While I was more than happy with the amount of power in the latest Toyota-badged Toyobaru, the 2017 Toyota 86, I realize that its continued existence relies on the approval of the masses who aren’t me. Those masses would really appreciate it if Subaru’s STi branch slapped a turbo on that lil’ 205 horsepower flat-four. If you like the Toyobaru twins at all, you should probably join in the calls for the same thing.
Sales for the Toyobarus keep dropping year after year, as Car & Driver notes that its biggest demand was early on. People who wanted the niche sports car bought them early, and since then, sales figures have dropped sharply for both the Subaru and Scion (now Toyota) versions.
Of course, there aren’t a lot of choices if you want a fixed-roof, rear-wheel-drive coupe that isn’t a muscle car, or doesn’t cost over $30,000. The Toyobaru is the only car filling that niche at the moment, and that’s not good, either. We need more fun, small, less expensive cars to choose from, which would have the added benefit of forcing Subaru and Toyota to make the Toyobarus better in response.
When the Toyobaru was at the height of its demand, we saw something magical: other car makers were considering joining in the small, fun, rear-wheel-drive coupe game. In 2014, when sales were still acceptable for the Toyobaru twins, Jalopnik’s Patrick George noted:
Another point: Nissan just greenlit the IDx Concept to apparently do battle with the Toyobaru, and the Kia GT4 Stinger looks poised to do the same. Would other automakers explore this niche if the FR-S and BRZ were a failure? I doubt it.
Since the FR-S and BRZ have dropped off in sales, however, all hopes of getting the Nissan IDx have disappeared, and the Kia GT4 Stinger dropped off the face of the earth. Now we’re all left wondering how long Toyota and Subaru will even keep the Toyobaru around.
Automakers play it too safe with the kinds of cool cars we love as enthusiasts. It’s frustrating, because that means we rarely get what we want. That being said, there’s an easy way to get enthusiasm and sales back to the Toyobaru, such that it might convince other automakers to jump into the same niche: make a more powerful, totally silly Subaru BRZ STi, or whatever the Toyota equivalent would be.
Give more power to the people, because it’s what they want. I don’t think it would even matter which marque made the Super-yota. Subaru has more ardent fanboys and all thing STi are their one true love in this world, but the calls for more power aren’t limited to your local Cars ‘N’ Vape meet.
The added bonus, of course, is that I’m sure Subaru and Toyota could sell a few extra base models by wooing enthusiasts in the door with the high-powered version. After all, how on earth did you think I ended up with a Lancer? “The Evo is really good” was a convincing argument in its base model’s favor.
While I have no want for a Toyota 86 with turbo lag, even I’m baffled as to why there hasn’t been an upgraded, more powerful version made yet. As a fan of small coupes, it’s only prudent that the rest of us join in the calls to give us a BRZ STi.
Sell more cars by giving people the BRZ STi they’e been begging for, and then there’s plenty of room in the budget to come up with the next truly great little coupes.