Toyota mulling addition of sporty hybrid to compete with Honda CR-Z

Toyota MR2 Sports Hybrid Concept – Click above for image gallery

It's far from official, but reports still suggest that Toyota could be working on a hybrid sportscar to duke it out with the Honda CR-Z. When Honda first took the wraps off its CR-Z coupe, we believed Toyota would swiftly respond by stuffing a more performance-oriented version of its Synergy Drive powertrain into a currently available model, offer this vehicle for sale at a price below the CR-Z, brag about its mileage capabilities and call it a day. That's not exactly how it played out. Honda has officially launched its CR-Z and Toyota is still searching for an answer.

It now appears as though Toyota might have a hybrid competitor planned, but the company's tight-lipped approach keeps us from determining what's actually in the works. It could be the sports hybrid concept based on Toyota's now-defunct MR2 hybrid. Since debuting at the Tokyo Auto Salon, the MR2 has gained popularity and with specs like a 3.3-liter V6 engine, all-wheel drive and an electric motor that helps deliver it from 0-60 in 4.5 seconds, there's good reason to be excited about this vehicle. Then again, Toyota may decide to drop a hybrid powertrain into the rear-wheel drive FT-86, a vehicle developed jointly with Subaru and expected to launch in 2012.

Either choice would be fine by us, though we'd tend to think that the rear-wheel drive FT-86 would be particularly well-suited to demolish the CR-Z. Toyota offers no promises, but does admit that it's working on and wants to offer a sporty hybrid. Let's hope it's one of these aforementioned vehicles, either of which could give the CR-Z a real run for its money.

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[Source: Automotive News - sub. req.]

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