The 86 has a funny history. It was introduced for 2013 as the Scion FR-S, sister car to the Subaru BRZ and the product of a partnership between Subaru and Toyota to build an affordable rear-drive sports car. When Toyota closed the doors on the Scion brand, the FR-S was rebranded as the Toyota 86 (which had been its name in the Japanese market) for the 2017 model year. It sits below the Supra in Toyota's lineup of sports cars and competes with other rear-drive coupes like the Mazda MX-5 Miata, Ford Mustang EcoBoost, and the four-cylinder Chevrolet Camaro, as well as affordable enthusiast's cars such as the Volkswagen Golf GTI.
There aren't enough cars in the world like the Toyota 86. We adore its balanced rear-drive handling, slick manual gearbox, and accurate steering. It's all kinds of fun to drive. The excellent body control and superior handling are offset by stiff suspension and middling ride quality, but most of the time we don't mind. We do appreciate the 86's aftermarket support, which is something we explored in our year-long loan with a Scion FR-S.
The aging infotainment system we've complained about in the past will be much more user-friendly with the addition of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support. The cabin still feels a bit dated, but we can get past that by calling it classic instead. Back seats in these cars are useless, though; even children will struggle to fit in the back if there's a full-size adult in the seat in front of them.
It's not underpowered, despite what internet trolls might tell you. Revving out the engine to the top of its powerband is a joy and the amount of power is well-suited to the chassis and grip level. In fact, the 86 is nearly perfect right out of the box.
Regardless of trim, every 86 is powered by a 2.0-liter boxer (horizontally opposed) four-cylinder mated to a six-speed manual or automatic transmission sending power to the rear wheels. There's a slight variation in power output depending on transmission choice. Manual-equipped cars make 205 hp and 156 lb-ft of torque, but those with the automatic make do with 200 hp and 151 lb-ft.
The last manual 86 we tested took 6.8 seconds to reach 60 mph, though when the 86 was badged as a Scion FR-S, we managed to hustle it to 60 in 6.2 seconds. Based on the performance of its platform twin, the Subaru BRZ, we can expect the automatic model to be around a second slower in a straight line, but opting for auto does provide a fuel economy benefit. Models equipped with the automatic transmission are EPA-rated at 24/32 mpg city/highway and those with the manual return 21/28 mpg.
The 86 is a relatively safe vehicle, according to the IIHS. Other than an Acceptable small overlap front driver's side rating, it earns the highest possible scores in every crashworthiness test. The NHTSA hasn't evaluated the 86 but back when it was badged as the Scion FR-S, it received a five-star overall safety rating. Toyota doesn't list cargo capacity for the 86, but its identical twin the Subaru BRZ has 6.9 cubic feet in the trunk and more if you fold down the rear seats.
The 86 is technically a four-seater, though even with the smallest of passengers occupying the seat behind you, your throne would need to be pushed so far forward that your knees would be up against the dash. Passengers up front have 41.9 inches of legroom, and rear legroom is listed at 29.9 inches.
All 86 models have a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system that, for the 2020 model year, now includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. We've written not-so-nice words about this system in the past, but the updated functionality will make a huge difference on that front. Regardless of trim, eight-speaker audio is standard.
The entry-level 86 has everything you need: a 2.0-liter flat-four, six-speed manual, and RWD for starters. It also features 17-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights and daytime running lights, LED taillights, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and suede-like interior trim with an embroidered "86" logo, plus a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and eight-speaker audio.
Stepping up to the 86 GT nets 18-inch alloy wheels with Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires, a matte black rear wing, LED fog lights, heated side mirrors, and an aerodynamic underbody panel. Inside, there's dual-zone automatic climate control, 4.2-inch instrument cluster display, leather parking brake handle and shift boot, and heated front seats with leather bolsters and suede-like inserts. A proximity key with push-button start is standard.
The base 86 and 86 GT are both available with the TRD (Toyota Racing Development) Handling package, which adds serious performance hardware to the equation. Suspension is improved with Sachs performance dampers, and the braking system is addressed with upsized Brembo ventilated disc brakes. A TRD emblem is included and the base model gets the aerodynamic underbody and the larger wheel/stickier tire combo that's standard on the GT.
The Hakone Edition is new for 2020 and it pays homage to the iconic Hakone Turnpike two hours southwest of Tokyo. It features exclusive dark green paint, 17-inch bronze-colored alloy wheels, black and tan leather and Alcantara seats, and tan contrast stitching.
|$500||Toyota announces a College Graduate Rebate on select models. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.]||07-06-2021|
|$500||Toyota announces a Military Rebate on select models. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.]||07-06-2021|
|$500||Toyota announces a Bonus Cash offer on select models. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.]||07-06-2021|