How were these cars marketed? Commercials from the time placed emphasis on value, or "bang for the buck." The "Corolla Sport" (2 door, RWD models) were sold as an inexpensive car that was also fun to drive.
Another commercial whimsically highlights the performance aspects of the car, although I don't think drag racing was ever a strong point of the stock "TC 16":
This 2013 Toyota commercial features an AE86 and attempts to tie it to the legacy of the more modern model:
And the notorious 2015 "Poser Mobile" T-Mobile commercial. Poor car :(
This recent 2015 web commercial from Japan is kind of silly, check out the initial D references:
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