Go back in time when Back to the future was just coming out in movie theaters. There is a reason why Marty McFly was driving a Toyota 4x4.
It was popular and Toyota pickups were everywhere in North America. Were they under powered, sure. Did they feel stiff to drive, yes. Was your arm tired from shifting gears all the time. Maybe, but that was the fun in owning a 4×4 truck. You learned to adapt and you had fun driving it. Who wouldn’t have fun driving along a ravine with a hundred-foot cliff 3 inches from the passenger side and the back tires digging in as you release the clutch. Or coming down from a mountain logging road and falling into a washed-out creek. Fun! Now you strap a 500lb tent on top of the box and drive to work everyday wondering if you should open it up and see how the tent sets up.
Not to mention the gas you’re burning with all that weight your driving around with. Well not to worry because the Toyota Tacoma TRD is here to rekindle that lost spirt. And yes, it has an optional 6 speed manual transmission.
Classic interior with many tech upgrades. Seating for up to five with available premium leather seats and leather wrapped steering wheel. 4.2” TFT multi-information display featuring Apply Car play or Android Auto or upgrade to an 8” touch screen display, blind spot monitor, rear cross traffic alert and intelligent clearance sonar.
The Tacoma is equipped with a 3.5-litre, DOHC V6 with VVT-I mated to a 6-speed automatic or 6 speed manual transmission. The engine puts out 278 hp and 265 lb ft of torque. This combination of power and size allows you to tow up to 6500 lb and is equipped with trailer sway control.
Available electronically controlled locking differential provides more traction on the rear wheels. A Multi Terrain select regulates wheelspin by automatically adjusting the engine throttle and brakes, helping improve traction. Available crawl control that adjusts acceleration and braking when driving over rocks or slippery terrain and minimizes wheelspin and wheel lock up.
Optional features include a plethora of exterior goodies (bed hooks, cargo netting, step sides, blackout logos, etc.) as well as Fox racing shocks over the stock Bilstein’s. A TRD Performance Air Intake System is also optional for that extra oomph.
Sticker Price (MSRP):
4×4 Double cab 6A: $40,350
4X4 Access cab 6M: $43,050
4X4 Access cab 6A: $44,500
4X4 Double cab 6M SB: $46,340
4X4 Double cab 6A SB: $47,440
4X4 Double cab 6A SB LTD Nightshade: $53,390
4×4 Double cab TRD Pro A: $59,800
4X4 Double cab TRD Pro M: $55,730
ENGINE TYPE: DOHC 24-valve Atkinson-cycle V-6, aluminum block and heads, port and direct fuel injection
Displacement: 211 cu in, 3456 cc Power: 278 hp @ 6000 rpm Torque: 265 lb-ft @ 4600 rpm
TRANSMISSION: 6-speed automatic with manual shifting mode
For 2022, the Kona receives the magic we have seen in the Veloster Hatchback.
We have been anticipating Hyundai’s N performance sub-brand to integrate with more vehicles. The byproduct is an impressive turbocharged four-cylinder with sharp handling and stiff suspension. Additionally all the sporty goodies are present to the exterior: blacked-out grille, curved and vented front hood, large air intake, subtle light signatures, N badges, low profile tires, twin exhaust, and a red pin-stripe along the front bumper, skirt and diffuser. Inside the cabin, a red button on a perforated steering wheel is just screaming to be pushed. The button engages a boost mode, upping the 276-hp to 286 for 20-seconds. Seat coverings, more N badging, and Performance Blue accents complete the package.
Behind the Kona’s N aggressive-looking, hole-punched nose sits the turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder that propels the tuner Veloster. Oddly enough, on a bases the Kona makes 192-horsepower, however as the aforementioned red button will unleash 10 extra horsepower for 20-seconds. Currently the Kona does not share the manual transmission option seen in the Veloster. An eight-speed dual-clutch automatic shifts the Kona and boast the torque. The drivability is certainly pleasant. With engaging handling and responsive steering feedback this crossover embraces the N sport performance. The only knock, is that the interior can be a bit noisy at greater speeds and can feel almost too stiff at times.
Every Kona N gets launch control, 19-inch wheels wrapped in Pirelli P Zero summer tires, a variable exhaust system that should provide plenty of snaps and crackles, and the aforementioned overboost function.
Inside striking N-specific details such as the Performance Blue accents seats cut through the all-black interior to spruce it up a bit. The near suede racing seats with N stamped badges looks and feels dashing. Contrast stitching, steering wheel, shift knob and metal petals blends the sporty design with the simplicity of the original Kona. The digital gauge cluster measures 10.3 inches and looks modern. Hyundai adds a dash-mounted head-up display to show you how fast you’re going. Underlining the Kona N’s sporting intentions, the 10.3-inch infotainment screen will present racetrack-minded Kona N owners—all five of them—with track maps and lap-monitoring information. Other features include Harman Kardon brings an eight-speaker setup, and buyers can charge their phones wirelessly.
While this Kona is equipped with many features, we feel this may be a very niche option. While it’s a more practical Veloster, this model may be lost in the weeds for those not keen to the Hyundai racetrack-mind. Did I forget to mention the N buttons on either side of the steering wheel can be toggled to desired drive modes, and they can also start the lap timer. The ever growing variations of the Kona keep coming.
A well-sized, stylish, comfortable, and efficient hybrid the Volvo XC60 B6 is an overall complete package for the segment.
Volvo’s top selling SUV the XC60 has clean lines, tasty embellishments, and sleek style choices throughout with help standout in traffic. Inside serves as an upscaled oasis for the driver. Three powertrains are offered, including a plug-in-hybrid variant with strong performance. Integrated technology, including a 9.0-inch infotainment touchscreen, a 12.3-inch digital gauge display, and an abundance of driving assistance goodies.
Previous years saw the T5 and T6 powertrains for the XC60 which have dropped this year and replaced with similar setups dubbed B5 and B6, which both utilize a 48-volt hybrid system. The plug-in hybrid T8 powertrain continues to serve as the SUV’s top powertrain but gains a larger battery which extends its range to 56 Kilometers. Google Android interface runs the infotainment operation replacing the previous Sensus, keeping things more modern. The same 9.0-inch vertically-orientation screen remains but with an updated software, voice-assistance, and Google Maps navigation. Several subtle styling changes help distinguish the 2022 model including a modified grille, a reworked front bumper, updated wheel designs, and an optional upholstery option City Weave. In addition to the styling refresh and the new infotainment, Volvo also says there have been upgrades to the XC60’s various radar, camera, and ultrasonic sensors that provide data for the SUV’s driver-assistance systems.
As stated previously, the three different powertrains offered by Volvo —B5, B6, and the T8–in the XC60, are all mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. Under the hood of the base B5 is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and a 48-volt hybrid system producing 247 horsepower. The B6 is powered by the same 2.0-liter turbocharged four but a supercharger is added for the extra pep. With 295 horsepower, the B6 powertrain feels more of that supercharged oomph. The plug-in hybrid T8 borrows the same engine and pairs that with a set of electric motors for a total of 455 horsepower in the Recharge models. The XC60 drives corners well, feels tied to the road, and changes directions with confidence, but the ride can feel a touch harsh when driving over rougher stretches of road, but on smooth sections it’s agreeable and calm.
With interior styling and rich materials that mirror more expensive Volvos, the XC60 is like having your Kladdkaka and eating it too. The quiet, comfortable cabin also provides adult-sized accommodations in both rows. Clean lines and high-quality materials add a distinctly Scandinavian flavor to the XC60’s cabin—and we’d expect nothing less from a modern Volvo. Decent cargo-hauling capability puts the XC60 midpack among its rivals in our testing. Interior cubby storage is limited, and the sole cargo-area bin is among the smallest in class.
I know what your thinking! A Minivan. Did they not die out due to climate change?
Well, this new model by Toyota has been updated dramatically. It almost looks like a SUV.
Sleek body lines, extended sheet metal, stylish LED tail lights and headlights make this vehicle stand out, in fact the design was inspired by the Japanese Shinkansen Bullet Train. With the addition of an available cargo basket and rear tire rack you’re ready to tackle Overlanding. The Hybrid-Electric motor provides ample power and the exceptional fuel economy and leaves money in your pocket. I drove this vehicle for a week and I was impressed on the drive and comfort that this van provides. Easy loading electric side doors that can be opened with the key remote or the new kick sensor on the sides and rear offers fast accessibility. A variety of wheel options on select models available. 17” on LE and XLE models, 18” on XSE AWD and Limited AWD, and 20” on XSE FWD model. The latest Technology is abundant in this vehicle. Model specific sound system from 6 speaker all the way up to 12 speakers with premium audio with remote. 9” touch screen, SiriusXM Satellite radio, Apply CarPlay, Android Auto TM and navigation.
Available rear entertainment system that has a 11.6” display and features 1080p quality. Heated front seats with 8-way power adjustable drivers’ seat and 4-way power adjustable passenger seat with 2nd and 3rd row foldable 60/40 seats. The third row can be folded down into the floor to provide 75.2 cubic feet of storage to cram everything you may or not use on a weekend excursion. Oh, and in case you are wondering about cup holders, this van has a total of 18!
Starting at: $41,050 (XSE: $48,590)
LE Front wheel drive, 8 Passenger. LE All-wheel drive, 8 Passenger. XLE Front wheel drive, 8 Passenger.
XSE All wheel drive, 7 Passenger. XSE All wheel drive, 7 Passenger. Limited All wheel drive 7 Passenger
My test drive began in Toronto, which involved flying into Pearson Airport. Normally in any other year its busy but manageable. This year its like trying to exit a subway car in Manhattan during rush hour. Luckily, I carried my bag with me and the drive up north made all the travel woes go away. Beautiful countryside past Owen sound and up to Tobermory which was the destination for the day. The village lies next to Fathom Five National Marine Park which is home 19th century lighthouse and multiple shipwreck dive sites. The next morning, I woke up early to catch the ferry to Manitoulin Island which is the largest freshwater island in the world. Driving around Manitoulin Island was a real treat. I experience incredible views of Lake Huron and beautiful Cottages all along the route. Its quite strange to drive past large lakes withing the island that is in an even bigger lake. I stopped at a large quarry that GM set up an off-road course to take the AT4X through including steep hills and side angles that test the limits of what the truck can do. Our host Garry led us through some twisty areas that showcased the suspension travel and how with a little correction here and there can manage quite easily.
The on-board clinometer gauge that can show you what angle you are on. Back on the road again under sunny skies heading toward Killarney Mountain Lodge, nestled on the north shore of Georgian Bay. The drive was great, lush green trees on a 2-way road for many Kilometers until some ominous clouds started rolling in and day turned into night at 4pm. Clouds became heavier and a tornado warning began to flash on my phone. Trees began falling on each side of the road and the wipers were on the highest speed. It felt like I was a storm chaser but as quickly as it appeared it dissipated just as fast and the rain began to subside. Perfect timing as I entered the lodge. Time to relax.
New Vader inspired grille; 22-inch low gloss black with machined accent wheels. Body color front and rear bumpers and new LED lighting with animated lighting sequences that activate when approaching, starting or walking away.
GM has always done a good job with the interiors but they have defiantly out done them selves with ultimate series. Let’s start with the luxurious Alpine umber leather seats with the complementary plaited stitching. The seats are heated and cooling along with message option and 16-way adjustability. The 13.4” infotainment system has Google built right in. AM/FM/ SiriusXM radio capable with Bluetooth streaming audio, wireless Appl CarPlay, wireless Android Auto and voice activated technology. 12- Bose high performance Speakers with a Richbass Sub-woofer. large center console with an optional safe. Real wood grain door inserts and dash add a touch of class.
Sierra Denali Ultimate
Standard 6.2L EcoTec3 V8 that puts out 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque with an optional 3.0L inline six- cylinder diesel engine that makes 277 hp and 460 ib-ft of torque. Both engines connect to a 10-speed automatic transmission. First in class trailering capable Super Cruise. The system allows for hands free steering while on compatible roads across North America.
Standard 6.2L EcoTec3 V8 with 10 speed automatic transmission. 2-speed transfer case with selectable modes for the various off-road conditions. Front and rear e-locking differentials. 18-inch black wheels with LT265/70R18 Goodyear Wrangler Dura Trac Mud Terrains
GMC Pro safety includes forward collision alert, automatic emergency braking, lane keep assistance, forward distance indicator and trailer side blind zone alert which accounts for the length of the trailer when changing lanes.
Fuel economy 6.2L Gas 17.0 L/100 KM City / 12.7 L/100 KM highway 3.0L Diesel 10.5 L/100 KM / 9.1 L/100 KM highway
Price Denali Ultimate, Gas Starting at $94,683 inc shipping Denali Ultimate, Diesel Starting at $89,393 inc shipping
Although the Badlands is one of the most expensive models, it’ll also be the most capable off-road. Along with a 245-hp turbo-four engine—the more potent of the two available powerplants— and an enhanced all-wheel-drive system, the Badlands has a lifted suspension and upgraded dampers for tackling rugged terrain. Ford says it’s only going to build 2000 copies of the First Edition, which will be the most expensive Bronco Sport, but it gets all the goodies from the Bronco Sport Badlands as well as the more luxurious interior and black exterior accents from the Outer Banks model.</p><p>The Bronco Sport rides on the same platform that underpins the compact Escape crossover, and every model has all-wheel drive. A 181-hp, turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder is the base engine, but a 245-hp turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder is also available. Both pair with an eight-speed automatic transmission, but the more powerful engine brings steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters and upgraded cooling components. The Bronco Sport can also tow between 2000 and 2200 pounds. The Badlands and First Edition pack an assortment of exclusive equipment, including a twin-clutch rear-drive unit with a differential lock. They also have all-terrain tires mounted on 17-inch wheels, a 1.0-inch suspension lift for added ground clearance, and stouter shock absorbers. We noted its hefty steering and firm ride that made it feel truck-like, but not particularly smooth and steady on the highway. Its off-road abilities also exceeded expectations, but just remember that it still has limitations before you take it on more serious trips.
Inside, the Bronco Sport boasts an attractive design and a plethora of popular features. The little ute also has an impressive amount of space and several neat innovations. While its wheelbase is shorter than the Escape, the baby Bronco has an upright seating position and a decent amount of rear-seat legroom. Likewise, its roofline rises in the rear, providing additional headroom and enough cargo volume to fit two mountain bikes. The cargo hold can also be outfitted with a slide-out table that doubles as a workspace, a 400-watt power inverter, and LED lights built into the inside of the rear gate that provides overhead lighting. The rear gate features a glass hatch and a built-in bottle opener. The Badlands and First Edition models come with washable, rubberized flooring and upholstery that is easy to clean. Another neat trick is the storage bin that’s located under their back seats.</p><p>Every Bronco Sport features an 8.0-inch touchscreen that supports Ford’s Sync 3 software. It comes standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but it can be upgraded with SiriusXM satellite radio and a B&O audio system. In addition to touch-sensitive controls and voice commands, the infotainment interface can be operated with hard buttons as well as a volume and tuning knob.
The 2021 Ford Bronco Sport is the baby brother of the all-new, off-road-ready Bronco SUV, and a viable alternative to Jeep’s smaller models. With a boxy design that’s both cool and cute plus numerous innovative features, the Ford is poised to be popular. Every model comes with all-wheel drive, a host of driver assists, and a spacious cabin. For once, the Sport moniker is put to good use, because the little Bronco has enough interior space to carry two mountain bikes, as well as a configurable cargo area that transforms into a mobile basecamp. Most models will be a perfect companion for those buyers with “active lifestyles.” But the Bronco Sport also has capabilities that make it worthy of sharing one of the Blue Oval’s most storied SUV nameplates.
The Mercedes-Benz A35 aims to target the young crowd looking to delve into the luxury ride with sporty aspirations. Packed into the A35 is plenty of features, styling, and performance for the price tag. The 302-turbocharged four launches from a dead stop, and roars like a banshee that surely delight your desire for performance. The subtle slope on the roof from back to front, the cascading curve line on the side paneling , and the intricate front end really make this compact look agile and elegant. Inside the elegance continues with classic Mercedes styling to the dashboard, air vents, and a generous screen gauge combined with touchscreen infotainment display. Tying everything together is a modern cabin-lining ambient lighting to really wow the passengers. Though it’s the littlest car in the Mercedes lineup, the A35 sits atop the A-class with an AMG-enhanced turbocharged 4MATIC. However, if that doesn’t do it for you, perhaps its slightly larger platform-mate, the CLA, will; it can be had with a rowdy 382-hp four-cylinder.
In Canada we have the option of choosing the A35 in either sedan or hatchback. The neighbors to the south will only have the Sedan. The comparisons between the two are 420 litres of seats-up capacity in the sedan compared to the hatchback’s 370 litres, but the hatchback configuration is much more dynamic.
Under the A35’s hood sits an AMG enhanced turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that produces 302 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. All-wheel drive comes standard, and the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic boasts a launch-control feature that propels acceleration from a complete standstill. The hatchback itself being a lower profile and agile vehicle, the quickness and response was appreciated. The optional adaptive dampers for a more superior sport feel and handling prestige are nice, but this comes with a bit of stiffness and jolt when hitting the occasional pot hole or expansion joint.
Inside the cabin, the feeling is definitely snug. This is common with a sporty vehicle and the A35 is nothing short of that , as well as Mercedes staying true to its AMG brand. Starting with the steering wheel, the perforated leather is wrapped throughout, with the signature straight bottom. Paddle-shifters for manual control of the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission comes standard. A35s cabin features a true “wow factor” reminiscent of any Miami club. The 64-color ambient-light system complete with backlit center vents comes standard this year. If you want a little more luxury, Mercedes offers real wood accents in place of the standard aluminum trim as well as leather upholstery. I would say the wood looks a bit out of place in something that appears to be going for a certain “look” and feel, but to each there own. As the smallest of AMG’s models, the A-class will undoubtedly be a tight fit for some, but we find its rear seat accommodates most people reasonably well and we had zero complaints from passengers.
While it’s not unique to the A35 strictly, the double widescreen display made up of two LCD monitors- one screen dedicated for the gauges and the other controlling the infotainment system-protected by one long piece of glass stretching across the dash. Drivers have the ability to control the MBUX infotainment system by way of steering-wheel buttons, touchpad on the center console, manually tapping the touchscreen, or direct voice command. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration comes standard. Mercedes provides five USB-C ports throughout the cabin plus an eight-speaker stereo. Optional though, you can upgrade to a 12-speaker sound system made by Burmester sound system.
AMG A 35 4MATIC Hatch $51,100
The Mercedes-Benz A35 is about more than just getting from point A to point B quickly in a straight line, though. It is great at winding its way down twisty roads, too, although it does it in a manner that is better described as surefooted and predictable rather than playful and fun. This does mean it is very easy to drive quickly, though.
The standard four-wheel-drive system is able to judge whether you are better off with power going to the front or the rear wheels and it adjusts accordingly. This helps get you around corners in a more suitable fashion.
The A35 borrows a feature from Mercedes’ more expensive AMG GT 4 Door model – an adjustable suspension using a dial on the wheel.
Pop it into the most comfortable setting and the A35 settles down well on long motorway journeys. The large wheels mean that there is a bit more noisy.
You can also opt for a host of driver aids that’ll let it brake, accelerate, blind spot detection and lane assist – perfect for taking the stress out of rush-hour traffic.
Mercedes-AMG A35 4MATIC Hatchback
VEHICLE TYPE front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan
PRICE AS TESTED $52,705 (base price: $45,945)
ENGINE TYPE turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve inline-4, aluminum block and head, direct fuel injection
Refined luxury and top performance elevate this SUV to new heights over the competition
Taking some styling cues from its big brother, this sibling is ready to impress. The three-row SUV has plenty of room inside and small enough to be agile in tight places.
Aviator grille has the Lincoln logo prominently in the center with a field of repeating Lincoln logo like shapes. Brilliant design and adds class to an already classy vehicle.
The Aviator is equipped with Co-Pilot360, which is a technology that has your back while driving. It includes evasive steering assist, reverse braking assist, active parking assist, lane centering, adaptive cruise control, and traffic sign recognition. Pixel LED adaptive headlights to shine further while driving on the highway and at slower speeds the ability to cast a larger light pool helping to illuminate potential hazards. The adaptive dynamic bending lighting uses camera technology to read road signs and lane markings to pre-illuminate the direction the road is heading. I drove by a sign that said Cliff, and I was worried about what it might do! You can sync your smartphone with the Lincoln app and utilize your phone as a key. As you approach the vehicle, the headlights, taillights, and a welcome mat is projected under the doors, all done in sequence, gradually reaching full illumination. The interior is well laid out and very comfortable, typical of what you would expect from a high-end SUV, but wait, there is more. The warning chimes are musical notes by the Detroit Symphony orchestra. You can smell the luxury as you drive down the road. I was so wrapped up in it. I rolled down the window and asked the car next to me if he had any gray Poupon. Ok, maybe not. A lot of thought went into the design of the interior, excellent use of wood styling and easy to use buttons are well placed, except the touch screen. At first, I thought someone left their iPad in the dash, but no, it’s the infotainment system. That’s about the only thing that looked out of place. Everything else looked great.
Mileage numbers are 13.7 L/100km City / 9.7 L/100km Highway
The Aviator comes standard with a Twin-turbo 3.0L V6 engine that creates 400 horsepower and 415 lb-ft of torque. The Grand Touring model comes with the same twin-turbo 3.0L V6 but adds an advanced electric powertrain that combines to produce 494 horsepower and 630 lb-ft of torque.
If you are looking for luxury without sacrificing performance, then take a test flight; I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
2 models to choose from. Lincoln Aviator reserve with a starting price of $63,821 and the Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring. $75,083.
Guest writer Jamie Burgis take us for a cruise on the powerful, yet comfortable Yamaha Roadstar Warrior
I start with a quick walk of the vehicle. My first impressions of the motorcycle; I noticed the long sleek lines, curvature of the body, and powerful stance. It looks fast standing still. This motorcycle would fall in the class of sport cruiser, trying to offer a good amount of power along with comfortability for longer rides. When you first get on the bike, you notice it feels like a hefty bike with a long wheelbase and a substantial weight. I find the saddle large, comfortable, and they make you feel secure. This model also includes a small stock passenger seat. The handlebars are quite agreeable, just below shoulder height for me. The mirrors are reasonable in size and are well-positioned, which is essential as it provides excellent visibility. Seeing well and being seen are important parts of feeling confident on any bike. The rest of the controls and display are well laid out and easy to read but sadly no gas gauge.
I headed out on a beautiful spring morning, the feeling of the crisp, clean air and the sun on my shoulders was invigorating. Feeling free as a bird as I glided along, secure in the comfort of the symbiotic relationship between man and machine. A feeling of peaceful joy came over me, rolling down the twists, turns, and straightaways of a long scenic country road. Childlike glee as I twisted the throttle braced against the wind. It was such a relaxing feeling being able to live in the moment, only focusing on the ride and the road ahead. All the stresses of daily life quickly melting away. Peace and solitude are rare and valuable things in today’s world, so finding them wherever you can is vital for everyone. I, as many others do, find it in the open road and through my unique experience of riding.
With such a large displacement, I immediately noticed this is a very loud and powerful motorcycle. The throttle response is incredible and could be a little bit scary for some people. I found it had excellent torque and acceleration all the way through the gears at low or high RPMs. This is not a bike for beginners. Be prepared to have to hold on tight with a bike like this. I found the handling to also be exceptional for a bike of this size and weight. It leaned over smoothly and effortlessly. I could feel it gripping the road in the corners. The braking threshold was great on this machine, which is super important when riding with this kind of power.
Overall, this was a very fun bike to ride. A very powerful yet relaxing ride, with a very capable engine, nice upright riding position. I could comfortably ride this all day. Some of the drawbacks I found were having absolutely no storage and very limited options available for this bike, and yes, the aforementioned missing gas gauge! Some of the pluses are the cost and reliability of this model. If speed and comfort are important attributes for you, then I would definitely rank this among the more interesting models in the sport/cruiser class
Model: Roadstar Warrior
Engine: 1698cc Fuel injected, belt drive, air-cooled
Introducing the all-new BMW Supra... Wait, I meant to say Toyota!
Check out our video review below!
Since the end of the fourth-generation Supra in 2002, fans have been begging for a return of the Supra. While in between, we were given a severely insufficient Toyota 86 to hold our tongues; finally, the Supra has made its return. An exoskeleton of the BMW Z4, Toyota has built upon that along with a little Toyota flare to become the by-product of the next great sports car.
Underneath, the Supra shares a platform, running gear, engine, gearbox, and large chunks of the interior with the latest Z4. Not being the first example of Toyota partnering with others to collaborate on a version with a Toyota badge. (Subaru BRZ/Scion FRS/Toyota 86).
But this partnership is different because the Supra is a huge deal. It’s not a run of the mill newly introduced small coupe. The Supra badge has a history as a staple in Japanese car culture alongside the greats like the Honda NSX, Nissan Skyline, and Nissan GT-R.
While the DNA is the same, The Supra, in my opinion, is better looking than the Z4, no doubt about it. It’s well proportioned, striking, and eye-catching throughout.
Under the hood sits BMW’s B58 single turbo 3.0-liter straight six, developing identical power figures (335bhp and 369lb ft of torque) to the Z4 M40i. This is sent to the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission. 0-100km takes 4.3 seconds. The body is more rigid than the Lexus LFA’s, weight distribution is 50:50. Leaving aside the BMW controversy, you’ve got to admit it looks good on paper.
It’s excellent to drive. The Supra is crisp, responsive, well connected, confidence-inspiring, and quick. The fact that Toyota has been able to take the same mechanicals as BMW and shape them into a proper sports car that’s perhaps the most impressive aspect of the Supra. But it is not all entirely successful, so let’s start there. The paddle downshifts can be a fraction delayed and upshifts can surge on you.
Similarly, the engine has plenty of mid-range shove, but at higher RPM’s there’s not much point. The brakes do fade, but it does have bigger brakes, using 13.7-inch vented discs in front and 13.6-inch vented discs in the rear, 1.0 inch and 0.8 inches larger than the old car (which also had vented discs). But it’s the good stuff that dominates the experience. The front wheels unfailingly go where you aim them, and the rear axle is communicative and well supported. What this means is that the Supra moves into corners well, and it gets out of them well, too. The steering set-up – especially in Sport (that or Normal are your only choices) – is lovely, well-weighted, and responsive. It’s too light in Normal. Turning is decisive, and it feels agile, thanks to its short 2,470mm wheelbase.
Here is the thing; we can forgive the non-Toyota engine, but it’s hard to forgive the lack of innovation in the cabin. The Supra is a BMW inside. Of course, this means it’s got the material quality and tactility it wouldn’t have had otherwise, and some people will see that as a plus. And once again, if you aren’t familiar with BMW, it’s not going to offend you. But here’s Toyota, the world’s largest car company, having slapped a body on top of a BMW, It’s just an odd thing to do with a brand with such history for Toyota.
The rev counter is Toyota’s own, but the steering wheel definitely isn’t. The same goes for the heating controls, graphics, USB slots, switchgear, door handles, etc. Ignoring the BMW influences then: the driving position is excellent. You sit low, the standard seats wrap around your back as bucket seats do, however over the shoulder visibility is horrible. Two seats and two people have adequate space inside. The infotainment is intuitive as BMW’s go. No complaints as the rotary are easy to manage and operate.
After all is said and done, it’s like BMW built a better Toyota. It’s impossible to separate the new Supra from its underpinnings – not least because they are always staring you in the face when you get in. But in the end, Toyota has built a very talented driver’s car. It’s a very complete coupe. Big enough inside, well equipped, handsome, rapid, and good-natured. It’s grown-up yet compact, agile, and smooth. It’s a smart piece of engineering. A car you’d enjoy driving anywhere, a car that probably strikes the best compromise of GT and sportiness of any car in its class.