Driver feedback from early development tests is one of the main factors behind the redesign of Toyota’s FT-86, which appeared in its closer-to-production form at the Geneva show.

The FT-86 II’s restyle keeps the original concept’s basic silhouette but lifts the nose, a move forced by pedestrian impact regulations. However, the biggest change is to the A-pillars, which have been moved back by around 100mm at the base, resulting in a more upright windscreen. It also gets a remodelled rear end, and LEDs in a new front bumper that draws heavily on 2007’s FT-HS concept.

Akihiro Nagaya, the manager of Toyota’s design division, told Autocar that the changes had been made after test drivers’ reaction to early prototypes of the car, which uses a floorpan and flat-four engine developed in conjunction with Subaru.

“We had feedback from drivers who felt that the angle of the A-pillars created a type of ‘tunnel vision’,” he said. “This could sometimes make the car hard to place on the road, particularly at higher speeds. The theory behind this car remains that of the ‘86’ [the original Corolla AE-86], which was easy and pure to drive, so we had to change it.”

Nagaya said the Geneva car was “a fair indication” of how the final production model could look when it arrives at the Tokyo show in December. “You could say it’s around 50 per cent there,” he said, “although that could be as high as 70 per cent.”

He also confirmed that the Toyota will share more than just mechanicals with the Subaru; the two cars will look very similar, too. He said the approach would be along the lines of Subaru’s Trezia, which is a Toyota Verso-S with redesigned grille and lights.

John McIlroy