Toyota FT-86 G Sports ConceptEnlarge Photo
When it rains, it pours. It seems that the FT-86, the everyman’s LF-A, seems to be drifting farther and farther from the original concept of a cheap, lightweight, rear-wheel-drive coupe for the twenty-something demographic into something more upscale and expensive for those in their thirties and forties that could bring less-sporty features.
Now 7tune.com is reporting , via Japanese Magazine Best Car, that because of the amazing success of Honda’s CR-Z, that Toyota might be considering scrapping most of the drive train to turn the FT-86 into a hybrid to get a piece of the “sporty” hybrid pie.
While these are just rumors, there might be some credibility to the story. More often than not, a hybrid system’s gasoline engine is normally a very small displacement engine of 1.5L or less. Back on the 10th of this month, we reported that Road & Track said Toyota was working on a “baby” version of the FT-86 using a 1.5L four cylinder. The CR-Z also uses a 1.5L inline-four, so the “baby” could be a “hybrid” version instead.
A hybrid-version could go either way. On one hand, Toyota could produce a sporty hybrid with more emphasis on performance than fuel economy like the not-so-sporty CR-Z. However, they could also screw it up just like Honda managed to do.
The article also states that the FT-86 is being pushed back from 2011 to 2013.
Toyota should look at their model range and compare it to Honda’s. Honda has more fun vehicles in their line up, like the SI Civic, and could afford to make a slightly boring hybrid. Toyota doesn’t have much leeway in this instance, and could lose the youth market that it wants to gain with the FT-86.
[Source: Best Car via 7Tune]