The Toyota 86: A Sports Car for the Enthusiast

The Toyota 86: A Sports Car for the Enthusiast

The Toyota 86, also known as the Toyota GT86 and the Scion FR-S in some markets, is a sporty coupe jointly developed by Toyota and Subaru. It harkens back to a bygone era of affordable, lightweight, driver-focused sports cars.

Debuting in 2012, the 86 quickly gained a following for its playful handling, engaging performance, and relatively low price tag. While no longer in production under the Toyota 86 name, it has been reborn as the 2022 GR86, building upon the strengths of its predecessor.

A Legacy of Driving Fun

The Toyota 86's name pays homage to the legendary Toyota Corolla AE86, a rear-wheel-drive sports car revered for its agility and balance. Like the AE86, the 86 prioritizes handling and driver engagement over outright power.

The 86 features a Subaru-derived 2.0-liter, four-cylinder "boxer" engine, positioned low in the chassis for a lower center of gravity. This engine produces a healthy 205 horsepower and 156 lb-ft of torque, enough to propel the car from 0 to 60 mph in around 6.2 seconds.

More importantly, the power delivery is linear and predictable, encouraging the driver to explore the car's handling limits. The 86's steering is sharp and communicative, providing excellent feedback to the driver. The chassis is well-balanced, with minimal body roll and a playful attitude that makes it a joy to drive on winding roads.

A Modern Take on a Classic Formula

The 2022 GR86 takes the winning formula of the 86 and injects it with a dose of modern performance. The most significant change is a larger 2.4-liter naturally-aspirated boxer engine, which bumps horsepower up to 228 and torque to 184 lb-ft. This translates to quicker acceleration and a more engaging driving experience.

The GR86 also benefits from several suspension upgrades, including stiffer springs and thicker stabilizer bars. These changes further sharpen the car's handling and improve its overall grip.

However, the GR86 retains the playful and tossable nature that made the 86 so beloved by enthusiasts. It's a car that rewards driver skill and encourages spirited driving on backroads.

Not Just About Performance

While the Toyota 86 is all about driving fun, it doesn't neglect practicality entirely. The cabin, though small, offers enough space for two adults to sit comfortably. The rear seats are more suitable for occasional use or storing small items, but they fold down to expand cargo capacity.

The 86's interior features a driver-focused design with all the essential controls within easy reach. The materials quality might not match that of more expensive sports cars, but everything feels well-assembled and durable.

The infotainment system in the 86 is user-friendly and includes features like Bluetooth connectivity and a touchscreen display. However, some reviewers have found it to be a bit outdated compared to what some competitors offer.

A Car for Enthusiasts on a Budget

One of the most appealing aspects of the Toyota 86 has always been its affordability. This remains true for the GR86, which starts at a very competitive price point. This makes it an excellent option for driving enthusiasts who are looking for a fun and engaging sports car without breaking the bank.

There are a few drawbacks to consider. The 86's fuel economy is not particularly impressive, especially for a car in its class. Additionally, the interior space is limited, and the cargo capacity is small.

However, for those who prioritize driving pleasure over practicality, the Toyota 86 and its successor, the GR86, offer an unmatched value proposition.

A Legacy of Performance Secured

The Toyota 86 carved out a niche for itself in the automotive world, offering a compelling combination of affordability, performance, and driver engagement. The arrival of the GR86 ensures that this legacy will continue. While the 86 name may be gone, the spirit of this driver-focused sports car lives on.

Whether you're a seasoned enthusiast or a newcomer looking for a thrilling driving experience, the Toyota 86 and GR86 are sure to put a smile on your face.

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