Toyota Looks to Take on Mazda Miata with S-FR Sports Car

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Filed under Automotive, Mazda, News, Toyota

Toyota toyed with the idea of taking on the Mazda MX-5 Miata in 2015 with the introduction of the S-FR concept. This compact sports car hinted at a unique proposition: a snug yet surprisingly spacious design, challenging Mazda’s two-seat dominance with a two-plus-two seating arrangement. Though the S-FR concept briefly faded from view, recent reports from Japanese media suggest Toyota hasn’t abandoned the idea; instead, it looks to be gearing up for production.

According to Best Car Magazine via Forbes, the S-FR is slated for a debut in late 2026 or early 2027. Interestingly, it’s said to be a collaborative effort involving Daihatsu and Suzuki, who were previously linked to a joint project for a small, mid-engined model. This collaboration appears to have morphed into a more conventional front-engined, rear-wheel-drive coupe, set to be the S-FR, but with a beefed-up powertrain.

Rumors suggest the S-FR will be powered by a three-cylinder turbo engine generating approximately 150 horsepower, a notable increase from its concept iteration. This aligns with murmurs surrounding a potential revival of the Toyota Starlet, including a GR performance variant with a similar engine configuration. The reported engine specifications also mirror those of the Daihatsu Vision Copen concept, potentially foreshadowing Toyota’s forthcoming sports car offering.

In terms of design, the production version of the S-FR is expected to undergo refinements, such as a smaller grille and revised headlights. While details regarding the implementation of the aggressive features showcased in the S-FR Racing concept remain elusive, speculation suggests they could be offered as optional accessories or reserved for a hypothetical GR model.

Price-wise, Toyota is purportedly aiming for around $22,700, positioning the S-FR as a compelling value proposition. This pricing strategy not only significantly undercuts the Mazda MX-5 but also potentially makes it one of the most affordable new cars in the U.S. market, if it arrives stateside. However, Toyota appears undecided about the American market, considering the presence of the similar GR86, which could potentially lead to internal competition and market dilution.

Furthermore, questions arise regarding the S-FR’s role alongside the rumored revival of the Celica, which could introduce another rear-wheel-drive coupe option. This could potentially create overlap and competition within Toyota’s lineup, potentially impacting the success of all models involved. Given Mazda’s stronghold in the small sports car segment and the presence of the GR86 addressing a slightly larger niche, some speculate whether Toyota may opt to keep the S-FR exclusive to certain markets, akin to the supposed fate of the Starlet.


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