As you know from previous updates, our 2020 Toyota GR Supra has collected some dust for lack of being driven. Senior editor Aaron Gold needed a car for a road trip, and so it was a deal. Here’s his report after returning.
I’ve been feeling a little bad for our long-term 2020 Toyota GR Supra: It seems that everyone who drives it bags on it for a few ergonomic bugaboos. After five days and 1,358 miles in the car, I can say that all those nits do truly deserve picking—but I can also say the Supra is a wonderful car and a great choice for long-distance travel.
My route was Los Angeles to Phoenix and Tucson, and back. As a guy traveling alone, I packed heavy—a suitcase, backpack, two bags of film-camera gear (including a Mamiya RB67, which practically requires its own car), and a tripod. Everything fit with room to spare, and had my wife accompanied me, there still would have been plenty of space. I am neither the youngest, nor the thinnest of MotorTrend staffers, and I was relieved to find that ingress and egress were very easy for a sports car. (I’m convinced Ferraris and McLarens include classes for the Beautiful People about how to get in and out gracefully. I’ve driven several and still can’t figure out how to do it and maintain my dignity.)
Hitting the Road
Sports cars aren’t always a good choice for long freeway trips, but the Supra turned out to be a gem: supportive seats, a smooth ride, and reasonable noise levels. One of my initial complaints about the Supra is that the opening between the passenger and luggage compartments lets in road noise, but a trunk full of gear provided plenty of sound insulation. I was concerned that the responsive steering that makes the Supra a joy on the track would make for a fatiguing highway drive, but it tracked straight and true and the lane keeping assist system worked nicely. Great stereo, too, as good for music as it was for podcasts. I drove about seven hours at a clip with only short stops for food and fuel and felt no fatigue.
Speaking of fuel, the Supra’s logbook revealed that my fellow staffers have been gassing it up every 160 miles or so, and I expected to make several stops to refill the 13.7-gallon tank. Those folks must have some pretty heavy feet, because—much to my delight—the Supra happily topped 350 miles on a tank. Three tanks in a row, it earned between 30 and 33 mpg. Not that I was driving with a light foot, either. The speed limit through the California desert is 70 mph, rising to 75 over the Arizona border, and the cops seem happy to tolerate 5 to 10 mph over.
To relieve the boredom of Interstate 10, I diverted to a two-laner for the last 100 miles to Phoenix. Route 60 is long and straight, but even so, passing slower-moving cars always makes me a little nervous. Not in the Supra: Foot-to-the-floor, our taxicab-colored bullet leapt from 70 to over 100 mph, and I was around those slower-moving vehicles (read: everyone else on Route 60) in seconds. And despite repeated sampling of the Supra’s passing power—all in the name of journalistic integrity, mind you—I still saw fuel economy in the low 30s.
There aren’t many curvy roads to be found in Arizona, but I did spend some time with Sport mode engaged so I could enjoy the burbling and popping from the exhaust. Besides, the Supra attracts lots of stares and smiles, and you gotta give folks a show! But I’m old and crotchety, and I valued the ability to turn off the noisemakers and cruise (more) quietly.
Is the Supra a BMW?
During my drive, I had plenty of time to contemplate the BMW versus Toyota question: With BMW doing much of the engineering, is this a proper Supra? It’s obvious in many ways that the engineering is German, but I think the Supra’s Batmobile styling has a uniquely Japanese vibe. Most important, it feels like a Supra—a smaller, leaner, more precise, and much quicker Supra. No question, Toyota and BMW arrived at the right formula. Twenty-three cumulative hours in the saddle made me a believer.
I agree with many of the criticisms leveled by my fellow MotorTrend staffers, particularly the inexplicably dim center screen, missing external trunk release, terrible wind buffeting with both windows wide open, and the lack of a three-pedal option. Things like that, frankly, make it more difficult to accept this car as a Supra, because a homegrown Toyota would never miss important details like that.
I came away with an unexpected level of respect for the 2020 Toyota GR Supra. I already knew it was a great car on the track and in the curves, and now I know it’s a great car to live with as a capable grand tourer, which not all sports cars are. What a fantastic little machine! I’m hoping to return to Arizona in a few months, and I might just ask road test editor Chris Walton if I can snag the keys again.
Read more about our long-term 2020 Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Premium test vehicle:
- Update 1: Things We Like and Don’t Like
- Update 2: Hitting the Track
- Update 3: Road Trip Report
- Update 4: 15 Things to Dislike About the Sports Car
- Update 5: We Found Four Cool Discoveries in Our Toyota GR Supra
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