Behind the Wheel

2020 Toyota GR Supra Review: Good, but not unique enough to be Supra special

The 2020 Toyota GR Supra is a sleek beast from the side.

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

When the 2020 Toyota GR Supra debuted, there were high, high hopes. With near-breathless anticipation automotive journalists lined up to get behind the wheel at the launch in Virginia last year. One by one drivers took to the track, weaving the car over hill and dale.

On the track, the model was a delight. Sure, it wasn't supercar level fantastic, but it fit the bill as a speedy sports coupe. Off the track, however, was another story. It was on Virginia's' rural roads where the model showed its worst characteristics. Its swooping hood and invasive A-pillars severely limit its outward visibility. Sure it had a good growl from the back side and engaging enough handling, but that's not all the things sports car dreams are made of, least of all Supra dreams.

2020 Toyota GR Supra The car rides on standard 19-inch wheels.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

Were expectations too high? Did the Supra do what it needed to? It was a conflict not just answered by one day behind the wheel. Finally, about a year after that first ride, the Supra was available for a longer term test.

It was during this test that the model's pain points proved even more problematic.

Getting in and out of the Supra is a chore. That's not totally unexpected, but it is a bit weird how uncomfortable the operation is given that the Lexus LC isn't nearly as problematic nor is an Acura NSX. The roof is low, even for a sports coupe, and its seating position is high. It's easy to see how drivers over six feet tall would be leave the dealer lot disappointed.

2020 Toyota GR Supra The back of the car features a unique design that's instantly recognizable as being part of the Supra.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

The car's engine is powerful, but the throttle is easy to control. Its twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 delivers 335 horsepower and 365 pound-feet of torque and it does okay on fuel - 26 mpg combined according to the EPA.

The interior of the model is nothing special. It's not particularly tech-heavy nor is it styled with nods to the Supras of the past. It's shifter is depressingly wand-like and its console looks like a mixture of bits and bobs from the BMW and Toyota parts bins. Supra was designed alongside the BMW Z4.

The car gets stares, honks, and waves as you drive it. The general public is excited to see a new Supra on the road. Immediately co-workers, friends, and relatives want to take a peek. "How does it drive?" they ask. The same answer inevitably kept coming out, "I mean, it's fine. It's a sports car."

Then they'd ask how much the tires cost. For the record, the Michelin Pilot Super Sports will set you back upwards of $250 each.

2020 Toyota GR Supra The interior of the car varies from the BMW Z4, its development twin, but it's rather status quo for both automakers.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

Mile after mile, was hard to muster much more enthusiasm. The Supra is just fine. It all works as advertised (strong brakes, lithe steering, easy drivability) but it's not the one I'd spend my $55,000 on. The Supra isn't better than a Ford Mustang. It's different. The same rule applies to the other sports coupes - Dodge Challenger, Infiniti Q60, Lexus RC, Toyota 86, Subaru BRZ, and a whole host of luxury models.

It doesn't feel unique enough or different enough from the crowd to be special and that's sad.

But, what the Supra does have, is the ability to be tuned, modded, and amped up to a "Fast and Furious"-like degree. Toyota engineers actually made provisions in the car's design for that to make it easier for upfitters. But, the point remains. Right from the dealer, it doesn't feel Supra special.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

Teachers from Houston, Tampa, and Detroit can be entered to win.

Photo by Klaus Vedfelt/Getty Images

With more parents having a larger hand in educating their children for the last seven months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it's become apparent to many just how tough being a teacher can be. Maaco, the world's largest provider of auto paint and collision services, is rewarding one lucky teacher with a free MAACOver as part of a new giveaway.

The giveaway can include an exterior paint job, deep cleaning, and collision/damage repair. These are all services that Maaco offers as part of its menu.

Teachers of grades K-12 can nominate themselves or students and community members can nominate a deserving educator via Macao.com. Only teachers in Houston, Tampa, and Detroit are eligible.

Nominations must be submitted by October 5. Winners will be announced October 19.

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If you've got a reservation, you can now order your 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

In a memo to dealers, Ford has announced that it is lowering the manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) of its 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E, the long-awaited all-electric crossover.

According to a post on the Mach-E forum, the price of the Mustang Mach-E will be $1,000 to $3,000 than initially promoted. The memo states that the Mustang Mach-E Premium will be $3,000 lower than initially anticipated with the all-wheel drive version dropping to $50,800 and rear-wheel drive model now coming in at $48,100.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E The Ford Mustang Mach-E will begin arriving at dealership lots soon. Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

The Mach-E First Edition, a sold-out top-of-the-line model, will get a $1,000 price deduction. That same drop applies to the Mach-E Select, the base model. That base model has a 230-mile range. Higher price point versions of the Mach-E can achieve up to 300 miles of range.

The price of each vehicle includes a $1,100 delivery charge. Customers are eligible to receive a $7,500 federal tax credit with purchase.

Pricing will apply to all models that have been ordered since the Mach-E was unveiled at the 2019 L.A. Auto Show. The first deliveries of the crossover are expected to arrive in customer hands later this year.

How does the new price compare? The freshly-unveiled Volkswagen ID.4 will start at $41,990 including the cost of delivery, making it about $2,000 less than the new price of the Mach-E Select, which comes in at $43,995 for front-wheel drive models and $46,695 for all-wheel drive variants. The ID.4 will get up to 250 miles on a single charge.

The Tesla Model Y comes in at $49,990 but has more range than the Mustang Mach-E at 316 miles on a single charge and comes standard with all-wheel drive.

Ford and Volkswagen vehicles will rely on private charging opportunities. Both companies have recently announced partnerships with Electrify America, which has two cross-country charging routes available and is working to rapidly install charging stations at private enterprises and in public spaces nationwide.

Volkswagen ID.4 buyers get three years of free charging with purchase. Mustang Mach-E owners get 250-kilowatt-hours of free charging when they buy a Mach-E.

Tesla has a fully built-out electric vehicle charging infrastructure that allows for fast charging of the Model Y. With that capability it can relain 158 miles of charge in just 15 minutes while at a Supercharger. There are 17,000 Superchargers worldwide and six new locations open each week according to the Tesla website.

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