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Toyota Supra (1994) Review

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For a car that started out as a trim package for the compact sporty 1979 Celica the Toyota Supra has come a long way. Since its inception the Supra has been powered by an inline, or straight six-cylinder engine. As it matured, not only did its displacement and horsepower increase, but many new technological advancements were added. Finally, in 1986 the Celica Supra was completely redesigned and emerged as THE Supra, Toyota's premiere high-performance sports GT coupe. Shortly thereafter turbo power and anti-lock brakes became available, as did several other safety and performance oriented features.

In planning for its newest Supra, Toyota's product planners and engineers got together with several groups of automotive journalists and asked them penetrating questions concerning what they expected, desired and required in a modern high-performance sports car. The results of these interactive sessions had to be modified by the practical limitations of design, engineering and cost considerations, but the outcome of that positive information interchange is the 1993 Supra. Using the same basic 3.0 liter, six cylinder, twin cam, inline engine as its deluxe Lexus 300 cousins the Supra can be had with or without a Turbo. Being realistic by nature, I opted for the normally-aspirated (non-turbo) which is powerful enough (220 hp) for most street-driving sports car enthusiasts.

APPEARANCE: The new fourth generation Supra reflects Toyota's styling innovation with its clean flowing contemporary lines. From its rounded front to its wrap-around rear it is all-new, with unusually wide headlight and taillight arrangements, low broad front air-intake, side sculptured rear brake cooling ducts, flag-style mirrors, well-rounded cabin area, and large wheel arches displaying five-spoke alloy wheels shod with Goodyear Eagle GS-C speed-rated tires. It has the look of power!

COMFORT: The interior environment of the Supra is designed for travelling long distances at speed and in comfort. However, convenience and luxury are not overlooked. The front seats are snug fitting and supportive, while the rear ones are just snug. The large hooded instrument panel and slanted console clearly display, with a couple of exceptions, a complete array of instruments and controls. The compact upgrade AM/FM/CD/cassette 7-speaker sound system performs very well, except for distant AM stations, but it's controls are placed too low on the console and the station numbers are hard to read in daylight. The climate control system easily maintains a comfortable temperature in the cabin. Travel storage space is at a premium, and the rear seats must be lowered to carry a golf bag. All of the usual accessories are powered, and the side mirrors are heated too.

ROADABILITY: The Supra borders on being a Grand Touring machine and, as such it delivers a firm ride at slow city-driving speeds. As speed increases the independent suspension system smooths out the ride somewhat , and at full highway speed or in gear-down drive twiisty roads it becomes very steady and a real road-holder. A lower center of gravity improves handling, and to this end Toyota went on a weight reduction program on this Supra. Among other things the hood and roof were made of aluminum, the fuel tank utilized plastic and the twin exhaust was changed to a single outlet. This diet resulted in a Supra that is about 250 pounds lighter with a one-inch lower center of gravity. Safety and control is enhanced by dual airbags, four-wheel ventilated disc brakes with an updated four-channel anti-lock system, plus speed- sensing power rack-and-pinion steering.

PERFORMANCE: The Supra has always been powered by a straight- six engine, but changes in displacement and technology have, in the non- turbo version, doubled the output from 110 to 220 horsepower. The newest 3.0 liter powerplant features twin cams, 4 valves per cylinder,, sequential multi-port fuel injection and a special intake manifold system that improves low-end torque. The transmission of choice is a smooth- shifting, five-speed, short-throw manual, but for those who drive in heavy traffic, or don"t like to shift, a four-speed automatic with a manual shift mode is available.

ECONOMY: EPA ratings are 18 city/23 highway. My overall average worked out to 19.1 mpg.

CONCLUSIONS: The Supra is Toyota's performance flagship, and the 1993 edition has been designed to present a balanced blend of power, safety, style and technical advancement.

PRICE AS TESTED: $ 35,161 including the upgrade sound system.

BASE PRICE: $ 33,900. (non-turbo)


           Base Price              $  33,900
           Price As Tested         $  35,161
           Engine Type             I-6, dohc - 24v - smpfi
           Engine Size             3.0 liter/183 cid
           Horsepower              220 @ 5800
           Torque (ft/lbs)         210 @ 4800
           Wheelbase/Length        100"/178
           Transmission            five speed manual w/od
           Curb Weight             3260
           Pounds per Horsepower   15
           Fuel Capacity           18
           Fuel Requirement        Unleaded premium (91 oct)
           Tires                   Goodyear Eagle GS-C       
                                   Front:  P225/50ZR16
                                   Rear:   P245/50ZR16
           Brakes                  anti-lock standard  disc/disc
           Drive Train             front engine/rear drive
           EPA Economy - miles per gallon,
             city/highway/observed        18/23/19.1
           0 to 60 mph                    5.9 sec
           1/4 mi (E.T.)                  14.6 sec
           Coefficient of Drag  (Cd)      .31