Home » This 2018 Toyota COMS Is A Weird Little Guy That Somehow Made It To America

This 2018 Toyota COMS Is A Weird Little Guy That Somehow Made It To America

Toyota Coms Gg Ts
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Here at The Autopian, we like weird little cars. We even own a few, from Jason’s Changli to a certain Berkeley. Evidently, we aren’t the only ones, because a 2018 Toyota COMS just hammered for $4,200 on Cars & Bids. Back up a second – what the hell is a Toyota COMS, and what is one doing in Texas?

Look, Y2K was a weird time. People were simultaneously optimistic for a new millennium and afraid that planes would fall out of the sky, Creed was absolutely massive, and the future was all electronic and organically-shaped. Presumably while Toyota’s corporate overlords were out partying or planning more important stuff, Toyota’s Araco Corporation body division whipped up an extremely strange-looking microcar powered by batteries.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Heavily highlighted at the 2000 Tokyo Motor Show, the Araco COMS had four-wheel drum brakes, two hub motors at the back, and an open-topped variant that looked suspiciously like a piece of airport equipment. Sales weren’t exactly massive at 2,000 units, but evidently they were strong enough that Toyota took the project under its own branding for a second generation in 2012.

Araco Coms

If the first-generation COMS looks like Mike Wazowski, the second-generation COMS looks like Nigel Thornberry. However, beneath the new proboscis sits a rather improved vehicle. It’s six MPH faster flat-out, has a range of 30 miles, and recharging time was chopped down to just six hours via a standard wall socket. Sure, those aren’t the most exciting specs in the world, but how fast and far do you want to go in a tall, narrow car that’s nearly a foot shorter than a 2010 Smart Fortwo?

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Toyota Coms 2

This particular COMS is a 2018 model, which feels surprising as it really doesn’t fit the visual language of 2018. It’s all bulbous and spartan, with features like a seat, a steering wheel, a glovebox, and a headlight switch. There’s even an instrument cluster that looks a bit like a child’s toy, although hard doors aren’t included. On that instrument cluster, you’ll see an odometer reading of 4,224 kilometers, which translates to around 2,625 miles. That’s quite the distance for something with less equipment than a portable lavatory. However, because it’s a 2018 model, there are … questions as to how it ended up in Texas, questions that haven’t been answered by the seller in the comments section.

Toyota Coms 3

This Toyota COMS doesn’t come with a title, and it’s not exactly street-legal in most jurisdictions. As Cars & Bids commenter Boultman pointed out, you may be able to get a golf cart registration for this thing in Texas, but I wouldn’t count on getting a COMS road-ready in most states.

Toyota Coms 4

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To the person who paid $4,200 for this plus the potential $750 dealer processing fee, I salute you. Sure, it raises a few red flags (including that processing fee), but it’s such a conversation piece that it might just be worth it. Most people would never imagine that this is a Toyota, and with a top speed of 37 MPH, it’s basically the Lexus LFA of golf carts.

(Photo credits: Cars & Bids, Tokyo Motor Show)

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Look, a Volvo!
Look, a Volvo!
3 months ago

The fact that this story has 8 comments 6 days after release is a testament to just how weird that thing is.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
3 months ago

Golf cart, sports arenas, retirement city cars, farm vehicle etc

Cuzn Ed
Cuzn Ed
3 months ago

That topless 2012 looks more like a “lawn tractor” to me than it does airport equipment. But i think all three pictured variants are charming, for getting-around-campus duty.

MrLM002
MrLM002
3 months ago

Honestly we should treat 1 seat automobiles under lets say 2000lbs like motorcycles. If it’s only ever going to be the driver in the vehicle then what need is there for crash testing and such. If the single seat automobile is going to get absolutely decimated by a Mitsubishi Mirage in an accident then what business is it of the government to regulate it’s crashworthy-ness? I can see the case for MPG and emissions testing for the ICE ones but seriously who thinks that the roads would be more dangerous for you and your loved ones if other people decided to drive single seat <2000lbs vehicles around?

The Daihatsu Midget II is a wonderful example of such a vehicle. With the manual transmission it’s a single seat little utility vehicle with an optional “van” bed topper. If I could get DOT legal snow tires for it in the US I would have bought several of them by now.

Toecutter
Toecutter
3 months ago
Reply to  MrLM002

I’d love to be able to start selling 150 lb one-seater microcars with velomobile aerodynamics, and with as much horsepower as there are lbs of vehicle weight.

A one-seater vehicle trimmed down to the bare essentials and streamlined for as much efficiency as possible could yield an EV that gets over 50 miles per kWh of electricity consumption at highway speeds, or if ICE gets 4-digit mpg.

And making such a thing perform like a hypercar would be very inexpensive.

A mass production run of such a vehicle could be looking at moped retail cost, but with an overall operating cost much closer to that of an ebike than a car.

Phuzz
Phuzz
3 months ago
Reply to  MrLM002

In the EU and UK we have Light, and Heavy, Quadricycles which don’t have to be crash tested*, and in some countries can be driven without a license, or with a motorbike license. Interestingly the weight limit, 425kg (~935lbs) does not include batteries if it’s electric powered, which opens up some possibilities.
*(which is kind of good, because the ones that have been crash tested did not fair well)

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
3 months ago
Reply to  MrLM002

So…… in most US states any three wheeled vehicle(of any weight) counts as an autocycle and is legally the same as a motorcycle except you don’t need a motorcycle license.

2000lb seems like a rather high cutoff, a fully four person VW Beetle weighs significantly less than that.

MrLM002
MrLM002
3 months ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

Fair enough. 1000 then?

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
3 months ago

Might be able to get an LSV registration, but not sure how you get around the 25-year rule unless you throw Mexican plates on it and only drive it here for under a year.

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