• Sep 5th 2010 at 6:27PM
  • 55
Toyota MR2 Sports Hybrid Concept – Click above for high-res image gallery

Akio Toyoda may want to bring driving excitement back to Toyota, but he and his team have two major hurdles to overcome: The brands's limited enthusiast base and the fact that Japan's youth have very little interest in cars.

To combat both fronts, Toyota plans to launch a new line of budget-oriented vehicles that offer a modicum of sport. But so far, things don't look too promising.

Despite debuting an FT-86-based concept at this year's Tokyo Auto Salon, Toyota's G Sports line of products have mainly focused on the Voxy and Noah minivans, while a "sports" version of the Prius is apparently in the works.

More interestingly, the Mainichi Daily News reports that a version of the GRMN sports car concept has been given the greenlight, meaning a mid-engined hybrid successor to the MR2 is in the works.

All these developments come after Toyota established a sports vehicle management division in January, which now has a hand in the brand's overall product planning. We should get a look at the fruits of their labors during next year's auto show season and could see this new breed of budget sports vehicles on the market – at least in Japan – within the next few years.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      What about a new supra and a Celicia?
      • 5 Years Ago
      So Toyota plans to bring back driving excitement by introducing a "Sports Prius"?

      As they say - the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.....
      • 5 Years Ago
      9:47PM (9/05/2010)
      The Prius can even be made sportier????

      Ha ha when was it ever sporty to begin with?
      • 5 Years Ago
      I drive a lot. Give us a sporty car with good looks and excellent mileage and I am buying it. I would never laugh at Toyota. They have some of the most durable cars in the world. Give me something quick, easy to get into like a chair at the kitchen table, great visibility, great handling, sips fuel like the prius and has good styling and I am going to buy one. It would pay for itself in cost and driving pleasure. But then I have always been ahead of my time. Fuel usage, easy maintenance and maneuverability has alway been a high priority for me.
        • 5 Years Ago
        My sentiments exactly. You don't need to guzzle gas to have great handling and braking with a quick steering ratio. I had my eye on the CT200h, but there are no numbers on it yet.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Do something Toyota.

      Prius coupe: If you must.
      FT-86: Fantastic.
      New MR: Fantastic+.

      Just do it already. I have a hard time thinking of a more boring line of cars than Toyotas.

      Look at tiny Mazda. They managed to keep building a niche roadster for 20+ years and they try to keep the Rotary flame alive. They have a tagline of zoom-zoom that they really try to infuse into the lineup.

      If Mazda can do it, Toyota must be able to do something!
        • 5 Years Ago
        Umm...have you seen Mazda's sales?
        • 5 Years Ago
        So in your logic, whatever sells most is best?

        I think you are on the wrong forum.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Wow! Sounds like these cars are going to be unstoppable!!!
      • 5 Years Ago
      LOL at Toyota's attempt to make a budget sports car line. Utterly pathetic. Crap like this isn't going to cut it in today's world...you better bring your A game, or go home.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You should stick to your MoronTrend forum!
      • 5 Years Ago
      At this point, who cares what Toyota makes?
        • 5 Years Ago
        That was exactly the same comment Hyundais/Kias got just 2 years ago, and look at where they are now.
        • 5 Years Ago
        True, KIA is dominating the Hertz/Enterprise market now.
      • 5 Years Ago
      As long as they keep them affordable. I wouldn't even care if the interior used nothing but plastic to keep costs down. As long as they perform, decent to look at, and cheap I'd be happy.

      Remember long ago when the Japanese used to be the underdogs and their cars were both reliable AND cheap? Oh, how times have changed.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Strangely enough, i also see pigs flying in the distance..
      • 5 Years Ago
      How about making the "Sport" version of their cars mean something more than plastic body panels and different wheels?
        • 5 Years Ago
        I don't know, man. That TRD oil cap takes at least 0.5sec off the 0-60 time.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I thought I was the only one left who remembered the 180hp XRS, the engine from the celica. the only downside was you could only get AWD with the small engine. WTH

        but yes. XRS used to mean something, then it didnt, then it went away. now we have Corolla S, which seems to be the only trim level based on what I see on the road. And while the body work *looks* nice, the fact that you have the same wheel gap as on the standard and the bottom of the trim doesnt look to be any closer to the ground makes me wonder just how hopped up the regular Corolla is? I mean, is the Caprice in 15 yrs, where certain groups will put a lift kit and 26" rims on it?

        The body kit on the Avalon looks fine. lowers the distance from the ground to the car, without much suspension work but its a luxury so thats okay.

      • 5 Years Ago
      All he needs to do is make a Japanese Mustang.
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