In a perfect world, we’d each have at least two cars: a comfortable and practical vehicle that dispatches the daily commute with impunity, and a car that is a bit more wild for the weekends. Each time a hot, new sports car hits the market, there’s plenty of talk about performance figures, racetrack behavior, and the way said car feels when it’s hustled down your favorite stretch of winding road. When the 2020 Toyota Supra MkV launched, I also wanted to know how the car performs in everyday driving. My question was, if you can only own one car for reasons of economy or efficiency, is a Supra going to work for you? After spending a full week with one, I have the answer(s).
The Supra has a split personality.
When I was in my 20s (ah, youth…) you could have given me a Lotus Elise to drive daily and I couldn’t have been happier. Now, knocking on the door of 40, I still love a loud, taut, firmly damped sports car as a weekend toy—but I need some compliance in a daily driver. While many folks will buy their Supras as weekend toys, I wouldn’t hesitate to put one into action as a commuter or even a road-trip companion. The Supra’s dual-mode (Normal/Sport) suspension and powertrain settings allow for a quiet and well-behaved drive when you want it, with plenty of stability in wet conditions. Hit the configurable Sport button and enjoy sharper damper settings, a snap-crackle-pop exhaust note, sharpened throttle response, and plenty of tail-out antics (especially in damp weather) with relaxed stability-control settings.
The trunk is surprisingly spacious.
Pop the Supra’s rear liftback-style hatch, and it doesn’t initially appear that there’s much luggage room at your disposal. While the cargo area’s aperture isn’t huge (nor is the cargo space itself, at 10 cubic feet), the way it’s shaped with wide wings to either side and a fairly deep load area allowed me to stash a pair of weekend bags without hassle. I also did some fairly heavy holiday shopping and a medium-sized Costco run with the Supra, and I was surprised that it hauled the goods so adeptly. Will a golf bag fit? Not unless you put it in the passenger area.
The size is perfect, but about those blind spots …
The Supra’s overall size is just about perfect. It’s not much larger than a Toyota GT86, which makes it easy to position on a track or a winding road, and a cinch to park in the city. Meanwhile, the car provides a true two-seat sports car experience without cramping driver or passenger. That said, the first time you back out of a conventional parking space, you’ll struggle to see what might be speeding down your row of the lot through. My solution was to back into parking spaces whenever possible, giving a clear line of sight when it came time to make my escape. The blind spots don’t affect parallel parking as much, as the side mirrors had me covered.
It’s both fun and capable in wet weather.
After spending time with the Supra on a dry racetrack, I never felt comfortable with the way the rear end breaks away. But at road speeds—especially in the wet—the Supra’s breakaway is far more predictable and downright fun. With the car’s differential and ESC in Sport mode, the Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires (275/35-19 rear, 235/35-19 front) can be prompted into easily sorted oversteer with a blip of the throttle and a dab of steering angle, making it a blast to slide the car around in the rain at velocities that won’t land you in the slammer.
There are a lot of fake vents.
Authenticity is a serious perception issue with the 2020 Supra. While some deride the car based simply on its BMW platform and powertrain sharing, the car drives well enough on the road to overlook that issue in my opinion. What’s more irritating is the multitude of fake vents and scoops plastered all over the car. While the car’s styling looks terrific to my eyes, it’s a downer to see so many phony airflow features—even if they are removable as part of the company’s plans to allow tuners to work with the car. That said, this isn’t a new problem in the car biz, nor is it even close to being unique to the Supra. And also, this has no bearing on how good the car is on street or track, but merely an observation.
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