models where it produces 109 horsepower (81.3 kilowatts) and 125 pound-feet (170 Nm). This automatically rules out previous rumors that the next MR2 will be a 395-horsepower Plug-in hybrid, at least for now.
Daihatsu is a subsidiary of Toyota and while we don’t know what the company’s contribution to the mid-engine sports car would be,last year Daihatsu and Suzuki entered a partnership for the dissemination of Computer-Aided Software Engineering (CASE) technologies, which could explain the involvement. In addition, both Suzuki and Daihatsu are known for making affordable vehicles, which is exactly what the upcoming, mid-engine sports car will be. The main reason for this collaboration, however, is to split costs, which could potentially, mean that the car will also be sold under the Daihatsu or Suzuki brands, similar to the Subaru BRZ and Toyota GR86 twins.
It will compete with the Mazda MX-5
Given the engine Toyota is planning to place in the 2025 MR2, the only logical competitor for the next-gen MR2 is the Mazda MX-5 Miata. The ND-generation Miata is in its third phase and the 2.0-liter, naturally-aspirated inline-four now packs 181 horsepower (133 kilowatts) and 151 pound-feet (205 Nm). Get it right, and the 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) sprint goes by in as little as 5.7 seconds (5.8 for the RF model). With this in mind, we know that Toyota’s answer to the Miata will share the GA-B platform with the standard Yaris – the GR Yaris uses a hybrid between the GA-B and GA-C platforms, all of which are a part of the TNGA platform family.
As for the 1.0-liter turbo-three, it will receive a bump in power to at least 150 horsepower. There’s no mention of any form of hybridization and there likely isn’t going to be, as Toyota’s idea of an MR2 successor is to be affordable. According to Best Car, there will be a six-speed automatic and no manual transmission has been mentioned yet.
It could be the same six-speed automatic from the GR86/BRZ, which isn’t the most inspiring of transmissions out there. Given Toyota’s sensible approach, we believe that the base, 109-horsepower version, paired with the automatic would be the base version of the car while the more powerful version, will get the option of a six-speed manual. Power, of course, will go to the rear wheels only.
It’s coming nearly 20 years after the last MR2, and it won’t break the bank
The Toyota MR2’s production ended in 2007 with the divisive SW30 generation. Not that it was a terrible car, it’s just that the SW20 was so good that what came after it couldn’t quite live up to the name. Regardless, our Japanese colleagues mention an arrival date sometime in 2025, which is almost 20 years after the last MR2 stopped being made.
Toyota’s focal point with this next-generation MR2 (if it’s even going to be called that) is to keep it affordable. When it arrives, it is expected to start at around $25,000. It sounds a bit too good to be true, especially given the current state of the market, but keep in mind it will only have about 150 horsepower. Moreover, there might be a base version with even less power as we predicted earlier.
At this price point, the Mazda MX-5 is the only comparable vehicle. The 2025 release date for the next-gen MR2 coincides with Toyota and Subaru’s plans to discontinue the GR86 and BRZ, which would avoid any internal competition between the models.
Source: Best Car Japan