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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New sports sedan

2022 Infiniti Q50 gets more standard tech

The car sees new tech and interior features for 2022.

Infiniti

The Infiniti Q50 is an aging but still-stylish sedan that offers value and power, but it hasn't quite kept pace with the crop of more engaging premium European cars. However, it's still worth a look, and to press that point further, Infiniti has updated the car for 2022 with a healthy list of standard features.

2022 Infiniti Q50 Exterior styling has not changed for 2022.Infiniti

Headline updates for the 2022 Q50 are wireless Apple CarPlay and newly standard Bose Performance Series Audio. There's now leather for every trim, but in the ways that count, the car is the same as the one we saw last year, the year before, and so on.

That's not to say that the car is bad. After all, it still offers a 300-horsepower twin-turbo V6 as standard and can be upgraded with a 400-horsepower version of the engine. And, despite its aging exterior styling, it's still a handsome car with smooth, sculpted bodywork. The seven-speed automatic transmission and available all-wheel drive remain in place.

2022 Infiniti Q50 All-wheel drive is available for all models.Infiniti

Pricing for the 2022 Infiniti Q50 starts at $43,125, which includes a $1,025 destination fee. The car gets standard wireless Apple CarPlay, leather upholstery, 18-inch wheels, and Bose Performance Audio. All-wheel drive is available for a $2,000 upcharge.

2022 Infiniti Q50 Wireless Apple CarPlay and Bose audio are standard.Infiniti

The mid-range Q50 Sensory starts at $48,825, and comes with 19-inch wheels, black open-pore wood interior accents, navigation, and an air purifier system. Stepping up to the top Q50 Red Sport 400 will run $56,975, and brings the more powerful V6 engine, semi-aniline leather upholstery, and Dynamic Digital Suspension, which adjusts damping settings depending on road conditions and driving style.

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Honda notified dealers of upcoming supply cuts.

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

Honda, like all major automakers today, is truly a global operation. Though it produces plenty of vehicles here in the United States, many of the components it relies on for manufacturing come from elsewhere in the world. That means Honda, like the other auto giants, needs its global supply chain operating smoothly in order to prevent disruption. Unfortunately for Honda dealers and potential customers, disruption is what's about to happen. The automaker recently sent a letter to its dealers, forecasting reduced vehicle supply in the coming weeks.


2021 Honda Ridgeline No. 19 - Honda Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc


The dealer letter, posted to the Civic XI forum and fan site, was dated August 25 and confirmed by a dealer upset with the development, according to Automotive News. In the letter, Honda cites the ongoing pandemic and microchip shortages as major factors impacting its production efforts. Total shipments to dealers could be cut by up to 40 percent, but not all models will be affected to the same degree.

The letter noted that supplies of the Pilot and Passport SUVs will hold steady, and shared that production of the Civic hatchback is on schedule. However, the situation is fluid and could change at any time, so there's a chance that timelines could speed up or slack off as necessary.


2022 Honda Pilot Some models will see more cuts than others.Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc


Honda is just the latest in a long line of automakers struggling to keep pace with demand in the face of several converging global crises. In an effort to keep vehicles rolling out of factories, General Motors has implemented selective feature cuts in some of its new vehicles, such as the removal of engine start/stop tech from some trucks and SUVs. Earlier this month, Ford Motor Company told Mustang Mach-E buyers to expect delays of at least six weeks as it grapples with the chip shortage, and will temporarily reduce production capacity at a few of its plants.

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