TFL Today: Competitors that Share Components [Video]

This week on TFL Today, Andre and Michael discuss cars that were separated at birth, but now compete with one another. These are cars that come from competing manufacturers but share a significant amount of components.

Before we get into the list, there is some big news regarding Mazda and Toyota. The two companies announced the opening of a $1.6 billion manufacturing plant in the US. While they did not specify where the plant would be built, they did say it will be operational by 2021. Mazda intends to use the plant for the production of their crossover vehicles while Toyota will use the plant solely for production of the Corolla. In total, the plant is set to create around 4,000 jobs in the US, according to the two automakers. Toyota and Mazda estimate the plant will produce around 300,000 units per year. Furthermore, Toyota have announced plans to invest $10 billion in the US over the next five years.

Top 5 Competitors that Share Components

5) Mazda Miata / Fiat 124 Spider

These two cars share a number of important bits, but somehow end up with significantly different driving characteristics. The Mazda Miata and Fiat 124 Spider are both built in the same factory and share a chassis. However, they both have completely different powerplants. The Miata has a 2.0L naturally aspirated four-cylinder that makes 155 horsepower. Alternatively, the Fiat 124 Spider has a 1.4L Turbocharged four cylinder that makes 160 horsepower (164 in the Abarth). However, despite the difference in power and forced induction, the Miata was quicker around our test track. Our professional racing driver and former Top Gear USA Stig, Paul Gerrard, said this was mostly due to suspension tuning and tires. The Fiat has a looser suspension set up and an extra 100 lbs of weight. Paul said the Miata was just a bit more tight and put together on the track, hence the faster lap time.

4) Toyota 86 / Subaru BRZ

Contrary to the Miata and Fiat, the Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ are nearly identical. They share a production facility as well as a chassis and drivetrain. Both vehicles utilize the naturally aspirated 2.0L Boxer four-cylinder and a 6-speed manual transmission. Really the biggest difference is the badges and front bumper. Both cars can receive some performance goodies from their manufacturers. In the BRZ’s case it is a performance package from Subaru that adds stiffer suspension, wider tires and wheels and a big brake kit. Similarly, the Toyota can be had with a number of TRD performance parts to achieve a similar setup.

3) Nissan Navara and Frontier / Mercedes X-Class

While Nissan does not sell the Navara in the US, it does sell the Frontier. Both of these vehicles share a chassis with the newly released Mercedes X-Class pickup for the European market. Other than the chassis, these vehicles are fairly different. The Mercedes is very much a luxurious pickup while the Nissan has more of a work truck quality to it. They also share some engine options, but compared to the 86 and BRZ which are really similar, these trucks are almost completely different.

2) Mercedes GLA / Infinity QX30

The Mercedes GLA and Infinity QX30 share a chassis plus a number of drivetrain components. They have the same 7-speed dual clutch transmission an 2.0L engine option available. It is the vehicle’s styling that set these two apart. The QX30 closely follows Infiniti’s styling queues with their trademark C-pillar and grill. The Mercedes looks, well like a Mercedes. What is strange is the premium that you end up paying for the Benz, a couple thousand dollars across the range.

1) Toyota Supra / BMW Z5

2014 toyota ft-1 concept detroit
FT1 Concept, Photos of Supra/Z5 not out yet. [Photo: Toyota]
These last two vehicles aren’t actually out yet. However, we do know a fair amount of information about the Toyota Supra and BMW Z5. These vehicles are set to share a production plant in Canada where the vehicles will be assembled. They will have the same chassis, but will not share engine options. BMW is rumored to have a 2.0L four cylinder option, a 3.0L straight 6, and a performance hybrid system in their lineup. The Supra is also supposed to see a 2.0L engine, but Toyota have supposedly been developing a 3.0L twin-turbo V6 that could make upwards of 400 horsepower. Rumors suggest that the cars could share a transmission and rear suspension set up, but that information remains unconfirmed.

Bonus) Ford / Chevy 10-speed transmission

As always we have included a bonus which is the 10-speed automatic transmission now available on a number of cars from Ford and Chevy. The two companies are happy to share the fact that they developed these transmissions together to reduce cost. However, they will not tell you what differences separate the two units. The Camaro and Mustang both have this 10-speed as an option as well as the Tahoe and F-150. They are not the same exact transmission, but they were developed together.

Double Bonus) Ford / Land Rover 3.0L Diesel

Land Rover Discovery
[Photo: Land Rover]
In an unusual turn, we have a second bonus today. That is the 3.0L V6 diesel engine found in the Land Rover Discovery. Supposedly, a slightly different tuned version of this motor is going to find its way into the F-150 for those looking to have a diesel powerplant.

To hear the full explanation for every car, be sure to watch the entire video of TFL today.

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