The universe, it’s been said, tends to balance itself out pretty well. When one thing goes bad, something good comes along. For example: several months ago, there was an article here on the site about a possible Subaru Impreza Coupe. Since then, however, there’s been pretty much zip in the way of news about this car, unfortunately. Only the good folks at Fuji Heavy Industries know whether the citizens of Portland (both Maine and Oregon) will be able to drift their way through rain-swept streets in an all-wheel-drive WRX two-door.
However, if God has closed one long coupe door, he’s opened a frameless window. (Wait – Subies don’t have frameless windows anymore, do they? Damn…well, screw it, I’m keeping the line. It’s the only thing saving this metaphor from complete cliche. Oh, crap – are you still reading this? Whoops – sorry. Got a little off track. Anyway, back we go…)
Yes, folks, like Godzilla and Rodan before them, it appears Japanese titans Subaru and Toyota are joining forces to use their combined power for the good of humanity. And while their combined offspring might not be a flying monster with atomic fire-breath (which would be awesome), it is likely to make the automotive world take notice.
Not too much is known about the mutant Subota (Toyaru?) at this point. It will be a compact rear-drive vehicle, making it the first Subaru in the states without all-wheel-drive in decades. It will likely be driven by a 2.0 liter, 200-horsepower 4-cylinder boxer engine, and will not be replacing the Impreza in Subaru’s lineup. And, perhaps most importantly, Subaru’s version (which should arrive stateside first) is likely to base under $20,000.
Now, Toyota and Subaru apparently are both planning on selling versions of the car here in the U.S., which means there’s likely to be some overlap. Now, you might be wondering, “Where’s the logic in that?” And you would not be alone in thinking that.
However, keep in mind each of these brands plans on using this car for a different purpose in their lineup. For Subaru, the cross-bred car reclaims the low-end sporty car market they once had well-covered; while WRXs once were the supreme kind of cheap speed, their prices have been creeping skyward – you can’t get into one these days for less than 25 grand.
As for Toyota, while the world’s largest automaker boasts an expansive U.S. model range, there’s a conspicuous lack of sporty fun present in their showroom. The closest thing to two-door excitement is the Camry Solara, and even if it wasn’t the Japanese equivalent of the Chrysler Sebring, for God’s sake, it’s got Camry in the name. At least call it something cooler. Throwing a cheap, flighty two-door into the mix would not only do a lot to bring in people who traditionally associate Toyota with heavy, hoggish SUVs (seriously, they have six SUV models in America), but it would finally fill the sports-car gap left vacant since 2004, with the departure of the MR2.
(Quick Fact: The MR2 happens to have two of the best nicknames in the car world. Originally known as the MR-S, it was known as “The Missus” by Brits. Toyota changed it to MR2 so it would be taken seriously; however, in French, its alphanumeric name effectively translates to “The Shit.”)
In any case, expect to see at least some styling difference between the Subie and the Toyota versions when they arrive. Toyota’s played this game before, sharing its Matrix hatchback with Pontiac as the Vibe; apart from a few artistic differentiations, the cars are identical. (However, this doesn’t stop the Vibe from suffering significantly worse resale values. GM quality rules!) The pictures in this article are just conceptual, so don’t be surprised if it looks nothing like them when it comes out. (Although let’s hope it looks more like the blue model than the orange one.)