Toyota 086A: Target Market Change, Power Drop

Fans of the upcoming Toyota/Subaru JDM 086A compact sports car might be a little disappointed with current rumors out of Japan, a decent power drop is on the cards in order to lower emissions and make the car more economical.


It’s well established now that the JDM 086A will take center stage at Toyota’s stand at the Tokyo Motor Show (TMS) in October, with many fans of the AE86, both young and old(er) relieved that the car wasn’t axed in the wake of the global economic crisis. With new reports though it now seems that the specification of the JDM 086A will change slightly once again to meet other criteria, that being the dreaded “eco car” movement and a switch to a much older target market than what was first considered.

Firstly, the power output. We should now expect the 086A’s FJ20 2000cc boxer four to produce 160PS, a good 40PS less than was previously quoted which is all due to stricter economy and emissions targets. Toyota/Subaru haven’t let this dilute the performance as we’re told the car has also lost some weight in order to keep a respectable power to weight ratio. We’re not told how much weight was trimmed or even how much the revised car now weighs in total, but it’s apparent both Toyota and Subaru are under increasing pressure to produce a car that can be marketed as an “eco car” in Japan.

Marketing is one of the big subjects involving the 086A and its presence at the TMS is primarily to gauge crowd reaction. The car that will be exibited will include styling cues that could very well be changed before the car goes to production giving show goers the opportunity to express their like or dislike of the design. It goes to show how serious Toyota is about the success of the 086A and the lengths taken to ensure that their development team are well aware of what the market is thinking. If you can make it to the TMS or not, make sure you leave your opinion online because Toyota and Subaru are listening!

In a surprising but understandable move Toyota and Subaru have also revised the marketing strategy of the 086A to focus on a core 30 – 50 year old target market. In previous reports we were told that the target market would be of a younger age to appeal to the new wave of FR sports car enthusiasts, however we’re now told that Toyota plans to cash in on older car enthusiasts who bought, or grew up with the original AE86. Nostalgia could play a big part in Toyota’s marketing campaign which, in Japan at least, could work very well indeed given the relatively low asking price of 2,500,000 JPY.

The 086A is still expected to debut towards the end of 2011.

Words: Justin Karow
Image: Best Car

60 thoughts on “Toyota 086A: Target Market Change, Power Drop”

  1. 160bhp from the EJ20 is total crap, they really need to put a turbo on it. Its gonna be like those non turbo silvia’s, no body wanted them!

  2. hmm. ok now i believe it will be at the tokyo show. but that doesnt look like a ae86 in any way,, how can they advertize it as connected with the ae86? (i think i uinderstood it right)

  3. Uh what 30 to 50 year old is going to buy a $20k eco ‘sports car’. What person any age would buy such a car? Hey maybe if they sell them without an engine they will be popular for people to pick their own engines that arent run by beanpods.

  4. STJ: Previously reports said it would be an EJ20, but this time they specifically said “FJ20”. Small detail I know but thought I’d make a note of it.

    dorichan: That’s just a render by Best Car. You’ll have to wait until October before getting an idea of what the production car will look like.

  5. I’m all for a compact sports car. We need more stuff like this in the US. If the car weighs in at 2400 pounds 160 HP is more than enough. The driving dynamics need to be responsive and rewarding. Oh BTW, I’m a 30-50 year old who would buy this if it’s done right.

  6. In times where a ordinary golf GTI has 210 hp, 160 horses for an fr- sportscar is too low.
    What about the turbo version whith the subaru boxer-engine?

  7. I was going to buy it when they sad that it will be over 200bhp, now 160bhp is less then the auris sr180 that have a desiel engine.
    i will go for other cars if tey make it like this – toyota cannot make sports car thats it….

  8. This is ridiculous. Are eco nuts sports car enthusiasts in Japan or something? That doesn’t make any sense. That certainly isn’t the case in the US. They’re trying to sell this car to two opposite ends of the market and they’re probably not going to end up appealing to either.

    I’m all for the lighter weight, however. Performance cars are are becoming way too heavy these days.

  9. They’ve wanted to build this car down to a price so it ws never going to be turbo let alone pack some serious power under the hood (necessitating stronger driveline etc). If anything the lighter weight and “limited” power is more in line with the AE86 so I guess the best thing is to think of it as a 21st century rendition of an old classic.

  10. A drop in power could mean a less hardcore sports car. I like that. How many cars are RWD and have low hp nowadays? It should fill up the gap.

  11. Hmmm…40hp loss? That’s pretty bad, well you can always add one or two turbos and other goodies to increase power. Still what’s with the TVR design?

  12. That picture doesn’t look like a 4 seat FR? I have a feeling that 086A will weight ~2800lbs (kinda too much for me) as for power, it’s okay (most of us will not stay stock if we had that car)

  13. I really like the way this car looks, but I don’t think they should call it the “086A”, or “Trueno”, or “Sprinter”, or anything that harkens back to the car from which this car is supposed to take inspiration from (the AE86).

    Really, besides the NA engine and FR platform, the AE86 and “086” cars share almost nothing in common.

    For starters, the 086 is not a sporty variant of the Corolla, nor does it appear to have four seats or a liftback/trunk (boot) option like its predecessor.

    The “boxy” design of the AE86 isn’t referenced or apparent at all. Perhaps the designers didn’t want to make this an homage to its origins or maybe it’s because interest in boxy vehicles in general (think circa 2005 Toyota bB and Cube) may already be starting to wane in Japan, even though it’s still a fairly fresh idea Stateside.

    In essence, this car is actually Toyota’s successor to the MR2. It’s a low priced sports car entry, but instead of the unique MR platform, they’ve gone the slightly more conventional FR on this one. This is Toyota’s answer to the MX-5/Miata, albeit 20 years later.

  14. I quite like the idea of an FR hybrid sports its a step in the right direction and with techonology these days, im sure modifying it for users specfic needs wont be too far away with the myriad of aftermarket part producers in japan, they will see this as one of the latest “cheap” car accesible to young enthusiats and thus pounce on it to produce aftermarket tuning support, also you guys who are complaining about how it doesnt resemble the original ae86 or trueno or levin badge, please keep in mind that the trueno badge for example after the ae86 chassis was infact carried over to a FWD car with a 20v does that in your eyes have the right to wear the trueno badge? probably not, i think people should keep an open mind and be happy that toyota are producing a performance car that is FR

  15. This could be a brilliant decision by Toyobaru.

    Some observations:

    1) The EJ20, obviously, takes to turbocharging like a fish to water. I’m sure the 160hp figure was achieved by lowering the compression ratio to something more turbo friendly…
    2) A large part of the Scion story is the warranty-friendly dealer-installed ‘aftermarket’ parts.
    3) Insurance costs and ‘greenyness’ of a model are determined by HP/MPG figures respectively. A 200hp model would incur penalties on both of these metrics.

    If Toyobaru follows the Scion model with this car, they could offer a $4500 dealer-installed performance package (turbo, LSD, exhaust, intake, aero) that would skate past CAFE and insurance watchdogs and still be inline with a base vs. sport model pricing arrangement.

  16. ^^^^
    I agree with Todd. I believe this car still might have great potential knowing how well the EJ20 and EJ25 have been to turbo charging.

  17. The HP drop is okay with me, I man better this than nothing at all. Besides there always be aftermarket parts.

  18. I guess loosing 40 hp is really not that big of a deal… I currently drive a Matrix XRS here in California and it outputs 180 hp and it is a heavy ride and still provides a nice performance so a lighter car with 160 hp sounds like a deal to me, plus there is always aftermakets for this situations…

  19. If the rumours are true and 086a gets direct injection, then i wouldn’t be counting on any kind of tuning. Just look at the Lexus IS250/350 they have been out for 4 years now and they are impossible to tune because DI!

  20. No tuning for the IS250/350 have you heard of two little companies names TOM’S & LMS… they have a whole catalog for aftermarket parts and superchargers for these series…

  21. maybe the 160hp is the standard model there will be for sure a sports version i think, and by the way 2.0lt – 160hp make no sense maybe they will offer smaller engines. in europe vw and honda they offer 2.0lt engines producing more then 200bhp.. 160hp is to low for a fr coupe. last coupe toyota offered was the celica and it had a 1.8 vvt-i engine with 140hp they offered also the 1.8 vvtl-i engine with more then 180hp and dont foget the celica gt or trd.

  22. I’d trade 40 hp for the loss of 250 kg any day. Colin Chapman understood this and if you don’t, you never will. Vehicle dynamics are more important than specs.

  23. Sooooo let Hyundai win the sport,light weight segment with the Genesis? Lose market share?

    There are many cars oriented for “Mature” people, Toyota needs a sport compact car

  24. That’s some bull. I swear if Toyota/Subaru f’k this up, I’ll never buy another one of their EVER cars again.

    Changing market focus? Eco car status? Tread very f’king lightly Toyota, you are on thin ice.

    I love to tune and tinker as much as anyone else, but I also believe if you are going to do something, do it right the first time. Sure, make it aftermarket friendly, but also make it good out of the gate.
    At 160ps, this thing would need to be less than 2400lbs (read…. not possible with Legacy/Impreza chassis 2+2) to be as “fast” as the over bloated genesis 2.0T …. which already gets 21/30 MPG.

    A corolla XRS with a curb weight of 2900lbs gets an average FE of 28mpg (rated at 22/30) out of 160hp, a civic si with it’s 200hp engine and similar curbweight 21/29 … 24mpg combined.

    Do we really need a 40mpg “sports” car? If this thing was really supposed to be light weight (read.. 2700lbs or less), then a 23/32 rated FE..say around 27mpg avg/combined (if not better) should be perfectly possible. This while being almost as fast as a genesis v6.

    Seriously, if you are going to half ass this thing, don’t bother.

  25. @Pepster

    What tuning you can get a supercharger that gets you 50bhp for over $10000! And not any kind of turbo charging is impossible thanks to the DI and high compression.

  26. If it’s appropriately lighter to make up for that 40PS, sure, that’s fine. I doubt this will be the case, though. I hope I’m wrong.

    Also, as far as I’ve known, NA EJ20s don’t respond well to turbocharging.

  27. Toyota please don’t screw this up. We don’t necessarily need a turbo version, but this car have to perform well. Reduced weight is good news, but 160hp might be too little according to today’s sports car standards even if the car is comparatively light.

    It is ok to offer an entry level version if there will also be a more performance oriented one which will be able to compete with Civic Type-R and Focus RS.

    Under 1200kg car with 200hp sounded very good.
    I think Toyota already screwed up when they did not offer MR-S with the 2zz engine like they did with Celica GTS, and lost a lots of sales with that to MX-5 and S2000.

  28. We don’t need another eco-car, we already have Yaris and Aygo. Please make this light with decent performance, it does not need 10 airbags (2 are enough), it does not need AWD, it does not need turbo, just keep it simple, light and put in a decent engine.

  29. STJ: Although they didn’t mention it, I’m assuming Best Car made reference to a new engine designation for this particular 2.0L flat four with direct injection and maybe some other differences from the EJ20. Like I say I thought I’d just mention it in case they *are* onto something here and the FJ20 is a “eco car” option with the EJ20 200PS version for export markets? We can only hope.

    dss10: Totally agree there. Light weight is the key to this cars performance so we’ll have to wait and see how well it goes with the lower power output… it’ll never be quick but could be a very good drive. I have a 130PS (stock!) 4AGE in my AE86 Corolla Levin, it’s underpowered I admit, but somehow it’s more than acceptable given the handling characteristics. I hope the 086A is the same.

  30. SteveTX: RE: the styling paying homage to the AE86, I think they’ve had to forego that part of the design because the car is to be badged as a Subaru as well… they’re trying to appeal to a lot of people with this car.

  31. It’s pretty bad if the car isn’t out yet and we’re already talking about NEEDING to mod it… on that note, EJ25T swap!

  32. So about 117kw at the engine, keen to see the weight then… honestly the only advantage over an mx5 I can see is the 2 extra seats (weight) and the ’86’ lineage. Some sort of north-south converted “2zz” engine would have been better if this came out a few years back 🙁

    An ej20 turbo swap would probably be piss easy, but I imagine you’d be replacing the entire drive line while you were at it $$

    And I also agree with just about everything already written.

  33. Wow… I agree with everyone here who’s a little disappointed with this news. I am happy to hear that the car has lost even more weight but I was counting on 200HP. My Prelude has 200HP and as nice as it is to drive it’s not fast and its power is to me borderline acceptable for a 3000lb sportscar.

    I’ve got the bug for a turbocharged car that is RWD and as a “core 30-50 year old” target buyer I’m interested in moving up to 300HP not 160. I’m looking at the Genesis Coupe R-Spec as a close fit. Toyota’s car had better be extremely impressive and still do 0-60 in less than 7 seconds even despite the great handling if Toyota wants to steer me from that direction. That would effectively replace my Prelude’s performance with a far better chassis.

    I am also hoping that this remains an acceptable 2+2 design as was the original AE86.

  34. hey

    well well well

    i have 2 question that clarify that this article is just a mess rumor not the true thing

    1)why toyota decrease the power of TOYOBARU and make it green car if already their ‘ll be the MR-S which ‘ll be a PRIUS performance coupe
    hint the PRIUS coupe (MR-S)’ll got around 150BHp?

    2)is it the new supra ‘ll be green also as a big and performance version of the MR-2?

    so i think the AE-86 or TOYOBARU or CELICA or whatever they ‘ll going to named it still the same no rules changed
    they wanna resurrect the 3 names (SUPRA,CELICA&MR)because they know they need more soul in their line up

    final thing
    may be it is true and they ‘ll decrease the HP in version of the 3 cars made

    and i think the one that they ‘ll decrease it’s power 40HP is the SCION TC neither the TOYOTA version nor the SUBARU one because they need it sharp and wild as much as it can to boost the sales back

  35. @Shadowsong6

    Its best car in the last month or so they have released 4 renderings of what the toyobaru should look like. Not even a month ago they were saying it would look like the LF-A, but it looks like they changed there mind.

  36. nooooo you did not mention an amerikan car !!! shame on youuu 😛 kidding it does look like the now defunct pontiac

  37. The reason this won’t compete against the Prius based sports car is that it’ll be in a different price bracket. Hybrids are quite expensive.

  38. STJ: Exactly, while they mentioned it would look like an LF-A, for “publishing reasons” (read: not reprinting the same render over and over as if to say it’s exactly what it’ll look like) they create an new render each time they print an article to keep the readership guessing just how accurate it is, if at all.

    Myself, I concentrate more on the text and take the renders with a big grain of salt. I *do* believe though that Toyota will (for their version at least) include some type of family resemblance, possibly using styling cues from the FT-HS… the LF-A is a Lexus so if it does look anything like the LF-A it’ll probably have a similar basic shape only.

  39. 30 TO 50 YO DEMOGRAPHIC THOUGHT PROCESS: Hmmm. 160 hp is adequate for a car of this target weight. But $26000 and change is too close to $30000 for my tastes. (Isn’t $26k the same price as a WRX?) It’s not exactly what I want, (only 2 doors and Subaru engines sound like air cooled VWs) but, as always, there’s no direct competition (Genesis is too big and heavy, Miata and Solstice is too small, Mustang is too Ford) so I guess its this or nothing. Now that I am in their new target market how can I resist? Sales by default. It’s how Japan does business.


  40. ok, lots comment on new 86A, for me, there are a lot saying in the article,
    fine, minus 40ps, but please make sure that power-to-weight ratio not change or make it less than 1000kg. next is AE86 didn’t have any thing like ABS, power steering, high under and many more, so, does that apply to new 86A since the target is for AE86 users?
    @ alfaking : i agree with you. make it much more cheaper means it inherit it’s predecessor. AE86 is quite cheap at the time it was launch.
    so toyota, mind read all this stuff? all the best at TMS

  41. This is the best concept of a sports car that Toyota or Subaru have come up with for ages, BUT Toyota already has heaps of ECO cars coming up in its stable ie the new MR2 Hybrid , recently released Prius and Subaru has a diesel in its range , so keep this new child pure its a sportscar ; pure performance , pure fun and pure excitement. Please don’t dilute with eco ideas , dont throw this baby amongst the many hybrid cars being made anyway , make it stand out!, this is for the purists at heart simple as that!

    ps please ship to Australia : )
    pretty please : )

  42. Scarlet Pimpernel

    COME ON Toyota ! As always you seem to be drinking toooooo much saki and playing it tooooo safe when it omes to car design. If you really want to compete successfully in overseas markets (read: USA & Europe) and to be taken SERIOUSLY, than you have to give the “086a” sports car a seriously high revving and performance oriented engine – and that means matching or exceeding the Miata-MX5’s horsepower output for heaven’s sake…. When will Toyota and Mazda and Nissan and Hyundai learn that when consumers who shop for sports cars in the US, Canada, and Europe will laugh at their anemic offerings if the engine output is not a strong one. Come-On Toyota: keep to the 2.0 liter and 197 horse-power design and for God’s sake make it look like a sexy beast (as pictured in “7Tune’s” rendition) as opposed to a stupid looking goat that many japanese desigers pass off as sportscars (like the Mazda RX-8). And above all else – AVOID HYBRID technologies – I’ll pre-order 2 today !

  43. As the proud owner of a pristine 94 Celica for 5 years, I’ve been waiting for a new performance celica/supra for a long time. I absolutely love how my car handles (I’ve upgraded it), but the fwd and low power leave a lot to be desired. I’ve looked for years at trying to import a 94-99 Celica GT4 to the states… it should have been brought to the U.S. without a doubt. I know celicas very well and also know what they could and should offer, especially for the 2012 model:

    1. The 7Tune body styling is absolutely GORGEOUS! I love the Lotus Elise-style headlights.

    2. RWD is a MUST! Glad to hear that will be standard. Should have a performance model with a screamer engine that revs to at least 7,000 rpm and have around 250 hp. Try thinking of the BEAMS Red-top 3S-GE that came in 97-98 SS3 Celicas and MR-2’s pushing 220 hp. Once again, another Honda-eater that should have come to the states!

    3. Lightweight, around 2,400 lbs or less like the 94-98 models. Glad to hear they’re committed to this. Less weight= better handling and higher mpg! This has always been the formula that celicas have been made on, and Toyota should not deviate from this heritage. On a good day, my 1.8 ST has gotten over 43 mpg going 55 on highway with a tailwind. I would definitely forgo this for a more powerful engine. If the new celica could go 0-60 in less than 5.5 seconds, yet still get about 25 mpg city and over 30 highway, it would be the ultimate driving machine priced under $22,000. These are somewhat lofty engineering goals all combined into 1 car. If anyone can do it though, Toyota can and they should!!!

    4. Razor-sharp handling. I once test-drove a Mustang GT only to find that the handling and ride was very plush and LAME to say the least, especially compared to my celica.

    Here’s the bottom line: Chevy stomped the Mustang GT (or at the very least matched the power output and handling) with the Camaro V-6 (yes, the V-6), and at the same time gets better mpg’s all at a lower price. It’s time for Toyota to decimate both cars in every way with a 4 cylinder, and at a cheaper price. I know they have the ability to make it happen!

    By all means, strip it down to the bare bones as far as multiple air bags and other amenities go to keep the costs down as necessary. But at the same time, give it a good option list. If need be from a marketing standpoint, put an eco-friendly 160 hp high mpg powertrain in it. But coming from a 21-year-old that has been researching which sports car to buy once graduating college in a year or 2, listen to all of the previous posts and make one of those options a performance engine!! If my criteria can be met, I PROMISE to buy one before it hits showroom floors. Try deviating from the conservative path (like Honda did with the S2000) and make a true sports car that people will fall in love with all over again like what happened with the Supra. Isn’t this the reason for bringing a sports car back into the Toyota lineup?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *