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 SupraThe 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 SupraThe 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 SupraThe 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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New minivan

Honda announces new Odyssey Sport

Sport is a new trim for the Odyssey minivan.

Honda

The Honda Odyssey may not be the most exciting vehicle in the world, but it's getting a new Sport model that at least makes it look the part. Honda will release the model for the 2023 model year, and the Odyssey line overall will be offered with a new Honda Service Pass, which includes two years of complimentary scheduled maintenance.

The Odyssey Sport slots into the Honda catalog between the EX-L and Touring trims. It comes with gloss-black exterior trim and black 19-inch wheels outside, and black leather with red stitching inside. The cabin comes with red accent lighting on the dash and in the footwells, and the roof pillars and headliner are both black. Under the hood, the Odyssey Sport gets the same 3.5-liter V6 from years past. It makes 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque, and comes paired with a ten=speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive.

2023 Honda Odyssey SportThe Sport comes with dark exterior trim and unique leather upholstery with red stitching inside. Honda

All Odyssey models come with Honda Sensing safety equipment, which includes adaptive cruise control and pedestrian detection. The 2023 van hasn't been crash-tested yet, but the 2022 model earned a Top Safety Pick + award, so it's likely the new model will be rated similarly.

Honda Service Pass is a new program for 2023+ Honda vehicles. It covers routine scheduled maintenance for up to two years or 24,000 miles, whichever comes first. Under the program, buyers get free oil changes, tire rotations, and multi-point inspections.

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The Supra finally gets a manual transmission for 2023.

Toyota

After an almost nonstop chorus of enthusiasts and journalists asking for a manual transmission in the new Supra, Toyota has gone and done it. The car will get an available six-speed manual transmission that will be available on both variants of the GR Supra 3.0, plus a limited-edition model on the U.S. market next year.

2023 Toyota Supra 3.0 MTToyota had to modify the car's interior for the new gearbox. Toyota

The A91-MT Edition Supra will be limited to 500 units, and gets two exterior colors with an exclusive Cognac leather interior. All 2023 Supras come with a 3.0-liter straight-six engine that makes 382 horsepower and 367 pound-feet of torque. Toyota says the six-speed manual has been specially tuned to work with the car's engine, and notes that it modified an existing transmission housing to come up with the design. The gearbox's final drive ratio is shortened to improve response and take-off.

Toyota had to modify the car's interior to accommodate a gearshift lever, so the iDrive controller and other buttons had to be relocated. The automaker says that it focused on the feeling of shifting, from the weight of the knob to the ergonomics and location of the component.

2023 Toyota Supra 3.0 MTThe limited-edition A91-MT trim gets an exclusive cognac leather interior.Toyota

A Supra with a manual gearbox is reason to celebrate, but availability is limited to the top Supra 3.0. The "base" Supra 2.0 won't get the transmission. Toyota says pricing and other information will be available later this year.

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