Featured: What Do You Think Of The Toyota S-FR Concept?

What Do You Think Of The Toyota S-FR Concept?

By Michael Banovsky
October 8, 2015
35 comments

Photos courtesy of Toyota

I absolutely adore small, sporty cars, and so whenever something like the S-FR concept debuts at an auto show, I spend the next six months trying to figure out if it will, in fact, be built. Toyota’s history is rich enough with sporty cars that its designers can always dip into a well of styling cues: I see some Sports 800, FX-S Concept, and Sera in its shape.

This concept is basically a Mazda MX-5 Miata-sized Scion FR-S, albeit with two very small rear seats. And what gets me is that when looking at the photos of the car, it all seems so close to production and so real that I almost expect to be able to visit my local Toyota dealer and take a test drive.

I’m exactly the sort of enthusiast to get excited about an inexpensive 130 horsepower, 2,160-lb coupe that has little in the way of features beyond its six-speed manual transmission.

It’s said to be on its way into production—so what do you think of the Toyota S-FR Concept?

(I’ve already put my Fiat 500 Abarth on notice.)

H/T to jalopnik.com 

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Ae Neuman
Ae Neuman
5 years ago

i love it as is , big guppy mouth and all.
knowing toyota they will follow the gt86 route; show concepts for a few years then release a watered down version.
🙁

Mike Aldridge
Mike Aldridge
5 years ago

Overall I like the design and the concept, but something needs to be done about the grille – it’s disproportionately large and makes it look like a bottom feeding fish. And the handbrake looks intrusive, I’d rather see it slightly recessed and with some sort of armrest. But aside from that, bring it on!

Laszlo Rakosi
Laszlo Rakosi
7 years ago

For me it is almost like an MX5, just it is not a cabrio.
I cannot wait for it to hit the market.
But for sure, not in this colour.

Jeremy DeConcini
Jeremy DeConcini
7 years ago

Love the concept! Not quite sure about the looks….

Rachel Watson
Rachel Watson
7 years ago

Always in favour of more small, lightweight RWD cars to have fun in. Nice to see something that’s trying to be cute/pretty rather than the aggressive/angry design that seems very common at the moment.

Ali G
Ali G
7 years ago

Me personal feelings about small cars being awesome aside, we must face the fact that while the car may get built, any suggestion of bringing it to the US market will be met with derisive comparisons to the Smart and assertions that Toyota already tried and failed to sell a tiny car in this market; the iQ. Never mind that the car looks to be built in 7/8ths scale, rendering it useless for most corn-fed Americans. Focus groups will complain that the car is too low, the greenhouse too small, and needs to have video screens in the seatbacks, four doors, and offer enough interior room to haul a family of 5 to the airport. If in fact we see a version here it will more than likely be indistinguishable from a Honda Fit, Ford Fiesta, Mitsubishi Mirage (if still in business here) and whatever scabby rebranded south Korean effort GM is selling.

Gawd I hope I am wrong….

Bryan Dickerson
Bryan Dickerson
7 years ago

You’re probably right Mouse,
But how important is it for this car to look timeless if it’s got some character, is fun to drive, gets good mileage, is reliable and , best of all, does NOT have huge a__, out of proportion, tall wheels. This car definitely has that cute car thing goin’ on. Back in the day, I wonder how many people thought the VW Beetle. Saab 96 ( & Sonnet), Lancia Fulvia, or A.H. bugeye Sprite were timeless? All those are on my wish list. Of course my wish list is tempered by my lack of funds.

Larry Brantingham
Larry Brantingham
7 years ago

Not my cup of tea, but it reminds me that I already have a 2200lb 130(ish) hp sports car. Although it was designed more than 40 years ago, it looks better to me than this does. I need to haul out my Alfa GTV and start driving it.

Mouse
Mouse
7 years ago

Great design is timeless. That concept is not timeless.

Sean May
Sean May
7 years ago

This is exactly what I’ve been waiting for! If they keep the price down to 20k, I’ll buy it–not in neon yellow, however.

Bryan Dickerson
Bryan Dickerson
7 years ago

Man Guitar!
You really have your OPM’s (opinions per minute) happening! Keep it up, it’s fun.

It seems to me that neither the Miata or the Mini were ever about being brand new ideas either. More like taking the warm fuzzys of an old, beloved idea and making it safer, reliable and user friendly. Miata=Lotus, Mini=Mini, S-FR=Sport 800/Zagato(?). I don’t see a problem with this. Car design seems like music. The great innovators of the last century didn’t leave us with much more untapped potential at least in terms of sounds and sights that most of us can relate to.

It also seems a stretch to accuse Toyota of attitudes and platitudes in regards to their recent rear drive endeavors. Nissan bailed on their 510 inspired idea because of manufacturing costs of a new RWD platform. Enthusiasts should be thanking and encouraging Toyota in their last forays into driving fun before the driverless Nazis take over.

I agree with Clayton about the grill being a little too big and fish-faced, however I actually do like some of Ford’s Aston Martin inspired grills.

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger
7 years ago

Honestly ? It looks like a pathetic attempt on behalf of Toyota to try and cash in on BMW MINI’s success with a blatant pastiche rather than creating something new . And no doubt should the thing see the light of a production day .. like its SubaYota older sibling it’ll be 99\% attitudes and platitudes with almost zero substance . e,g, .. A Marketing ploy aimed at the non-discerning image conscious set . My recommendation on both counts ?

Get over the RWD bs … buy a BMW MINI . The only one including the new FIAT 500 that actually delivers on the road as well as it does in print /online as well as the fashion runways .

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger
7 years ago
Reply to  Guitar Slinger

PS; Do yourself a favor Banovsky . Get a real car rather than a fashion accessory by trading the FIAT for either a Mazda MX-5 Miata or the afore mentioned BMW MINI . Find out first hand and on a daily basis what real driving pleasure and excitement . not to mention a genuine SPM factor [ Smiles per Miles ] is all about .. versus pretense and marketing hype under the guise of being a ‘ sports ‘ car !

George Millwood
George Millwood
7 years ago

What’s not to like. There can never be enough RWD manual small sports.

Brian Garrity
Brian Garrity
7 years ago

Hopefully a preemptive strike against Honda and/or more reason for [url=”http://www.roadandtrack.com/new-cars/news/a26551/honda-s1000-successor-not-coming-to-the-us-yet/”]Honda to bring its S660-like car/concept[/url] stateside and to Europe? Even though I’m not the biggest fan of how this looks, I’m all for ANYTHING that brings more small, light, and fun roadsters to our lives!

Scott Marquis
Scott Marquis
7 years ago

Um, woof.

Clayton Merchant
Clayton Merchant
7 years ago

I like the concept of a rear wheel drive sporty sports car, never have too many of those. You can definitely see Sports 800 in the side profile. I have to say though that it looks like an angry toad from the front.
Another thing I find extremely unattractive and it’s not just with this concept. It seems that all manufacturers over the last few years have gone to this “gaping maw” front end design. It’s hideous. It seems that half of the front end is missing. Ford and Mazda are two of the worst offenders but they are certainly not alone. Seems they could certainly put a more attractive front end on it.
My two cents.

Alex McGrath
Alex McGrath
7 years ago

Don’t get picky about the looks, now. If it’s rwd and has a manual, grab it!

jjfeke
jjfeke
7 years ago

Car that capture me are few….This S-FR has me thinking the designers have been channeling TVR/ Abarth / Zagato. I am starting to like this. Please don’t let it become a Japanese boutique car.

Future Doc
Future Doc
7 years ago

Shut up and take my money Toyota! MkIII MR2 owner with a deposit waiting. I would add it next to the spyder in a heartbeat. Never quite a frs/brz fan enough to buy one. Liked them but it was too heavy so I kept the MR2. Targa version maybe? Please Toyota please…

Raman Dooman
Raman Dooman
7 years ago

So long as they brand it under Toyota here in the states instead of the lame Scion.

Borja Acosta de Vizcaíno
Borja Acosta de Vizcaíno
7 years ago

Absolutely sure it will be a blast, but not that sure about looks. I mean, nothing really wrong plus aesthetics are pretty much market-driven nowadays. I guess target audience shaped this, at least it seems that way – I just wish it was more of a Golf-GTi-shrinking-into-a-Polo-GTi thing. A bit more mature. Just a bit.

But whatever, RWD is something to cherish. Bring it on.

Luis Armando Gálvez Catalán
Luis Armando Gálvez Catalán
7 years ago

If it is rear wheel drive… bring it on! We are missing some modern sports!

Douglas Anderson
Douglas Anderson
7 years ago

Interior ok , pretty much as always and expected.
Exterior , BLECH !!!!

Matt Spangler
Matt Spangler
7 years ago

No likee. Looks like a guppy and has a bad blindspot on those rear corners. As your site has proven, the best car design still looks good after decades. I think one reason vintage cars, motorcycles, and even hifi gear is so popular is that design and build quality was clean and honest. There may be hints of better car designs in this one, but that usually ends up looking like a mashup of other designs—which this is. I can’t appreciate car designs that are more about just being different, than being good. I bet the designer of this concept car couldn’t tell you why they shaped the car as they did. At least not in a way I could appreciate. Look at the interior details, and tell me you think they’ll hold up to normal wear from drivers and passengers mucking about.

geelongvic
geelongvic
7 years ago

It could do with a smaller but similar shaped grille. It makes me smile. The perfect Petrolicious car, drive deliciously. I could easily see myself enjoying driving one.

Hugo Sanner
Hugo Sanner
7 years ago

The good point is that it makes another great little sport car.
The very bad point, is that the new Miata looks so much better, from outside or inside. I had the luck to drive one for two days, I don’t know how could anybody build something better than it!

André Borges
André Borges
7 years ago

Thought 1: would look great in dark brown, “panties blue” (as we call bimmer blue in Brazil), black or Lamborghini yellow.
Thought 2: I think I’m gonna buy it, if the godamned government takes better care of our monetary exchange rate ’till then.

JB21
JB21
7 years ago

I don’t care for the looks so much, but the fundamental is very sound. And I really thought all hopes were lost, and I would never ever be tempted by a new car. Genuinely small sports car that is simple, that is it. And because it’s not – by design – seeking speed or handling or some such thing, this could very well turn out the car that we are looking for: small, zippy little car that’s fun fun fun at sane speed. Just like the Miata. I wish Toyota does this, and, and keep it really simple, just like the concept. And I do wish that the roof comes off, like Sport800. I say, this could be my next daily driver.

Ray Houghton
Ray Houghton
7 years ago

We need more small sporty agile cars. I live in a part of the US with many windy back-country roads and love cars like this. I hope it goes into production. Make cars fun again. I’m tired of rolling living rooms and the bigger is better attitude that seems to dominate car design.

Karl Muth
Karl Muth
7 years ago

If this is what the next generation wants, we’re doomed.

Dan Tucker
Dan Tucker
7 years ago

It looks great. That would be an ideal commuter car for me.

Mike Melgarejo
Mike Melgarejo
7 years ago

It looks like a fish.. But i like it!

Bryan Dickerson
Bryan Dickerson
7 years ago

I really like this! Not many new cars from the big guys that I do like any more. This one actually looks like it was designed by an adult with a sence of humor rather than a 12 year old with a bad attitude.

I think I’d like it even a little better without the ducktail, with steel wheels (think old Alfa or Lotus) and a little tasteful chrome or stainless, instead of all black, around the windows, grill and rear end.

The more I look, the more I like. I think that’s a good sign of it having lasting appeal.

David Palacios
David Palacios
7 years ago

I think it would look better with an upside down triangle on the front with an Alfa badge.