Toyota Motor Corporation and Subaru Corporation have announced that their current alliance will be lengthening into a long-term partnership.
The major takeaways from the announcement are to continue making ever-better cars (didn’t say SUVS, weird right?) and to expand the partnership to survive this once-in-a-century period of change.
Really what this means for us is that we will see a second generation of the Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ. The announcement of the second-gen is in the same section that discusses jointly developing more all-wheel-drive models. While it would be interesting to see an all-wheel-drive BRZ, there is no indication that this will become a reality.
The best rumor we’ve heard about the next generation of the 86/BRZ is that it could possibly utilize the Turbo 2.4L four-cylinder engine from the Subaru Ascent (260 hp/277lb-ft.). Delicious. More horses, more torques, and snail power: approved. Even if it isn’t the turbo version, more power will be welcome in the 86/BRZ.
Hybrids & Driver Aids
The second takeaway from the announcement, there will be more hybrid Subaru models using Toyota’s Hybrid System. The Subaru CrossTrek Hybrid has done well enough for Subaru to pursue more hybrid versions. The hybrid Outback, Forester, and Ascent are possibly coming.
The cooperation with hybrid technology also extends into technical collaboration. Connected vehicle technology and autonomous driving will be areas of focus. While it will be years, if not decades, before the world sees true autonomous driving, Toyota has been working on a Guardian system to aid drivers. Basically, if you try to steer into another vehicle, the Guardian system will stop you from hitting that vehicle. This system is not ready for production currently. This system and more driver aids will be a point of focus for Toyota and Subaru. Both brands view these systems as the best way to continue to improve safety in their vehicles.
The hybrid, connected vehicles, and autonomous systems are all well and good, but I’m most excited about the possibility of finding a stock used BRZ in the future to use as a daily when my kids get older.