The Toyota 86 GT is the twin to the Subaru BRZ and fits in the mini compact category; a fading slot for manufacturers today. It still appeals to those who like a ‘sports car’ that’s affordable and right-sized. It reminds this writer of the ever-popular Celica that ran for years and enjoyed a lot of popularity. Brought back in a new iteration, the 86 GT is available in five trim levels: 86 ($26505), 86 AT ($27,225), GT ($28,635), GT AT ($29,355) and the TRD SE ($32,420).
It’s been some time since we enjoyed this quick and surprisingly comfortable offering. The engine can be loud, but that’s a plus for some. After all, it wouldn’t be a ‘sports’ car if it couldn’t be heard. And in fact, most cars in this category take great pride in their muffler rumble; think, Corvette.
Our press Toyota 86 didn’t come with any options, yet still hovered under the $30,000 threshold. As expected, it comes with plenty of safety features, including Star Safety System, Vehicle Stability Control, Traction Control, Anti0liock brake system, Electric Brake Force Distribution, Brake Assist, Smart Stop Technology, Hill Start, assist Control VSC Track Mode, Advanced airbag system, Mounted side airbags, Side curtain airbags, Rear-view back-up camera (mounted on the rearview mirror), and tire pressure monitoring system.
Believe it or not, there is seating for four; the backseat is cozy but one wouldn’t want to ride very far in it. It was the same setup in the Dodge Stealth I drove for a few years, and it came in handy for ‘stuff,’ although no one chose to straddle the front seat to climb back there. But who buys a sports-like vehicle for a back seat? Is it still true that the reason the seat exists is for insurance purposes? Saving on insurance because it can claim a rear seat.
Appointments are attractive and functional; although hard plastic. What isn’t so up-to-date is the Scion-based audio and lack of smartphone integration. But what stands out the most is the 86’s driving experience. The shifter is precise and easy to operate, the car agile and quick. Although we weren’t taking this car around a track, we suspect the TRD Special
Edition would prove quick and well-planted on the track.
Tor those who aspire to the WRX sports sedan, it’s good to know that the Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ have the same engine. Toyota’s D-4S system replaces the traditional direct injection. As one might guess the competitors to the Toyota 86 include Fiat 124 Spider, BRZ, Chevy Camaro, VW Golf GTI and Mazda MX-5 Miata.
For those who want the driving to be effortless, they can opt for the six-speed automatic transmission. Surprisingly, the fuel economy is a little better in the automatic, at 24/32 mpg.
The 86’s trunk is small, at 6.9-cubic-feet, but can be expanded by lowering the single-piece folding rear seat.
The Toyota 86 is a fun car to drive on the weekend, but probably not so much when it becomes your daily driver. As with the MX-5 Miata, owners will want to have something else more practical in the garage for the other days of the week.
MSRP: $28,585; total vehicle price $29,505; delivery $920
Engine: 2.0-liter 4-cylinder Boxer, DOHC D-4S injection, 16v, 205 hp., 156 lb.ft. torque, Dual Variable Valve
Transmission: Six-speed manual, w/OD, Rear-wheel-drive, ECT-i
Wheelbase: 101.2 in.
Width: 69.9 in.
Length: 166.7 in.
Height: 50.6 in.
Weight: 2,776 lbs.
Fuel tank capacity: 13.2 gal.
EPA Fuel Economy: 21/28 mpg.
Tires: 215/45R17, 87 w summer
Wheels: Twisted spoke alloy, steel spare, 17x17
Warranty: 3-year, 36,000-miles Basic, 5-year/60,000-miles Powertrain
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