If you want to entertain on a budget. Toyota GR86 And the Subaru BRZ should be high on your shopping list.
Now in their second generation, the rear-wheel-drive twins haven’t strayed far from the formula laid out by Toyota and Subaru when they launched the first BR-86 (or should that be GRZ?) in 2012.
While the rear-drive chassis, naturally aspirated engine, and simple but practical interior live on, one important thing has changed in the new GR86.
While the first Toyota 86 was launched with a price tag of $29,990 before on-road costs, 2023 GR86 GT manual The test here starts above $43,000 before on-road.
It’s also more expensive than the base BRZ with which it shares its oily bits, but packs less stuff.
Is the new GR86 fun enough to justify its quick start sticker, or should you just stick with the Subaru BRZ?
The 2023 GR86 GT on-test starts here. $43,240 before on-road.
That’s about $3000 over the equivalent Subaru BRZ, though opting for the 86 GT automatic flips the equation – where the BRZ automatic is $3800 more expensive than the manual, the 86 manual and automatic cost the same.
with a sticker price of $45,390 before on-roadrange topping GR86 GTS It’s $3800 more expensive than the equivalent BRZ with a manual ($41,590), but costs the same with an automatic transmission.
2023 Toyota GR86 Price:
- Toyota GR86 GT: $43,240
- Toyota GR86 GTS: $45,390
All prices are exclusive of on-road costs.
This will be familiar to owners of the first-generation car, but the new 86 takes it a step further in a few key areas.
The seats here are trimmed in what feels like quality cloth, and for a car that will be driven daily… and offer the right combination of firmness in anger and long-distance comfort. They are positioned slightly lower in the cabin than before to free up a bit more space.
Combined with a redesigned dashboard, slimmer door pockets, and smarter doors, the lower seats actually open up a bit more room for leggy drivers.
The small steering wheel is lifted directly from the previous generation car, and feels just right in a car like this. There’s no flat bottom or pedals to distract, although it’s easy to accidentally hit the tiny button pods on the two spokes if you have big hands.
It’s still a tight fit up front, but you can get comfortable with it in a way you can’t with the Mazda MX-5. Not only is it more spacious, it has two cup holders under the folding central armrest, usable door pockets, and a glove box.
The digital instrument binnacle is simple but effective, and is loosely arranged like a boxer engine. You get speed and revs prominently in the center, fuel and temperature gauges on the right, and a custom pod on the right.
Like the BRZ, the 86 runs a version of Subaru’s infotainment software on an 8.0-inch touchscreen in the center of the dashboard. It’s scaled down compared to the version used in the Subaru Outback, but it works quickly and logically.
Without satellite navigation, you’ll need to plug in for Apple CarPlay or Android Auto if you want mapping.
The addition of a clear reversing camera is a win, while the USB ports are now hidden under the armrest so cables don’t get tangled in the gearstick when you’re in a hurry.
There is no doubt that the cabin is built to a price. There’s plenty of cheap or hard plastic, and it feels a bit old-hat compared to the Hyundai i20 N or Ford Fiesta ST, but all key touchpoints are of high quality.
Subaru and Toyota have clearly focused on getting the basics right for drivers.
The steering wheel, gear knob, and handbrake lever are trimmed in leather, and the armrests are soft and squishy. The simple climate control binnacle looks and feels even more premium than the first-gen car’s setup.
As for the back seats? They’re nice to have, they’re a pain to use unless the people trying to sit there are short. But take it from a former BRZ owner, they really are usable in a pinch – and with them attached, you’d be surprised what fits in there.
Power in the Toyota GR 86 comes from a 2.4 liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder boxer engine, driving the rear wheels. is the peak power. 174 kW and is the peak torque 250NmUp to 22kW and 38Nm on the old car.
Buyers can choose between a six-speed manual or a six-speed torque converter automatic. Our tester was equipped with the enthusiast’s choice, manual.
The sprint is claimed at 100 kmph. 6.3 seconds.
GR86 has one. 50 litres Fuel tank, and drinks 98 RON premium unleaded. Fuel economy is claimed. 9.4 liters per 100 km On a shared bicycle, which we have matched perfectly on our week’s rear wheel.
The first 86 had a distinctive feel from behind the wheel, and the new one doesn’t stray too far from the formula. It feels just a touch bigger than before, and a touch better in a few key areas than before.
Slot the stubby shifter into first and the light, short action will feel instantly familiar to previous owners, as will the slightly springy clutch. The second you ease off the clutch, however, it’s clear that the big new engine has added torque in all the places the first-generation car lacked.
It pulls more than happily around town in second or third gear, and when the road opens up, that terrible torque valley in the last car’s mid-range was flattened. It won’t pound your chest and make you beg for mercy with its speed, but getting the best out of it doesn’t feel like a chore anymore.
The 2.4-litre engine has the same slightly offbeat bark as before, piped into the cabin for a bit more drama behind the wheel, but it’s not as thick or raspy on the top end as before.
There is no doubt that the manual transmission is the choice of the GR86 range. The pedals are well spaced for rev-matching – there’s no active rev-match technology to help you out if you need it – and you’ll find yourself queuing up like an analogue beast in an increasingly digital world. As per the pitch of the car.
Subaru and Toyota say the synchromesh on the manual has been tweaked to make second-to-third shifts quicker and smoother, and the shift from neutral to first is slightly less crisp, but the transmission feels essentially the same as before. .
Ride quality is excellent on the 17-inch alloy wheels, making the 86 easily drivable on a daily basis. Although the blind spots are noticeable, it’s small enough and the vision is good enough to be easy to keep in town.
The fact that Toyota has omitted the safety equipment that Subaru has made standard on the BRZ manual, though, is hard to forgive. Depending on your perspective, this will either be a disappointing omission in 2022, or a welcome relief from the slow pace of autonomy in our lifetimes.
Toyota and Subaru didn’t need to fiddle with the car’s steering, which was perfect from the start. Thankfully, they haven’t.
There’s no artificial heaviness or faux-sporty quickness, but it still goes where you want it to, and there’s enough feedback through the wheel and seats to feel what the car is doing beneath you. .
It’s beautifully balanced, and the new engine makes it easy to take advantage of when you’re not driving in tenths, bouncing off the limiter.
However, unlike the Subaru, the Toyota has stuck with Michelin Primacy rubber on the base 86. While the new BRZ (and 86 GTS) has more traction than the old car, thanks in part to the standard Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres, the base 86 GT feels a bit restricted in the wet.
The transition from grip to slip can be quick, though electronic aids are on hand to keep you in normal mode when things get hairy.
The idea of making oversteer more accessible with performance-focused tires is good, but our experience with the BRZ on its stickier tires is that it still feels playful when you want it to.
GR86 GT Highlights:
- 17 inch alloy wheels
- LED headlights
- Black fabric front seats
- Leather steering wheel, shift knob
- Dual zone climate control
- 7.0-inch digital instrument cluster
- 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system
- DAB+ digital radio
- Apple CarPlay, Android Auto
- 6 Speaker Sound System
- Keyless entry and start
- Autonomous Emergency Braking (Auto Only)
- Lane departure warning (auto only)
- 7 Airbags
- Tire pressure monitoring
- Cruise control
The GR86 GTS adds:
- Matte black 18-inch alloy wheels
- Active turning headlights (turn with steering wheel)
- Ultra suede interior trim
- Heated front seats.
- Aluminum pedals, skid plates.
- Lights for sunlight
- Rear cross traffic alert
- Blind spot monitor
Toyota GR 86 and Subaru BRZ have not been crash tested by ANCAP or Euro NCAP.
The manual versions of the entry-level GR86 GT also miss out on any active driver assistance features.
Choosing the GT Automatic gets you:
- Autonomous emergency brake
- Adaptive cruise control
- Lane departure warning
- High beam assist
- Reverse the autonomous emergency brake.
The GR86 GTS includes:
- Blind spot monitoring
- Lane change assist
- Rear cross traffic alert
Like Toyota’s wider range, the GR86 is backed by a Five-year, unlimited kilometer warranty.
Maintenance is required every 12 months or 15,000 km, and Toyota covers the cost of the first five services.
They will each set you back. $280 Regardless of which transmission you choose, significantly lowers the BRZ.
The Toyota GR86 has taken a significant step forward in this second generation. It is more powerful, more composed and more usable every day, but it has not lost the original spirit.
Toyota has made some strange decisions on the specification front.
The fact that the basic GR misses out on the kit that’s standard across the corresponding Subaru BRZ range is hard to defend, especially when the range of safety options on manual models is minimal to begin with.
With both in stock, the fact that the base manual is better and cheaper than the Subaru BRZ 86 means it’s the twin we’re taking home. If you have an affinity for Toyota, or can’t afford a BRZ, the base GR86 isn’t a bad backup plan.
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More: Everything Toyota GR86