Sunday, November 6, 2011

Toyota's FT-86: A blessing or a curse?

You all saw it coming...we're all enthusiasts and we've been following the development of the Toyota FT-86 (aka Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ) with hungry eyes.  Why?  Because enthusiasts want that visceral feel of a Miata, S2000 and Elise plus a few seats and cargo room.  If you could have it all, wouldn't you want a Dodge/Mercedes Sprinter van's utility with the communicative feel and weight of the Elise plus a price tag of the Miata? 

However, enthusiasts are clashing with fanboys and themselves.  We always find something to complain about even though an inexpensive, lightweight, rear-drive 2+2 coupe is, by its very existence, a blessing.  Here's some of the issues on which we don't stand united:

1.  The badge.  The US will be getting the Scion.  The rest of the world will be getting a Toyota badge.  Toyota AE86 purists are either happy that its not a true replacement to their babies or are unhappy that Toyota didn't offer a continuation to the AE86's legacy.  On top of that, enthusiasts feel that the Scion brand is more of a "poser" or "immature" brand and will water down the significance of the vehicle they buy.  These enthusiasts say they don't want to drive the same car as a 16-year old high school girl that just got her license. I say a true enthusiast wouldn't care about the brand, just the car.  If you're caught up in the image of the car, you were never an enthusiast from the beginning.  Just admit you don't want to get a Miata because, while its some of the most fun you've ever had behind the wheel, you don't want people to think you're a homosexual.  P.S.:  there's something called the Volkswagen Eos.  Its taken the Miata's feminine/homosexuality crown. 

2.  The badge.  Subaru's getting the car too but some Subaru enthusiasts are in a rage about its not having AWD, like all the other cars in the Subaru line-up (in the US).  We're all enthusiasts so why the hate?  Its geared toward enthusiasts, and so is Subaru.  And for the people that don't want the Scion-branded car, the Subaru exists.  It gives us options to have the Scion and Subaru available to us, so we should be glad. 

3.  The availability.  Is this going to be the next Japanese sporty car seen at every damn red light you're at?  The elitist in me says that such a thing would be a travesty and I'll never be seen in a car that everyone's driving.  But the rational enthusiast in me says that if this thing succeeds to such a level, then maybe more car companies will see that a car like this is a viable product in their portfolios. 
Remember cars that everyone bought that were more enthusiast-minded?

Ok, maybe that Eclipse wasn't a very good example because production has stopped.  And the 370Z isn't selling too hot either.  But the cars shown (95-99 Eclipse and 2003-2008 350Z) are cars we see all the time because non-enthusiast people bought them.  The last car, the BMW 3-series is maybe the epitome of what this car should strive to be:  still in production!  So lets keep it affordable, good-looking and practical for people to buy it.  But don't soften it up or we may go the way of the Eclipse (R.I.P.) and don't make it too expensive, impractical and enthusiast-minded (like the S2000). 

1 comment:

  1. weak blog, ill be surprised if you are still posting in a month