2017 Toyota 86 – Review
The rebranded “86” is a refreshing addition to extremely limited Toyota RWD lineup. Born from the ashes of the now dead Scion brand, the 86 is the reincarnate of the FRS.
Starting as the groupthink project by Subaru and Scion, this small, affordable sports car makes a welcomed appearance in the Toyota brand. Being their only current two doors, rear wheel drive car, this addition is a clear nod to the past and the much loved Toyota Celica/Supra.
There wasn’t much that changed during the rebadge except for really the badge itself. You’ll see a few minor tweaks in places like the bumpers and lights. Toyota also did some tuning and re-gearing which is all that differentiates this from the nearly identical Subaru BRZ
The 86 is a sleek car with all the lines and shapes expected in a true sports car. It is a true back to the basics sports car. It’s a lightweight, rear wheel drive coupe, with Toyota focusing on the handling and driving experience. While it does give some much-needed choice to the entry-level sports car line, the “sports” is mostly external. The unique 2.0l flat 4 Boxer engine helps deliver a lower profile and center of gravity, making for a sportier feeling ride.
However, to get the price tag to start at only $29,580, the Toyota scrapped everything that doesn’t fit the sports car image. Unfortunately, that might have meant giving up some raw off the line power. The Toyota 86 powerhouse pushes out a very unsatisfactory 200hp with 156ft. Lbs of torque. This pushes the almost 1300kg car from 0-60 in 6.2 seconds. When compared to similarly priced but much more powerful Nissan 370z, a 332hp v6 that goes 0-60 in over a second faster, the Toyota 86 looks like less of a sports car and more of a daily driver. Except that even the 1.5L Honda Civic Si, puts out the same HP, but with much better fuel economy.
The interior is also quite minimalist. While I expect there only to be two seats in a coupe (who uses the backseat in a two-door??) the cockpit of this vehicle is severely lacking. Toyota drives home the back to basics look with a dash that would look more at home in a higher end car from 20 years ago. Many of the tech goodies found standard in cars that are half the price are missing in this vehicle. While if you’ve never had some of those features, I’m sure your driving experience wouldn’t suffer, drivers who have had the pleasure of using them may be turned off this vehicle just for that reason.
In conclusion, the Toyota 86 is a welcomed addition to the lineup. It marks the re-entry of the Toyota brand into the RWD sports car market. At the under 30k starting point this is a perfect vehicle for a young adult to get their hands on a brand new driving machine. Toyota has ensured that the focus of this car is on the driving experience, especially if you enjoy drifting more so than speed. To keep the price on the lower end, the Toyota 86 cuts out all the frills and leaves you with a fun to drive RWD coupe good for the daily grind yet still suitable for the occasional rip around some winding backroads, or the hugging some curves on the track.
- Starting at $29,580
- 2.0L flat 4 Boxer engine
- 205hp @ 7000rpm
- 156 ft. lbs. torque @ 6400rpm
- 0-60mph in 6.2 seconds
- 1252kg base curb weight
- Seating for 4