Once upon a time, there were three brothers named Celica, Supra, and MR2. Their parents loved them equally. The Celica was the most popular. The Supra was the fastest. But the MR2 was the best combination of the two and had the most ardent suitors. According to reports this week from and , the MR2 is coming back, and his brothers may not be far behind.
In fact, Toyota already has the 86 (aka FR-S aka BRZ aka Toyobaru) to be the Celica all over again. The Supra is on the way back thanks to Toyota’s partnership with BMW on a future sports car. All that’s missing is something to spiritually replace the MR2. Toyota needs a third sports car in the worst way to complement the other two.
What will it look like? When will it arrive? How much will it cost? Good heavens, tell us everything!
The closest current and real-world approximation to the pure MR2 is Honda’s S660. That’s a mid-engined Kei roadster, currently on sale in Japan. It’s small in stature and length, powered by a 0.66-liter inline-three. There is speculation that Toyota will compete directly with the S660. They would look to their small car specialist at Daihatsu, borrow an engine and “Pow.” A mid-engined MR2.
That idea appears to be the current leader in the minds of Toyota brass. But, there is another idea that would be a simpler developmental project from Toyota’s perspective. They could adapt the existing Daihatsu Copen roadster.
While the Copen is front-wheel drive and with the engine in the front, it’s a small roadster weighing almost nothing. It already sells well abroad and carries with it a 1300cc engine. Toyota could slightly restyle it to look like the S-FR concept of a couple years ago.
The S-FR itself is a third option, made more attractive if Toyota decides to go the convertible route with its new pocket rocket. Some insiders from Toyota believe in a flip-top compliment to the fixed-roof lineup. The S-FR concept car utilizes a front engine, rear drive layout that would borrow some engineering from that drawing board.
How much will these three cars cost? The best estimates are as follows:
Expect the new Celica to go for about $26,000. Expect the Supra to be at, or near, the $40,000 mark. Expect the MR2, in whatever iteration Toyota decides will work best, to settle near $36,000.
There are tons of design, engineering, and marketing hurdles for any sports car to jump before it can be green-lighted. The accountants’ office tosses obstacles in the path because bean counters aren’t about fun cars. But this news will make former Toyota owners smile. They already have memories of being pushed back into the seat by the acceleration of an MR2.
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