It's been far too long since Toyota's products have been imbued with anything short of clinical, appliance-like precision. Handling prowess and communicative steering has taken a back seat to ruthless efficiency, especially true when you turn to the company's eco-friendly vehicles such as the Prius, where the entertainment factor is basically non-existent. Toyota chief executive officer Akio Toyoda doesn't believe this is a viable path to the future, and has ordered company engineers to spice up the brand's products.
Before the Pedalgate debacle, Toyoda gave several speeches where he constantly talks about "seasoning" the company's lineup of bland vehicles and points out that future products will be "fun to drive." Toyoda notes that the company's hybrid sports car concept, a convertible loosely based on the retired MR2, is exactly the type of thing to expect from Toyota in the near future. As Toyoda said of the MR2 hybrid concept, "I wanted a car that shows what we are aiming for, something affordable, fun to drive and good for the environment." Making eco-friendly cars is something that's apparently quite easy for Toyota, but upping the enjoyability quotient from behind a Toyota steering wheel still presents a challenge. Still, we're definitely looking forward to the time when the combination of "fun-to-drive" and "Toyota" are no longer diverging concepts.