TG Speed Week: the Scotland Showdown
We’ve got two days in Scotland to reach a definitive verdict on our favourite performance car. Time to loch and load...
Posted: 31 Aug 2012
SP: Is it too pricey? I know that yen shock is partly to blame, and I know that £25,000 is cheap by the standards of a Top Gear Performance Showdown Megatest, but you can buy a faster hot hatch for the same money with proper rear seats, a decent boot and an interior not sourced straight from 1994. Also, and there's no escaping this, the Toyota isn't especially fast. There are diesel hatches that'll hit 60mph in eight seconds.
OM: No, it's not fast, but I don't think it feels slow. It's an eager, revvy engine, keen to get going; that alone helps make up for the absence of meaningful torque. And it has delightful balance. It shows the real benefits of a simple front-engine/rear-drive lay-out combined with a good old-fashioned mechanical diff. It just works and works well. Sod torque-vectoring. This is better.
SP: It raises a zeitgeisty issue: what are we looking for in a performance car? It's about more than flat-out speed, isn't it?
OM: I have an admission. I don't like speed.
SP: Yes, you do.