However, all is now forgiven. Whatever odd choices Toyota has made or will make with its sub-brand don’t matter, because of this little package of awesomeness - the Copen GR Sport.
Oh yes - Gazoo Racing has had a go at overhauling the Copen, built by Toyota subsidiary Daihatsu. The most obvious changes concern the new front and rear bumpers, which give it an especially aggressive aesthetic. It’s like looking an angry puppy. And how can you not find that adorable?
The Copen GR Sport also gets new front and rear LED light clusters, and forged BBS wheels. To make sure the interior is as delightfully sporty as the exterior, Toyota has added GR-branded Recaro seats and a leather-trimmed Momo steering wheel.
The conversion goes a lot further than just a cosmetic nip and tuck, too. The dampers have been re-tuned, there’s a new under-body front strut brace, and the electric power steering has been tweaked. You even get a limited-slip differential, so long as you opt for a manual.
With the same 62bhp 660cc engine as the standard Copen, the GR Sport version won’t be quick, but that’s the point. “We offer the pleasure of being able to use the engine power to the max because it is a minivehicle, and the superior comfort of controlling the vehicle at will, which is like a lightweight sports car in everyday life,” Toyota says. Preach.
For customers wanting to take things further, there is a range of extra GR bits and pieces available including a front splitter, rear spoiler and side skirts. Prices start at 22,000 yen, which is about £160. The car itself is 2,435,000 yen, or about £18,000.
If you don’t live in Japan, though, this is all moot - the Copen GR Sport is a JDM-only car. Sorry.