Toyota 86 is a small 2+2 sportscar that’s aimed very much at the purist driver. It’s also aimed at those who don’t have the means to spend upwards of $40,000 on a new car. Ten of thousands less than anything else that provides so much pure driving enjoyment.
If you find the name of 86 a bit on the bland side, try Hachi-Roku it’s title in Japanese. Sounds good, doesn’t it?
You could even call it the Subaru BRZ as the two are closely related twins and come from a Subaru factory. Interestingly, the engine is a Subaru-style boxer engine – more details in later in the review.
Toyota 86 sticks to the road with all the determination you would expect in any true sports machine. It seems to read the mind of the driver and is guaranteed to bring a smile to your face.
Engine performance from the 2.0-litre 200 horsepower (147 kW) four-cylinder is marginal when compared to the hot hatches that are its main competitors.
The 86 comes with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic. The manual is the preferred choice. However, you’re more likely to find a manual that has been thrashed than an auto. And it’s no secret that quite a few Toyota 86s are driven hard and faced, sometimes at track days.
The auto is setup in a very sporting fashion, wth ultra-fast changes. It even makes life easy by blipping on downshift to rev match.
A facelift late in 2016 saw a mild retune of the 86’s engine and a lowering of the differential ratio. This gives it better off the line acceleration and gives the Toyota an even more sprightliness. Love it, and this is this is the model we’d chose if our budget was up to it.
The front seats provide good lateral support without having overly aggressive side bolsters. This is very much a 2+2 so rear seat passengers had better be small and tolerant.
With the rear seatbacks folded down there’s space in the boot to carry two golf bags – this being a high priority for any car on the Japanese market.
Early Australia imports of the 86 and had a spare wheel that took a crazy amount of space in the boot. Later imports have a tyre sealant and inflation kit in place of the spare. However, if you do a serious damage to the tyre it may be a case for a tow truck. Hmm.
Toyota 86 in GT format has 16-inch alloy wheels, daytime running lights, cruise control, air-conditioning, a reasonable sound system and a multi-information display.
The topline 86 GTS has 17-inch alloy wheels, fabric front seats with leather accents and red stitching, and aluminium pedals. There are levelling HID headlamps, a rather small 6.1-inch display screen for satellite navigation with live traffic updates. Somewhat oddly there’s dual zone air conditioning – dual zone in one of the smallest cockpits on the market?
A limited edition, only 60, all in a wild orange shade, came Downunder midway through 2017. There’s no sign of these fetching any more on the used market than others, but that’s the sort of thing that could change as the 86 matures.
Toyota has been a major player in Australia for many years and is extremely well represented throughout the country, even the remotest areas thanks to its domination of the 4WD market.
Parts prices are generally reasonable and we have heard of no problems with availability. While it’s unlikely you will be able to buy spares for an 86 in the distant bush, but they can be freighted out within a couple of business days.
Insurance rating isn’t too bad for a sports machine, but if you’re young and/or inexperienced, and have a poor insurance record you could be up for big money. Get quotes from several insurers, and be sure to give them your full details of record, or you may be knocked back on a claim.
Toyota 86 has a racing series for those who really like to push themselves and their cars to the limit. Unless you want to race these cars are probably best avoided. Close to 100 cars have been modified and raced to date.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Modifications such as a body kit, rear wing, bigger wheels with lower profile tyres, added instruments, revamped seat trim, indeed anything, are fine, but make sure you’re looking at quality items not cheap backyard stuff.
Run your hand across the tyre treads from side to side and feel if they’re the same from dice to side. Uneven tyre wear may be caused by harsh track driving, drifting or simply too many attacks on a previous owner’s lap record on their favourite roads.
If it’s a Toyota 86 with a manual gearbox get a full professional inspection. If it’s an automatic it may not have been hammered in the same as a manual, but it’s still smart to get that full checkup.
Be sure the engine starts easily, idles smoothly and never misfires. Take it to the redline a few times once it’s fully warm and make sure it’s happy working there.
Do very fast changes on the six-speed manual and make sure they are all smooth and quiet.
Automatics should change up and down virtually without any hesitation.
Look over the interior, including the boot for any tears, stains or other damage.
CAR BUYING TIP
Sporty car that’s been driven in a true sporting manner? Perhaps, give it a miss…
Expect to spend from $9000 to $14,000 for a 2012 Toyota 86 GT; $12,000 to $18,000 for a 2013 GTS; $14,000 to $20,000 for a 2015 GT; $16,000 to $23,000 for a 2015 GTS; $18,000 to $25,000 for a 2015 GTS Blackline; $20,000 to $28,000 for a 2017 GTS; $22,000 to $31,000 for a 2018 GTS; and $24,000 to $33,000 for a 2018 GTS Performance.
RECALLS: To browse recalls on all vehicles go to the ACCC at: www.productsafety.gov.au/products/transport/cars/