As a result of the surprising success of the Honda CR-Z in Japan (and, let’s be honest, it is surprising) two long-since-thought-dead Toyota sport hybrid projects — the FT-HS concept and a revamped MR2 successor — are apparently back on the table… at least according to Autocar.
The Toyota FT-HS originally made a splash as a future concept car at the 2007 Detroit Auto Show. With a 3.5 liter V6 hybrid powertrain, and a combined 400 horsepower, the FT-HS (pictured above) was said to be able to get from 0-60 mph in about four seconds. In its original press release, Toyota claimed that the FT-HS would be available to the mid-price market, saying “the FT-HS would be a true ‘attainable exotic’ with 21st-century performance.”
Everything was looking pretty good for the FT-HS to actually make production… and then the hybrid market went down the tubes, along with the entire auto industry, and the project was killed.
The outgoing MR2 is a beloved vehicle with a long history, so when Toyota decided to kill the vehicle line this year, there was a some outcry. Toyota has said they plan on releasing a successor, and earlier this year they came up with a 362 horsepower, 0-60 in 4.5 seconds concept car based on the MR2 platform. I use the term concept car here loosely, because this was an actual drivable vehicle based on an existing platform.
But the MR2 hybrid car concept was considered a one-off long shot for production because… well, it was based on a platform that Toyota had decided to kill.
And now it’s 2010. It’s a brand new day. Toyota is desperately looking for ways to shiny up its marketing image, and the hybrid market has picked back up. The surprising Honda CR-Z is proving that even an underpowered, under-performing, little hot hatch has a reasonably strong demand.
As a result, Toyota is apparently readying their MR2 replacement to fill the under-performing, underpowered, inexpensive sports car segment with a 1.5 liter engine hybrid powertrain (instead of the V6 powertrain shown off in the “concept”). But Toyota may also breathe new life into the Supra brand by bringing it back as an FT-HS V6-powered mid-range hybrid monster of a sports car.