top of page

It's been nearly ten years since the Toyota S-FR concept arrived at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show to steal our hearts and frighten the makers of the Mazda MX-5, but since then we've been disappointed with the absence of the small coupe on showroom floors. Being so deprived of small, spunky sports cars these days, we haven't forgotten about what could have been––and neither has Toyota, apparently. Despite the rather embarrassing hiatus separating prototype from production, Toyota has reportedly given the S-FR the green light for production all these years later. Remember, time is merely a construct.



Earlier this month, Forbes spotted a report from the Japanese publication Best Car Magazine, and it suggested that the S-FR could hit public roads by late 2026 or early 2027. Since it's been so long since the concept's debut, this won't quite be the same car, and instead will be based on a co-developed platform created by Daihatsu and Suzuki. The two automakers have allegedly been working on a pair of lightweight, mid-engined sports cars, though the introduction of the S-FR means that a more simple front-engined, rear-wheel drive layout is likely planned instead. After all, the name does stand for "Small, Front-Engine, Rear-Drive."


With the updated architecture, rumor has it that the production S-FR will get power from a turbocharged three-cylinder engine sending 150 hp to the rear wheels. Originally, the concept from 2015 was supposed to churn out 130 hp from a slightly larger 1.5 liter naturally-aspirated four-cylinder. The newer powerplant is an exact match with Daihatsu's Vision Copen concept revealed last October, all but confirming that the S-FR will be related to the next small two-door from Daihatsu.


Like we said before, this won't be the exact same car as what we saw back in 2015, even though the concept looked strikingly close to production. That means the exterior will undergo some slight changes, and according to Best Car, that will include a shrunken version of the original big-mouthed grille, along with updated lighting elements.



Remarkably, Toyota is aiming for a price that's equivalent to $22,700 in U.S. dollars. That would make it one of the cheapest rides available in the United States, and with the archrival MX-5 Miata retailing for $28,985 at Mazda dealers, this thing will undercut the small roadster by roughly $6,000.


But that's assuming the SF-R even makes it to this side of the world, as the existing GR86 needs some breathing room despite having a slightly larger footprint, and there are also rumors that Toyota is working on a Celica revival to slot into the same general size category. After all, this isn't exactly a volume segment we're talking about here, so we wouldn't keep our fingers crossed for yet another entry into the field.


Nonetheless, we're glad to see more models on the way to put the "toy" in Toyota, even if another bite-sized sports car doesn't seem likely for U.S. customers. If the production SF-R does in fact stay reserved for Japan and other places outside of the States, at least we'll still have the GR Corolla, GR86, GR Supra, and upcoming Celica revival to satisfy our inner child.


Image Credits: Toyota
Report
May 25, 2024
 •

Better Late Than Never! Toyota S-FR Greenlighted For Production

The concept that debuted all the way back in 2015 is getting awfully close to reality.

It's been nearly ten years since the Toyota S-FR concept arrived at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show to steal our hearts and frighten the makers of the Mazda MX-5, but since then we've been disappointed with the absence of the small coupe on showroom floors. Being so deprived of small, spunky sports cars these days, we haven't forgotten about what could have been––and neither has Toyota, apparently. Despite the rather embarrassing hiatus separating prototype from production, Toyota has reportedly given the S-FR the green light for production all these years later. Remember, time is merely a construct.



Earlier this month, Forbes spotted a report from the Japanese publication Best Car Magazine, and it suggested that the S-FR could hit public roads by late 2026 or early 2027. Since it's been so long since the concept's debut, this won't quite be the same car, and instead will be based on a co-developed platform created by Daihatsu and Suzuki. The two automakers have allegedly been working on a pair of lightweight, mid-engined sports cars, though the introduction of the S-FR means that a more simple front-engined, rear-wheel drive layout is likely planned instead. After all, the name does stand for "Small, Front-Engine, Rear-Drive."


With the updated architecture, rumor has it that the production S-FR will get power from a turbocharged three-cylinder engine sending 150 hp to the rear wheels. Originally, the concept from 2015 was supposed to churn out 130 hp from a slightly larger 1.5 liter naturally-aspirated four-cylinder. The newer powerplant is an exact match with Daihatsu's Vision Copen concept revealed last October, all but confirming that the S-FR will be related to the next small two-door from Daihatsu.


Like we said before, this won't be the exact same car as what we saw back in 2015, even though the concept looked strikingly close to production. That means the exterior will undergo some slight changes, and according to Best Car, that will include a shrunken version of the original big-mouthed grille, along with updated lighting elements.



Remarkably, Toyota is aiming for a price that's equivalent to $22,700 in U.S. dollars. That would make it one of the cheapest rides available in the United States, and with the archrival MX-5 Miata retailing for $28,985 at Mazda dealers, this thing will undercut the small roadster by roughly $6,000.


But that's assuming the SF-R even makes it to this side of the world, as the existing GR86 needs some breathing room despite having a slightly larger footprint, and there are also rumors that Toyota is working on a Celica revival to slot into the same general size category. After all, this isn't exactly a volume segment we're talking about here, so we wouldn't keep our fingers crossed for yet another entry into the field.


Nonetheless, we're glad to see more models on the way to put the "toy" in Toyota, even if another bite-sized sports car doesn't seem likely for U.S. customers. If the production SF-R does in fact stay reserved for Japan and other places outside of the States, at least we'll still have the GR Corolla, GR86, GR Supra, and upcoming Celica revival to satisfy our inner child.


Image Credits: Toyota

More From 

Report

Porsche 718 Cayman And Boxster Will Surrender To Their EV Replacements Next Year

Porsche 718 Cayman And Boxster Will Surrender To Their EV Replacements Next Year

The BMW Z4 Will Drag Toyota Supra Into Its Grave When It Departs In 2026

The BMW Z4 Will Drag Toyota Supra Into Its Grave When It Departs In 2026

Dodge And Ram CEO Tim Kuniskis Retires As Hellcat Era Comes To An End

Dodge And Ram CEO Tim Kuniskis Retires As Hellcat Era Comes To An End

Better Late Than Never! Toyota S-FR Greenlighted For Production

Sign up for our newsletter.

Get industry updates sent straight to you, designed to offer a simple glance at the motoring world.

bottom of page