Here’s a Handsome, High-Performance Toyota Sedan I Never Knew About

This is a Toyota Mark X, not to be confused with the Lincoln MKX, which it is not. What it is is a small, rear-wheel drive sedan with handsome styling and very desirable proportions. Think of it as a high-performance Camry with nicer styling, and I think you’d be on the right track.

I took a photo of this car when I was in New Zealand, where I was surrounded by all sorts of Japanese-market cars I had never seen before, as the majority of cars on the road in New Zealand are used imports from Japan. It looks sort of like the Lexus IS 300 (also sold elsewhere as the Toyota Altezza), but sort of not — and when I got home and researched it, I was even more surprised at what I found: It’s called the Toyota Mark X, and it’s actually cool.

The Mark X I found hails from the car’s first generation, which went from 2004 to 2009, and it was rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, depending on which one you got. While the standard engines were a 2.5- or 3.0-liter V6, there was a version of this car called the "Mark X Supercharged" with 316 horsepower and 304 lb-ft of torque. And rear-wheel drive! In a mid-2000s Toyota sedan!!

The Mark X was redesigned for a new generation in 2009, and, amazingly, they now offer a version with 355 horsepower and 367 lb-ft of torque. I love this: Unassuming Toyota styling, not-huge sizing (it’s 187 inches long, or about the size of a Lexus IS), big power and rear-wheel drive. Why doesn’t anyone know about this car?!

Unfortunately, I strongly suspect Toyota has no plans of offering this car for sale in the United States, as it does not fit their current business plan of selling vehicles that people will actually purchase. But I want you to know, Toyota, that I would happily purchase a used one when it’s eight grand. And I would only use genuine Toyota parts. Find a Toyota for sale

Doug DeMuro is an automotive journalist who has written for many online and magazine publications. He once owned a Nissan Cube and a Ferrari 360 Modena. At the same time.

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