• Jun 4th 2010 at 3:01PM
  • 44
Toyota MR2 Sports Hybrid Concept – Click above for image gallery

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.

[Source: Autoweek]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      It remains to be seen what comes of their 'seasoning'. For now they really have nothing exciting to offer they buying public, though they still have (relatively) decent quality. It's just that most everything is a rolling palette of dull gray.

      Their "Oh what a feeling!" ads of the past really would be "Ugh, what a feeling" today.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The MR2 Spyder was a decent little car with one or two fatal flaws.

      1: It couldn't hold a pack of gum as cargo.

      2: it didn't look like something that could catch people's attention. The aesthetics were nowhere near a Miata, nor a junior-grade Boxster, let alone the Lotus Elise.

      Maybe 3: it had the Celica GT engine, not the Celica GT-S engine.

      Especially concerning point 1:
      If the previous MR2 Spyder didn't have room for anything, how in the world do you fit hybrid drive in there, AND make the car as minimally practically acceptable as other cars, like Miata.

      There has to be at least has enough trunk space for a weekend of luggage for the occupants of the car's two seats, or a modest grocery store trip. You can't justify driving a car anyplace, if you can't take anything there, or bring anything back.
        • 5 Years Ago
        ...Otherwise, people ride motorcycles... and still carry more luggage than the MR2 Spyder could fit.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I have an MR2 Spyder. - Yes the cargo room is quite small.

        I previously had a 350z Roadster - and that cargo area was terrible as well (but much better than the mr2).

        The BMW Z4 had amazing amount of cargo room (MUCH MORE than the larger 350z roadster).

        I couldn't believe it - but it was mostly because of RUN FLAT TIRES.

        If you give the MR2 Run Flats it will DOUBLE the amount of storage space. Also if you stretch the frame just 2 inches.. it will allow for all MUCH more storage behind the seats.

      • 5 Years Ago
      Stop wasting time! They just have to add a hybrid system for FT-86 and call it a day.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Put hybrid powertrain in whatever car in Toyota's lineup now, but not the FT-86. I will be mad if I drive a HYBRID FT-86.
        • 5 Years Ago
        No hybrid.

        Not needed, too much weight, and complication that cancels out the so-called efficiency.

        A good efficient engine, and properly specified gearing should be fine, and preserve the "fun to drive" part.

        Not everything needs to be necessarily complicated and expensive.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Will they just shut up and build the FT-86 already? No one wants the hybrid crap, just build it right the first time. No reason to board the CR-Z failboat with Honda.
      • 5 Years Ago
      All I hear is a whole lotta talking : (
      • 5 Years Ago
      Yeah I wouldnt say they're top quality, I mean for some reason as they leaned toward appliance mobile there quality went up over the last few years, that makes no sense, I really dont believe there quality is truly there. However, they sure could use some life in the product lineup, anything, when I drove one I felt like a drone a real mind numbing experience, very sad. At least the domestics have something in the way of spirit.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Anyhow, Toyota's are designed for people who are hate driving and lack the skill to do it correctly. If they make their cars fun they will lose their entire customer base. Who then will serve the hordes of idiots who would rather gossip on their cell phone and go 45 mph in the fast than than pay attention to driving? Maybe they can get bus passes...
      • 5 Years Ago
      sigh... if they keep pushing back the AE86.. -.-
      • 5 Years Ago
      How about make an affordable Tesla that works.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This new MR2 concept is pretty awesome! It looks better than the 2000+ Mr2's and if it has a low price, and fun-to-drive appeal you can sign me up! I don't say this about most cars but I'm loving where this is going. I just only hope the eco-friendly aspect doesn't "hog-tie" some of those fun to drive horses at the wheels.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Would that they could add "fun to drive" to ANY of their product.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Dear Toyota,

      Please add "Fun to Drive" to your entire lineup. I've already got a Maytag and Kenmore at home, so I don't need another boring appliance.

      An Enthusiast

      P.S. Sporty handling can also mean safety, it something pops up in your way, good handling can help you from hitting it.
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