If you take a broad look through Toyota’s model lineup, it would be easy to quickly classify Toyota’s primary audience as families or those looking for a great value. At the end of the day, the mass-market sedans, crossovers, and minivans are Toyota’s bread and butter. But where’s the fun?
Near the turn of the century, the Japanese automaker pivoted away from its auto enthusiast-ready offerings. Sports cars such as the Supra, MR2, and Celica dissipated with time. After the demise of these vehicles, Toyota’s core identity took on a more subdued look.
Over the past few years, the automaker has grown out of its family-friendly shell and started offering vehicles like the FR-S (now GR86) and the exciting Supra revival. More recently, Toyota has made surprising announcements catering to the auto enthusiast crowd.
Saving The Manual
While many Toyotas are known for their subdued nature, the upcoming GR Corolla is everything but. An insane upgrade to the current Corolla, the GR variant features a 1.6L 3-cylinder engine producing 300 horsepower, an impressive 100 hp per cylinder. This hot-hatch comes with AWD and available front and rear limited-slip differentials. Most surprising is that the GR Corolla will only be made available with a six-speed manual transmission.
While the latest generation Supra currently comes with an automatic transmission, that will also change. Toyota recently announced that its Supra would have a manual transmission option.
As the current Supra is a collaboration with BMW, it uses the same engine and transmission as its German counterpart, the Z4. However BMW does not offer their Z4 with a manual, so it's speculated that Toyota is going out of its way to put in its own manual transmission to accomplish this, another surprise move.
As it's harder and harder to find a car that lets you use three pedals, Toyota, of all automakers, serves as a bastion for those who still want to drive the hard way.