Toyota joins hypercar battle with new GR Super Sport

Toyota GR Supersport to race at Le Mans

Toyota has announced its radical GR Super Sport will compete in motorsport’s new hypercar class. And a road-going sports car will follow.

The car was first unveiled in concept form a couple of years ago, but this confirms Toyota is moving ahead with the project, which will directly replace its double-Le Mans-winning TS050 LMP1 car.

The new rules state that top-level Hypercar racers need to have road-going counterparts. ‘Both road and race car are undergoing design and intensive development,’ says Toyota.

Toyota GR Super Sport: in detail

Toyota GR Super Sport Concept

When the GR Super Sport concept was revealed, the powertrain was claimed to be from the Toyota TS050 LMP1 prototype. That means a 500hp twin-turbo 2.4-litre V6 with an additional 500hp of hybrid assistance.

The system output in the new class is limited to around 750hp. It’s reasonable to assume, therefore, that the drivetrain could carry over with ease in a detuned state for the racer.

That’s not to say that the GR road car will be limited. Remember that the road-legal Aston Martin Valkyrie will have over 1,000hp, courtesy of its hybrid 6.5-litre V12. Toyota is likely to aim for a similar power level.

As for how many road cars there will be, homologation requires a minimum of 20 to be produced and sold over the course of two years.

Toyota GR Super Sport Concept

“For Toyota Gazoo Racing, this new era of competition is a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate our credentials not only as a race team against some of the best in the business, but also as a sports car manufacturer,” said Shigeki Tomoyama, president of Gazoo Racing.

“I am sure I join fans and competitors in welcoming the new regulations and looking forward to an exciting era of competition in WEC and at Le Mans.”

Toyota and Subaru to develop new electric car platform

Toyota and Subaru to develop electric car

Toyota and Subaru have agreed to jointly develop a new all-electric platform for mid-size and large passenger vehicles.

In a statement, Toyota said the “two companies will apply Subaru’s all-wheel-drive technologies and Toyota’s vehicle electrification technologies”.

The Japanese companies signed an agreement in 2005, with the joint development of the Toyota GT86 and Subaru BRZ the most high-profile result of the partnership.

Toyota said both companies “are required to conduct technological development with a sense of speed across a broader-than-ever spectrum of initiatives”, with all-electric vehicles and self-driving cars requiring a huge amount of investment.

Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid

Subaru used Toyota’s plug-in hybrid knowledge during the development of the Crosstrek Hybrid in the United States, but is in desperate need of an all-electric vehicle ahead of the expected surge in demand for EVs.

It also needs to mirror its success in the US with stronger sales in Europe. Subaru of America sold 680,135 vehicles in 2018 – its best-ever year – with its Indiana plant producing its fourth millionth car in April 2019. 

Toyota has been at the forefront of the hybrid and plug-in hybrid sectors since the launch of the Prius in 1997, but it has fallen behind its key rivals in the race to bring all-electric vehicles to the market.

‘Crossing over industrial boundaries’

Toyota Prius PHV cutaway

“It is necessary to pursue a business model that goes beyond convention, crossing over industrial boundaries together with various types of other entities that share their aspirations”, said Toyota in a statement.

Subaru added: “Following this agreement with Toyota, Subaru will now shift its existing BEV (battery electric vehicle) development resources to this new joint project. Within this new framework, Subaru will continue its efforts to create an attractive BEV SUV for our customers, while improving efficiencies in terms of engineering, development, purchasing, and other areas through the new joint project.”

The platform will accommodate multiple vehicle types, including C- and D-segment class saloons and SUVs, with the first vehicle expected to be a C-segment SUV sold under each company’s own brand.

Toyota has extended its scrappage scheme AGAIN

Toyota Aygo x-trend

Toyota has extended its scrappage scheme – again – meaning you have until the end of June to save up to £2,500 off the price of a new car.

Scrappage is designed to encourage owners of older cars to trade them in for cleaner models by offering chunky discounts off the list price. In this case, Toyota is offered £2,000 off the cost of an Aygo and £2,500 off a Yaris.

Curiously, the offer isn’t available on the Yaris Hybrid, the cleanest model in the Yaris range…

The offer applies to owners of a car registered up to and including 30 June 2011, but they must have owned the car for at least six months.

As an example, the Aygo X-trend costs £10,965 after the scrappage discount and is available on 0 percent finance for £151.10 a month over 42 months after no deposit. The X-trend features 15-inch alloy wheels, smartphone integration, a seven-inch touchscreen, DAB, reversing camera, automatic air conditioning and automatic headlights.

Toyota Yaris Icon Trend

Meanwhile, the mid-range Yaris Icon Trend costs £14,120 after the discount, or £211.59 spread over 42 months after no deposit. This model features 15-inch alloys, Toyota Safety Sense, a seven-inch infotainment system, reversing camera, 4.2-inch multi-information display and rear parking sensors.

You have until 30 June 2019 to take advantage of the Toyota scrappage scheme, by which time the firm may have decided to extend it… again.

Here are the cars the new Toyota Supra has to beat

Cars the Supra has to beat

The Toyota Supra is finally back and it’s caused quite a stir. We break down exactly what the fifth-generation A90 Supra is up against.

Part of what fortifies the Supra legend are the challengers it has stood against over the years. From the ‘964’ Porsche 911 that the previous-gen Supra was launched to battle, to the Ferrari F355 it raced in the first The Fast and the Furious, to the countless supercars tuned-up versions have dispatched with a whoosh, a chirp and a pop of flame, the previous generation had to earn its stripes in flat-out combat.

2019 Toyota GR Supra A90

The fanfare around the Supra can easily be confused with general hype for the era from which it hails. The Mk4 was but one of many now-legendary Japanese performance cars to emerge from the 1990s.

While the new car doesn’t find itself flanked quite so closely on the home front, Toyota has positioned it in what might just be the most exciting class of 2019.

2019 Toyota GR Supra A90

The head honcho at Toyota, Akio Toyoda, knows exactly what he’s doing, too. When you’re being told to understand a car in terms of golden wheelbase/tyre ratios, you know it’s got a fighting chance of being a corking driving machine.

The car it was conceived to battle is also on the back foot. The Porsche Cayman was once heralded as all things to all driving enthusiasts: a singing flat-six for the tunnels, a slick-shifting box with which to work it, plus world-class handling made it an impenetrable force in the sports car class.

Now, the Cayman has been lumbered with a much less exciting flat-four, and faces a battery of very competent rivals gnashing at its heels. The latest of which is the Supra.

All these cars are united in their defiance of the Cayman, then. So what? Classes of cars exist, right? Not quite like this. We’re not talking paint-by-numbers executive saloons. We’ve got four-cylinders, six-pots, front-engined, mid-engined, manual, paddle-shift, lightweight, not-so lightweight – so many variations in the mix, all sporting very similar numbers across the board.

So where does the Supra sit among its competition? And what does it need to beat on its way to immortal sports car glory?

Porsche 718 Cayman S: 244hp/tonne, from £53,030


We start with the long-standing sports car king that rendered all others outsiders. Yes, it’s as talented a car as ever chassis- and handling-wise. It’s also got that badge and the associated level of engineering and quality. What it’s lost, though, is the deal-maker – that spine-tingling flat-six.

In its place comes a 350hp 2.0-litre flat-four that’s won itself all of zero personality awards. Still, that should be enough power to shift the car’s 1,430kg. The Cayman has a power-to-weight ratio of 244hp/tonne.

BMW M2 Competition: 258hp/tonne, from £50,975


Next, possibly a curious car to compare? Given the Supra was developed alongside the new Z4, should that not make this list? Well, not really. The Supra has been touted by both parent manufacturers to be the harder-edged sibling. More in line, in character, with the M2.

What does the M2 bring to the table? In refreshed Competition spec, serious punch in the form of a 400hp inline-six borrowed from the M3. It also uses that car’s carbon strut brace and boasts a stiffened chassis. It’s almost unique in offering a manual transmission, too. It weighs 1,550kg and therefore has a power-to-weight ratio of 258hp/tonne. In this company, a bit of a sharpened muscle car…

Alpine A110: 225hp/tonne, from £46,905


Right at the other end of the spectrum, the A110 delighted many in 2018 with a lesson in lightness. Great weight distribution, slim tyres and an expertly judged chassis make the A110 the antithesis to ‘more power and more stiffness’ approach.

Sat amidships is a 1.8-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine producing 249hp, going to ground via a dual-clutch paddle-shift transmission. That’s a fair wad less than the Beemer, but it’s only got 1,105kg to move. All told, it’s only 33hp down on the M2 Comp’s power-to-weight at 225hp/tonne. That four-pot is more characterful than the Porsche’s flat-four, too.

Toyota GR Supra: 224hp/tonne, from £52,695

2019 Toyota GR Supra A90

Now, for comparison, the new boy. With its 335hp BMW-sourced straight-six and paddle-only transmission, many dismissed it as meek and mild. Maybe you could forgive them, given there’s no power increase versus the Mk4 Supra of 25 years ago.

What those people don’t understand is that Toyota has done exactly what is constantly asked of those supplying 600hp sports saloons and 700hp ‘mid-level’ supercars – it has ducked out of the horsepower race and built a car for fun, rather than for blind and blunt numbers. At circa. £50,000, it’s not “more than you can afford, pal”, either – the Mk4 was a pricey beast from new, especially for something with a Toyota badge.

What we have, then, is a 1,495kg 335hp sports car with a power-to-weight ratio of 224hp/tonne: almost exactly the same as the featherweight Alpine. The Supra completes the Cayman-baiting trio, the sports car warriors-three. They’re all well within 50hp per 1,000kg of each other and in a sector where driving quality is currency, all bets are off. 

Other rivals

Honourable mentions also go to the Jaguar F-Type P300 (not focused enough), Nissan 370Z (too old), Lotus Elise Sport 220 (too uncompromising) and Audi TT RS (too compromised). If any are your flavour of fudge, power to you. They only serve to diversify the sports car market even more.

This will surely be a great year if you’ve got £50,000 to burn and great roads you want to explore…

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A perfect 1990s Toyota Supra will now cost you £390,000

Toyota Supra $500,000

With the new Toyota Supra now revealed, a renewed spotlight has been shone on one of the most legendary names in Japanese performance cars.

Now, the previous-generation Supra may have officially hit classic status, given that a US dealer is offering a pristine example for a cool £390,000 ($500,000).

Toyota Supra $500,000

The car previously sold on January 3 via US car auction website, Bringatrailer.

The 1994 twin-turbo Supra is the most desirable iteration of the model, having a 320hp 2JZ engine and manual gearbox.

Toyota Supra $500,000

The Renaissance Red over tan leather interior is a very ‘Miami’, but it’s in absolutely immaculate condition, with just over 7,000 miles on the clock.

That’s probably part of why it crossed the block for a heady £94,000 ($121,000).

Toyota Supra $500,000

That’s not the end of the story, though. The car is now listed with a Toyota dealership in Chicago for an absolutely eye-watering half-a-million dollars.

According to Road & Track magazine, however, the car is most certainly not priced to sell. Instead, it’s something of a showroom museum piece, bought to get people through the door.

With the new Supra arriving in dealerships soon, a previous-gen model in this condition would be the ultimate display piece for comparison purposes.

2JZ GTE $500,000

Regardless of that ridiculous price, what it sold for on Bringatrailer isn’t exactly a pinch. Values are on the up, with good examples usually nuzzling £62,000 ($80,000) on the auction site.

Cars in such perfect original and low-mileage condition are in short supply here in Britain, so it’s difficult to gauge values. A well-maintained moon-miler in a good spec (manual, twin-turbo) will easily breach £20,000. But wouldn’t be surprised to see a low-mileage example go for more than £60,000.

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2019 Toyota RAV4 review: a return to its rugged SUV roots

2019 Toyota RAV4Last year, the Toyota RAV4 was America’s best-selling car. Admittedly, it finished fourth overall – outsold by three pick-up trucks – but that’s still a startling degree of success.

The UK is a different story. Here, five of its rivals (the Nissan Qashqai, Ford Kuga, Kia Sportage, Volkswagen Tiguan and Hyundai Tucson) made the top 20 chart, yet the RAV4 is nowhere to be seen. Toyota wants to change that.

On paper, it should succeed. The new, fifth-generation RAV4 is faster, roomier, quieter more efficient and better equipped than the car it replaces. Is that enough to stand out in a crowded SUV class?

Toyota doesn’t do ‘boring’ any more

2019 Toyota RAV4

“No more boring cars!” declared company CEO Akio Toyoda in 2014. His words were a tacit admission that, for years, Toyotas were the automotive equivalent of white goods: dependable but dull.

Today, Toyota is a Le Mans-winning race team with a hardcore hot hatchback (Yaris GRMN) and two pulse-spiking sports cars (GT86, new Supra) to its name. Making a mid-size SUV exciting, however, is still a challenge.

That was the task facing RAV4 chief engineer, Yoshikazu Saeki. “I want people to love this car,” he says, “to like and share it via their phones.” Ironically, this search for ‘modern love’ began 25 years ago, long before social media existed…

Its design harks back to the 1994 original

2019 Toyota RAV4

The first ‘Recreational Active Vehicle with 4-wheel drive’ was launched in 1994. Blending bolshy 4×4 attitude with the dynamics of a conventional car, it pre-empted the now-ubiquitous compact crossover. It was also a genuinely ground-breaking design, its black plastic body cladding likened to the sole of a hiking boot.

Now try picturing the outgoing, fourth-gen RAV4 in your head – impossible, right? Over the years, the RAV4 became steadily more staid and forgettable, so the new model draws upon the 1994 original.

Lower and wider than before, it has a markedly sportier stance. Distinctive details include narrow nostrils above the front grille and kicked-up, Gandini-style wheelarches. It isn’t as radical as Toyota’s smaller C-HR crossover, but to these eyes it’s a better looking car.

The range is 100% hybrid (and 0% diesel)

2019 Toyota RAV4

In 2015, 88 percent of RAV4s sold in the UK were diesels. Just four years later, this option has been dropped entirely: all new RAVs will be hybrid-powered.

Front-wheel-drive versions combine a 2.5-litre petrol engine with an electric motor for a 215hp total. Opt for four-wheel drive and an additional electric motor for the rear axle boosts output to 219hp. The benchmark 0-62mph dash takes 8.1 and 8.4 seconds for FWD and 4WD respectively.

As per Toyota convention, drive goes via a CVT automatic gearbox and the car can be driven short distances in EV mode (i.e. using electric power only). It can’t however, be plugged in, although a PHEV model may come later.

Prices start from under £30k, or £269 a month

2019 Toyota RAV4



The RAV4 range is organised into four grades: Icon, Design, Excel and Dynamic. Standard equipment on the Icon includes 17-inch alloy wheels, an eight-inch touchscreen media system, auto headlights/wipers, rear parking sensors and a reversing camera. Upgrading to Design adds 18-inch rims, keyless entry, front parking sensors and a power tailgate.

Excel and Dynamic are two sides of the same coin, the former ‘upmarket’ in appearance, the latter more sporty. Both get projector LED headlights, leather upholstery, heated seats and steering wheel, blind-spot assist and rear cross-traffic alert. Dynamic also means black alloys, chunky sports seats and a contrasting colour for the roof.

Prices for the RAV4 look competitive, starting at £29,635 for the FWD Icon and stretching to £36,640 for the 4WD Dynamic. In all cases, choosing four-wheel drive costs £2,240 extra.

Finance packages will vary, but typically range from £269 to £309 per month. A RAV4 Design, for example, costs £279 per month over 24 months with a £7,588 deposit and zero percent APR.

Its interior is practical and pleasingly premium

2019 Toyota RAV4

Inside, Toyota appears to have taken inspiration from garden tools, with a serrated rubber finish for the door handles and heater controls. This grippy finish also lines the stowage spaces. The overall effect is bordering on premium: more Land Rover than Land Cruiser.

Finding a good driving position is easy and all-round visibility is good, helped by large door mirrors. Our test cars were fitted with a rear-view-mirror camera, which allows you to see behind even when the boot is loaded to roof height. However, this option is unlikely to be available in the UK (and certainly not at launch).

There’s enough shoulder room and legroom for three overfed motoring journalists to sit comfortably in the back, while boot space has grown by 79 litres to 590 litres. For comparison, a Ford Kuga holds 406 litres and a Honda CR-V Hybrid manages 561 litres.

It can see pedestrians in the dark

2019 Toyota RAV4

The latest RAV4 hasn’t been crash-tested by Euro NCAP yet. Anything less than the five stars achieved by the 2013-2019 model will be disappointing.

A five-star result looks likely, though, thanks to a full complement of active safety systems. All RAVs come with the updated Toyota Safety Sense package, which includes automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control (to maintain a set distance to the car in front), road sign recognition and lane-departure warning with steering assist.

New for 2019 is the system’s ability to detect pedestrians in the dark – when the majority of such collisions happen. It can also spot cyclists at speeds up to 50mph.

The sat nav is awful and connectivity lags behind

2019 Toyota RAV4

No family car is complete without a plethora of charging points, and the RAV4 boasts up to three USB sockets in the front and two in the back. A wireless smartphone charging mat is optional, too.

Sadly, it doesn’t have Apple Carplay or Android Auto connectivity (“We’re working on it,” says Toyota) – so while connecting your phone is straightforward enough, you won’t get the optimum user experience.

I was beginning to miss Google Maps after going wrong repeatedly on our Spanish test route, too. Putting it bluntly, the RAV4’s sat nav is awful: slow to respond, hard to follow and dated to look at. I can only hope it’s more accurate in the UK.

It’s the best handling RAV4 since the original

2019 Toyota RAV4

Getting lost in the RAV4 wasn’t all bad, though. Indeed, once I’d escaped rush-hour Barcelona, I rather enjoyed it.

The steering has a meaty directness and the car turns in keenly, gripping hard and cornering with composure, particularly if you choose the 4WD version. Double wishbone rear suspension, a lower centre of gravity and a 57 percent stiffer chassis all help here.

Granted, it won’t trouble a Cupra Ateca or Porsche Macan on twisty Tarmac, but it’s no longer a soporific snore-fest. In line with Toyoda-san’s wishes, the RAV isn’t boring to drive.

Crucially, such relative dynamism doesn’t come at the expense of ride quality. Supple, measured damping smoothes out all but the largest potholes and ruts.

The CVT gearbox is still a bugbear

2019 Toyota RAV4

You may be lost and travelling in the wrong direction, then, but you can hustle the RAV4 along at quite a pace. The instant oomph of its electric motor means punchy acceleration from a standstill, and the petrol engine isn’t averse to revs. Near-silent when cruising, it serves up a sporty snarl when worked hard.

The weak link, if you enjoy driving, is the CVT transmission. It continuously varies the gear ratio, keeping the revs constant when you accelerate. As a result, the engine can feel either ‘on or off’, instead of providing a linear response. Shifting from Normal into Sport mode only exacerbates this effect.

The Toyota also has a pair of paddles behind the steering wheel that allow you to shift up on down the CVT’s range in fixed steps. However, the intuitiveness of the gearbox means you rarely need to kick it down, and there’s little satisfaction to be gained from doing so.

It’s better off-road than you might think

2019 Toyota RAV4

As well as a more accomplished road car, Toyota also wanted the new RAV to be better on the rough stuff. Two opposing goals, you might think. Yet the stats – and my limited experience off-road in the 4WD version – seem to support it.

For starters, the car has 15mm more ground clearance and can produce 30 percent more torque at the rear wheels (diverting up to 80 percent rearwards when required).


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New Toyota RAV4. In a monastery, but worthy of praise?

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In Trail mode, the electronics also simulate the effect of a limited-slip differential, using the brakes to prevent wheelspin across each axle.

Our off-road route was mostly dry and dusty, but shaded patches were still damp and surprisingly slippery. The RAV4 slithered sideways a little, but never lost traction, despite its standard road tyres. It’s as capable as the vast majority of owners will ever need.

The 4WD version is actually more efficient, too

2019 Toyota RAV4

An added bonus of choosing four-wheel drive is fractionally lower CO2 emissions, quoted as 105g/km for the FWD car and 103g/km for the 4×4. That’s a marked contrast to traditional mechanical 4WD systems, which always suffer in terms of fuel efficiency.

Official (WLTP) economy figures for the front-driver are between 49.2mpg and 51.2mpg, depending on wheel size. The four-wheel-driven RAV hadn’t been fully homologated at the time of writing, but is likely to be slightly better.

Lest we forget, the outgoing RAV4 D-4D diesel managed 60.1mpg. A case of one step forward and two steps back?

2019 Toyota RAV4 verdict: 4 stars

2019 Toyota RAV4

Toyota’s customer clinics highlighted five key reasons why people buy SUVs: design, space, safety, visibility and four-wheel drive. The new RAV4 scores well in each category, so the odds should be stacked in its favour.

Times have moved on and, if anything, the C-HR is now closer in concept to the much-loved original RAV4. Nonetheless, it’s gratifying to find Toyota’s SUV mainstay rejuvenated and back in the game.

It won’t be for everyone, but its triple whammy of bold styling, a satisfying drive and hybrid tech makes a compelling argument for choosing a RAV4 over its many rivals. Maybe it’ll shake up that top 20 sales chart after all.

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Toyota Hybrid

Toyota to recall 55,000 hybrids due to power loss fault

Toyota Hybrid

It’s time for yet another Toyota hybrid recall. The news follows the announcement last month that a selection of hybrid vehicles were to be recalled for fire risk.

What’s the matter this time? Well, more than 2.4 million hybrids manufactured between October 2008 and November 2014 are being recalled due to a fault that could cause power loss.

The problem can occur in situations where the car needs to enter fail-safe modes due to issues with the hybrid systems – but subsequently can’t. Toyota says “while power steering and braking would remain operational, a vehicle stall while driving at higher speeds could increase the risk of a crash.”

Toyota Hybrid

There are no accidents attributed to the fault, and it’s only said to occur in “rare situations”. The marque will contact customers to visit dealers for free software upgrades as soon as possible.

Of more than two million cars affected globally, roughly 800,000 are thought to be US-based, with around 55,000 in the UK.

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Toyota Corolla Union Flag

The Toyota Corolla’s coming home – and we’re excited (no, really)

Toyota Corolla Union Flag

The Toyota Corolla and the England football team share a lot in common. No, really, they do, as I’m about to explain.

In 1966, England won the World Cup – your parents may have mentioned this a couple of times – signalling 30, 40, and now 52 years of hurt and the birth of the phrase “1966 and all that”.

It’s not entirely clear what the “all that” is referring to, but while Nobby was dancing and Jules Rimet was still gleaming, Toyota was predicting a motorisation boom. The Japanese economy was flourishing, and people began to realise that scooters and bicycles wouldn’t cut it as family transport.

The result was the 1966 launch of the Toyota Corolla, which, much like the England football team, would go on to conquer the world, sweeping all before it. Two heavyweights of their respective industries, admired by all, and loved by millions.

OK, so England’s World Cup victory didn’t exactly herald the dawn of a new footballing dynasty, but within eight years, the Corolla was already the world’s best selling car, going on to amass in the region of 45 million sales (and counting).

Only the Ford F-Series can rival the Corolla for its stranglehold on the world market, although, in the case of the American pick-up, the success is about as global as the World Series of Major League Baseball.

Well, they said you was high class

2006 Toyota Corolla

The Corolla was the second Toyota to be imported into the UK, arriving here in the same year football decided it was staying at home. It forged a reputation for dependability, reliability and, dare we say, mediocrity before the name was pensioned off in 2007.

Our love of premium badges and soft-touch plastics left the Corolla out of touch and outta here. With a swipe of a Chanel handbag and the kick from a pair of Jimmy Choos, the Corolla was gone, replaced, in Europe at least, by the Toyota Auris.

“We needed to change people’s perceptions of our C-segment hatchback,” said Andrea Formica, vice president of sales and marketing at Toyota Motor Europe. “We believe we have succeeded, people spontaneously reacted to the name with words such as ‘futuristic’, ‘high-class’ and ‘attractive’.”

Others asked if this was Toyota doing a ‘Consignia’. Probably.

In fairness, the Auris name lasted a whole lot longer than Royal Mail’s disastrous rebrand – 1.5 million sales is a decent return for the family car – but killing the Corolla name was a little like removing the sausage from an English breakfast. Or irrational thoughts from a Brexit debate.

It’s largely the same, but you can’t help but think something is missing.

But, that was just a lie

High flying Toyota Corolla

So, Toyota’s decision to bring the Corolla name home – in the same year that football very nearly did the same thing – is a reason to be cheerful. Heck, it’s a cause for celebration. An excuse to splash out on some Iceland mozzarella sticks and jumbo tempura prawns.

Why? Because the Toyota Corolla was always the chariot driven by your friend with no interest in cars. They were never late for work, rarely splashed out on expensive repairs, didn’t care where they parked, and they always reached their chosen destination without a hiccup or a splutter.

It was the go-to car for those who approach car shopping like you would approach a day at a retail park. The default choice. A domestic appliance.

The Auris confused matters. The change of name gave it ideas above its station and left dyed-in-the-wool Corolla owners feeling dazed and confused. They will welcome the return.

Burning love

You, on the other hand, will welcome the second coming of the Corolla for another reason: the sporting models. Take the AE 86 GT Coupe, described by our Tim Pitt as a car that offers an “analogue driving experience [that] can’t fail to make you grin.”

Toyota Corolla GT Coupe AE 86

Only 2,717 AE 86s were sold in the UK, but our growing fondness for retro Japanese – not to mention its appearance in Gran Turismo – has cemented its reputation as a rear-wheel-drive cult classic. Sadly, prices reflect this elevated status.

That’s not to say your chances of bagging a hot Corolla are as remote finding a spare moment in Mark Wahlberg’s daily schedule.

Take the Corolla 1.6 GT-i of 1987. Based on the sixth-generation of the world’s most ubiquitous car, the Corolla GT-i was a rev-happy, dynamically-sorted hot hatch for those who weren’t interested in a Golf GTI, Astra GTE or Escort XR3i.

Some would argue that the Corolla GT-i doesn’t receive the recognition it deserves and that it should be held up as the car with the best chassis, gearbox, brakes and driving position in its class. It’s just a shame so many of them have rusted away.

Another hot(ish) Corolla is the fifth-generation GT – the front-wheel-drive alternative to the AE 86. In a triple-test with the Renault 11 Turbo and Alfa Romeo 33 Green Cloverleaf, Car concluded: “You’d have to buy the Toyota from these, even knowing that it is a lovely engine clothed in fairly routine running gear.

“The twin-cam, which doesn’t even demand more fuel than the average shopping trolley, must be one of the finest fours in production, regardless of cost.”

The devil in disguise

Toyota Corolla GT

High praise, and yet the Corolla GT is largely forgotten. Similarly, the WRC-inspired 1.6-litre 16-valve G6R is another Corolla to slip from the radar. The limited edition featured colour-coded sills and front and rear spoilers, along with six-spoke alloys, sports seats and… wait for it… red seatbelts.

The point is, the Corolla isn’t quite the unfancied and undateable car popular opinion would have you believe. Beneath that ‘white goods’ exterior burns a heart of raging desire and passion. Or something.

We haven’t even mentioned the Castrol-liveried WRC car driven by Carlos Sainz and Didier Auriol, which finished second and first in the manufacturers’ championship in 1998 and 1999 respectively.

The return of the Corolla name signals the end of a decade of hurt in the UK. The future looks bright: the Touring Sports is a good looking estate car, and we wouldn’t bet against a GRMN version of the hatchback.

Don your Gareth Southgate waistcoat and raise a glass to the return of the Toyota Corolla. We’re delighted it’s coming home. The Corolla, not the waistcoat. Sorry, Gareth.

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Toyota Yaris

How much profit do car companies make every SECOND?

Toyota profit

Ever wondered how much money car manufacturers make? Well, motor trade insurer Staveley Head has done the maths and worked out the profits of 15 carmakers down to the second.

The sums start with each manufacturer’s yearly takings and profits. Then, all that’s needed is some very long-winded division based on those numbers.

For example, it means taking Toyota’s £13.5 billion profit over the previous 12 months and dividing it by 31,536,000 (the number of seconds in a year). The result is Toyota’s per-second profit for the past year: £430. 

How much do they make?

Toyota comes top, but rivals don’t fare so well. Ford made an average of £173 profit in a second, while Volkswagen is down at just £91.

Premium brand Mercedes-Benz seems to have had an excellent 12 months, with £255 made every second on average. That’s over twice the amount of Porsche.

Jaguar Land Rover is down at £46 per second – and Bentley, Ferrari, Seat, Aston Martin, Renault, Hyundai, Bentley and Skoda are all included in the tool above, too.

Porsche profit

How many they’re selling

Units sold is a very different thing to profit, of course, but still very interesting. Over the course of two minutes, Toyota sold 34 cars, Mercedes nine and Porsche just one. All of a sudden Porsche’s lower profit-per-second number doesn’t look so bad, given they sell one car for every nine Mercedes…

VW and Ford aren’t too far behind Toyota, with 24 and 25 cars shifted every two minutes respectively. JLR manages just two.

Per-unit profit is perhaps the biggest indicator of success, though. On each car sold, JLR made an average £2,774. Porsche, on the other hand, made £13,757.

Jaguar profit

Is this a reliable source?

There are a lot of averages and aggregates incorporated here. It’s not a live feed of what each carmaker is selling and earning, rather a year’s information divided over various measurements of time. Still, it’s an interesting way to take it all in.

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Aygo on Snapchat and Spotify

Toyota targets youth with Spotify and Snapchat Aygo campaigns

Aygo on Snapchat and Spotify

Toyota has rolled out a campaign with Snapchat and Spotify to “celebrate spontaneous fun and freedom offered by its new Aygo city car”. The promotion is aimed at engaging younger buyers aged 18-34 – and countering evidence young people are the least interested in cars than they have been for decades.

In the case of Snapchat, the Aygo stars in a new augmented reality racing game called Aygo Kart, using the augmented reality lenses that will be familiar to Snapchat users.

It’s multi-player, with racers challenging each other and avoiding obstacles in their own personalised Aygos. The game responds to touch, head movements and even facial expressions.

It was inspired by the storyline from one of the Aygo ‘Just Go’ short films. ‘Where next? Wherever’ featured a young Aygo driver reacting spontaneously to texts coming through the Apple CarPlay system, asking whether he’d go footballing with mates, or to dinner with his girlfriend. We won’t spoil it for you…

For Spotify, the aim is to celebrate a wide variety of music tastes. The ad campaign focuses on ‘variety’ and ‘favourites’ listeners. They’re prompted to visit an Aygo-branded hub which gives them a bespoke playlist.

Once there, listeners can enter a prize draw for local gig tickets, although in the name of spontaneity, codes for tickets are only redeemable for seven days after victory.

Toyota Aygo

Toyota hopes the two campaigns will target a demographic at best passively engaged with the Aygo. 

“We’re really excited about the partnerships with Snapchat and Spotify,” said Matt Blake, Toyota’s brand awareness manager.

“Both are perfect platforms for us to speak to our 18- to 34-year-old target audience.

“The potential is huge to drive awareness and engagement with Aygo and the Just Go campaign.”

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