Is Toyota Working on a Mid-Engine, Mixed-Brand Love Child?

The thought of a mid-engine, rear-drive sports car that costs around $25,000 has us salivating. Of course, such an anomaly would be hard to even fathom in the current market. However, there have been some reports that Toyota is working with Daihatsu and Suzuki to build such a budget-minded dream sports car. Although we’ll have to see it to believe it, here’s what we know so far.

The mid-engine Toyota could be based on the GR Yaris platform

2023 Toyota GR Corolla
2023 Toyota GR Corolla | Toyota

To get one thing straight, the details on this mid-engine Toyota are all speculation for now. However, the folks at The Drive recently reported that the proposed sports car will be based on Toyota’s GA-B platform. That’s the same platform used on the GR Yaris. But instead of a fire-breathing turbocharged four-cylinder engine, this new sports car would be propelled by a 998cc turbo three-cylinder engine from Suzuki.

That would be the same engine found in the Suzuki Swift for those in the know. But instead of pumping out 109 hp and 125 lb-ft of torque like the Swift, the mid-engine car would likely make closer to 150 hp. As far as the transmission, The Drive reports that Toyota could utilize a traditional six-speed automatic to transmit power to the rear wheels. According to further speculation, this project could show up in a few years and cost around $25,000.

The plans for such a car fits in line with Toyota’s recent mixed-brand models

While the specs on this mid-engine Toyota are still rumors, the project makes sense, considering the Japanese automaker has teamed up with other rivals as of late. The Supra is a combination of Toyota’s collaboration with BMW, and the GR86 is its darling love child with Subaru. In that case, it’s not that much of a stretch that Toyota could team up with Suzuki on such a daring project.

This proposed sports car could fit the lineup but is still a pipe dream

1992 Toyota MR2
1992 Toyota MR2. | National Motor Museum/Heritage Images/Getty Images

That all being said, the issue remains of how this proposed car would fit in Toyota’s lineup. The forthcoming 2023 GR Corolla fills the void between the GR86 and the GR Supra. So it would make sense that a $25,000 sports car would round out the brand’s performance line. However, if we factor in any research and development costs, along with the question of whether or not the car could be hybrid, then the mid-$20,000 price range sounds like a lofty goal.

Ultimately, we would love to see a mid-engine, rear-drive sports car in Toyota’s lineup. After all, the Toyota MR2 was quite a sports car, and it didn’t have a ton of horsepower. But in today’s market, it’s more than likely that Toyota would build a hybrid sports car that costs more than $20,000 as opposed to a rear-drive sporty commuter.

Either way, we’ll just have to wait and see what the Japanese automaker has planned for the future. But if cars like the GR Corolla and GR86 are any indications of what Toyota is capable of doing, then we have high hopes for a mid-engine sports car in some form or another.

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