Toyota and Subaru will jointly announce something mysterious and quick
Toyota owns 20% of Subaru and the two Japanese automakers are working on several joint projects. One will be featured online in April 2021, and the partners posted a preview image that asks more questions than it answers.
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The photo was posted on a special page on Subaru's Japanese website and features the caption: "Let's build better and better cars together!" accompanied by a picture of the logo of each company. We're probably looking at the front end of a car. Scrolling down shows it is being presented by the head of Toyota's Fast Gazoo Racing division.
What immediately comes to mind is the long-awaited next-generation '86. Subaru introduced the second generation BRZ in late 2020, and we can't wait to drive it, but we haven't seen Toyota's version of the car yet. Untested reports claim it was delayed until 2022 at the earliest to give engineers time to distinguish it from the Subaru model. If they're true, the coupe isn't what Toyota and Subaru will jointly reveal in April. It also seems a bit strange that Toyota would ask Subaru for help in getting the 86 to the world, let alone point out the connection.
Design hints also fuel our doubts. While we don't know what the next 86 will look like, we've seen enough of the new BRZ to realize that their hood line doesn't quite match the one in the preview image of the two brands. Of course, this assumes that what we see in the photo will be presented online in less than two weeks.
If it's not 86 there are several other possibilities positioned across the spectrum of probability. Rumors spread across the internet in early 2021 said Toyota and Subaru were pooling their resources to design a rally-bred hot four-wheel drive hatch with a not inconsiderable amount of under-the-hood performance. On the Subaru side, that project could spawn the first WRX STI hatchback in several years. On the Toyota side, it could transform into a reborn Celica; After all, the company renewed its trademark for the decades-old Celica nameplate in January 2021.
We've seen next-gen WRX test mules en route, so the model is out but nothing seriously suggests another Celica is on the way. Unfortunately we are skeptical, although we cannot completely rule it out.
A joint project that has been confirmed is an electric crossover in RAV4 format that will run on a new platform. It is sold by both brands and each variant has a specific design. However, we doubt this will be previewed. First, we don't think it's ready for production. Second, it would be very strange for Toyota to ask its GR performance department to introduce a battery powered people mover.
Keep in mind that automakers don't always announce their projects in advance. Toyota and Subaru might surprise us by showing something that isn't even on our radar. All of our questions will be answered on April 5th when the Mystery Models make their online global debut. Before that, Subaru will show a more robust development of the outback called Wilderness. It will also be featured online during a presentation scheduled for March 30th.
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