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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    Interactive Review: 2020 Toyota 86 GT

      The model formally known as the Scion FR-S comes in for its interactive review

    Next up on the review vehicle playlist here at C&G's Detroit Bureau is the 2020 Toyota 86, a vehicle I haven't driven since it was called the Scion FR-S. A lot has changed with this model aside from its name since the one I drove back in 2013. The styling has been refreshed, various tweaks made the suspension, and minor updates to the interior. What hasn't changed is the 2.0L boxer-four from Subaru that produces 205 horsepower and 156 pound-feet of torque. My test vehicle has the standard six-speed manual.

    The as-tested price for this 86 comes to $34,783, partly due to a couple of TRD options being fitted. Here's some first impressions,

    • The 2.0L boxer-four isn't a great sounding to begin with, sounding like a bucket of bolts being shaken. The optional TRD exhaust only makes the noise worse.
    • Handling is still this car's strong suit, offering minimal body roll and crisp steering.
    • The touchscreen radio is very barebones, but does offer Apple CarPlay.

    I'll have more thoughts throughout the week, and will be doing my best to answer various questions from you. 

    Toyota 86 2.jpgToyota 86 3.jpgJF1ZNAE16L9751075.png

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    $34k and it doesn’t have any power and it isn’t very nice inside, so what do you get for all that money?

    Also there are 6 cylinder cars with 400 hp putting out 21/28 mpg or even beating that number.

    Edited by smk4565
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    4 hours ago, Drew Dowdell said:

    What has been changed since it has been introduced?

    Updated styling, new radio and climate controls, improved instrument cluster, changes to the suspension, and others.

    3 hours ago, David said:

    With Torque being so weak, how is the off the line pull?

    How is high speed passing in this car?

    Equal to the 2013, better or worse since your last review?

    • Does surprisingly well off the line, where it lacks is in the mid-range
    • Tough as you need to plan and bear in mind you'll be wondering where all of the power went in the mid-range
    • Some aspects are better, will need to spend more time to fully answer that.
    2 hours ago, smk4565 said:

    $34k and it doesn’t have any power and it isn’t very nice inside, so what do you get for all that money?

    Also there are 6 cylinder cars with 400 hp putting out 21/28 mpg or even beating that number.

    The driving experience, not everyone wants something that is stupid fast. See also the Miata.

     

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    Am I the only one to actually like this car?

    OK...NOT the Toyota, the Subie.  But that is just me being douchie against Toyota.  :Toyota:

    There is a reason why I like this car:  ITS A 2 DOOR SPORTS CAR IN AN ERA WHEN COUPES AND/OR SPORTS CARS  ARE NON-EXISTENT.   And THAT to me is more than enough reason to like this car.

    I do not know if you guys know that I HATE  HATED  the 5th gen Camaro.    Well...I saw 3 today randomly.  Almost back to back to back going to work.   2 6 cylinder models and 1 SS.   The SS made some lovely V8 sounds as I heard it while driving in back of it ....and  I felt something that I havent felt in a looooong time.   I miss when 2 door coupes and sports cars were all over the damned place and not some mythical unicorn in a sea of CUVs.     

    We should be thankful these exist...especially from appliance company #1 Toyota.  And no worries, those folk who want a little more ooomph from their Toyobarus

    https://elementtuning.com/monster-86-subaru-brz-and-toyota-86-v8-conversion/

     

    Picture courtesy LSXTV

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    I get that they are small and light, so you don't need a lot of power, but this car is slow for $34k.  Golf GTI is a much better buy.   I'd imagine too whatever good handling it has, it pays for in ride comfort, being a short wheelbase car with some stiff suspension set for handling.

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    What if these cars had a racing series dedicated only to them?  Like how the Porsche 944s, Camaros and Miatas had. Would that make a difference in ya'lls perception?

    Because, Porsche 944s and Miatas of their day werent all that fast...but were/are still revered by...um...car enthusiasts.

    Like...arent we car enthusiasts here?  

    Because we all act like it but then we shyte on this car...  I get that this is a Toyota, and I applaud and appreciate the shytting , but at heart, this car is a dedicated sports car through and through.  Yes...with a torqueless 4 banger. Subaru should have offered their WRX engine in it while Toyota could have at least tried to shoehorn their BMW  sourced inline 6 from their Supra for a hyper trim 86 negating the need to LS swap.  But at the end of the day, the Toyobarus are purebred sportscars...  And THAT is a good thing!  

     

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    16 hours ago, surreal1272 said:

    I can get a better driving experience for the same and possibly cheaper coin. 

    the old four cylinder Camaro would have been a better driving experience.

     

    and armrest, 200 dollar OPTION!!!!

    Edited by regfootball
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    20 hours ago, daves87rs said:

    Still a nice car...they can be fun to drive. But still about ten grand too much......

    Hence when it comes to my recommendation in my finished review, I likely say the base model is the better buy ($27k or so).

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    4 hours ago, William Maley said:

    Hence when it comes to my recommendation in my finished review, I likely say the base model is the better buy ($27k or so).

    Yep!

    Always find it interesting that when it comes to small fun cars, the base model tends to better when there is no junk added..........

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    "The 2.0L boxer-four isn't a great sounding to begin with, sounding like a bucket of bolts being shaken." That was good Maley, I got a good laugh out of that! It's true they are an odd sounding engine.

    I think the only thing these cars have going for them is the RWD driving dynamics, a lot of drifters like them. They definitely need some more pony's under the hood and to drop the MSRP at least $5k! 

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    On 8/28/2020 at 10:27 PM, smk4565 said:

    I get that they are small and light, so you don't need a lot of power, but this car is slow for $34k.  Golf GTI is a much better buy.   I'd imagine too whatever good handling it has, it pays for in ride comfort, being a short wheelbase car with some stiff suspension set for handling.

    Sure, lets compare apples to oranges.  FWD souped up hatchback and RWD sporty coupe.

    I bet you never driven either one but rush to make such statements.

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    13 hours ago, William Maley said:

    Hence when it comes to my recommendation in my finished review, I likely say the base model is the better buy ($27k or so).

    Everyone gets caught up on the price of the fully loaded car.  It has a bunch of options really not necessary for the driving enjoyment.

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    On 8/28/2020 at 5:08 PM, surreal1272 said:

    I can get a better driving experience for the same and possibly cheaper coin. 

     

    On 8/28/2020 at 4:07 PM, David said:

    Better be one hell of an ExPeRiEnCe for that kind of Coin and Weak ass engine.

    For that kind of money you can easily find a 2.0 or 3.6 Camaro(probably with the 1LE package as well) or 2.3 Mustang.

    A 1LE 2.0T Camaro can be had for $29,500.

    1LE 3.6 Camaro can be had for $32,100.

    The 2.3 EcoBoost Mustang can be had with the "high performance package"(I thought it was just "performance package" in the past) for $32,300.

    I do understand this Toyota is probably as loaded up as it can get so with the Mustang and Camaro adding the performance packages for those prices, you're definitely in lesser trims.

    It's unfortunate because I think the Toyota LOOKS like a perfect alternative to the MX-5, as I'm not a fan of convertibles. It just sucks it has an engine not really worthy of the vehicle. It doesn't so much need more horsepower or even toque, it just needs to be a more rev happy engine that inspires aggressive driving. 

    On 8/28/2020 at 9:13 PM, oldshurst442 said:

    Am I the only one to actually like this car?

    OK...NOT the Toyota, the Subie.  But that is just me being douchie against Toyota.  :Toyota:

    There is a reason why I like this car:  ITS A 2 DOOR SPORTS CAR IN AN ERA WHEN COUPES AND/OR SPORTS CARS  ARE NON-EXISTENT.   And THAT to me is more than enough reason to like this car.

    I do not know if you guys know that I HATE  HATED  the 5th gen Camaro.    Well...I saw 3 today randomly.  Almost back to back to back going to work.   2 6 cylinder models and 1 SS.   The SS made some lovely V8 sounds as I heard it while driving in back of it ....and  I felt something that I havent felt in a looooong time.   I miss when 2 door coupes and sports cars were all over the damned place and not some mythical unicorn in a sea of CUVs.     

    We should be thankful these exist...especially from appliance company #1 Toyota.  And no worries, those folk who want a little more ooomph from their Toyobarus

    https://elementtuning.com/monster-86-subaru-brz-and-toyota-86-v8-conversion/

     

    Picture courtesy LSXTV

    I think it is extremely attractive. I would absolutely like to drive one and they're probably quite a bit of fun. 

    The downside to me is extracting more power out of them. I remember watching a full detailed video about modifying them and dynoing them after each common aftermarket part and with like a tune, intake, and exhaust, they only got like 10whp out of it. They just don't respond well to common aftermarket parts and pretty much need boost to really add any power. That would be a huge downside to me. It isn't wicked quick and I wouldn't be going for some 400hp Toyota 86 or whatever, but I'd like to be able to get like 225-250WHP. That would be properly quick for the size of car.

    Edited by ccap41
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    On 8/28/2020 at 11:08 PM, smk4565 said:

    It would be a slow racing series and no one want to watch a one make race.  154 lb-ft just isn’t enough for over $30k of car.

    When you're rating, you're never pulling from 1500rpm anyway. You don't need much torque in a car that's on a racetrack. it would benefit from a fatter mid-range but it doesn't need much from 1500-3000rpm for a racing series. 

    Look at F1 cars if you're doubting that fact. 

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    1 hour ago, ccap41 said:

     

    For that kind of money you can easily find a 2.0 or 3.6 Camaro(probably with the 1LE package as well) or 2.3 Mustang.

    A 1LE 2.0T Camaro can be had for $29,500.

    1LE 3.6 Camaro can be had for $32,100.

    The 2.3 EcoBoost Mustang can be had with the "high performance package"(I thought it was just "performance package" in the past) for $32,300.

    I do understand this Toyota is probably as loaded up as it can get so with the Mustang and Camaro adding the performance packages for those prices, you're definitely in lesser trims.

    It's unfortunate because I think the Toyota LOOKS like a perfect alternative to the MX-5, as I'm not a fan of convertibles. It just sucks it has an engine not really worthy of the vehicle. It doesn't so much need more horsepower or even toque, it just needs to be a more rev happy engine that inspires aggressive driving. 

    I think it is extremely attractive. I would absolutely like to drive one and they're probably quite a bit of fun. 

    The downside to me is extracting more power out of them. I remember watching a full detailed video about modifying them and dynoing them after each common aftermarket part and with like a tune, intake, and exhaust, they only got like 10whp out of it. They just don't respond well to common aftermarket parts and pretty much need boost to really add any power. That would be a huge downside to me. It isn't wicked quick and I wouldn't be going for some 400hp Toyota 86 or whatever, but I'd like to be able to get like 225-250WHP. That would be properly quick for the size of car.

    For more than $1000 LESS, I can get a 6.2L V8 Camaro. As otherS have said, get the base model 86 if you want a decent deal. All the options add up to about $8K too much especially when none the options involve more power. Listen, don’t get me wrong here. Price aside, I get the appeal of the car. As a former MR2 owner, I get it. I also get value and this car, with options, is not a good value at all.

    Edited by surreal1272
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    9 hours ago, ykX said:

    Sure, lets compare apples to oranges.  FWD souped up hatchback and RWD sporty coupe.

    I bet you never driven either one but rush to make such statements.

    I have not driven either, but there aren't many cars in this segment.  I have driven the Genesis Coupe with a V6 years ago, that at least had 300 hp for similar money to the BRZ/86.  A Nissan 370Z is the same price and has 332 hp and it is is a fairly light weight car, smaller than something like a Camaro or Mustang.  

    And I don't expect the 86 to drop a 300 hp V6 in there, but I don't see why they can't offer the 241 hp turbo 4 in the Lexus IS or the 268 hp Subaru WRX engine.  Either would work and make this car worth $34k.

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    12 hours ago, smk4565 said:

    I have not driven either, but there aren't many cars in this segment.  I have driven the Genesis Coupe with a V6 years ago, that at least had 300 hp for similar money to the BRZ/86.  A Nissan 370Z is the same price and has 332 hp and it is is a fairly light weight car, smaller than something like a Camaro or Mustang.  

    And I don't expect the 86 to drop a 300 hp V6 in there, but I don't see why they can't offer the 241 hp turbo 4 in the Lexus IS or the 268 hp Subaru WRX engine.  Either would work and make this car worth $34k.

    Again, this car is fully loaded costs $34k it starts at $27k.  370Z starts at $31k, fully loaded it reaches $45k (which is ridiculous by itself)

    370Z weight is 3200lbs minimum, 86 weight is 2800lbs.

    Could 86 use more power? Absolutely!  But comparing fully loaded car to a bare bones Mustang, Camaro or 370Z is stupid.

    Mustang Ecoboost starts at 27k too but it will be a pig compared to 86 or Miata.  It has 300 hp but weight 3600lbs.

    I can tell you one thing, in autocross were agility and handling is the priority there are only few cars that rule: Miata, 86/BRZ, Corvette and 911/Cayman.  

     

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    On 8/28/2020 at 5:03 PM, ccap41 said:

    dRiViNg ExPeRiEnCe

    The Driving Experience is much better in my 2020 Ford Ranger. 

    45 minutes ago, ykX said:

    Again, this car is fully loaded costs $34k it starts at $27k.  370Z starts at $31k, fully loaded it reaches $45k (which is ridiculous by itself)

    370Z weight is 3200lbs minimum, 86 weight is 2800lbs.

    Could 86 use more power? Absolutely!  But comparing fully loaded car to a bare bones Mustang, Camaro or 370Z is stupid.

    Mustang Ecoboost starts at 27k too but it will be a pig compared to 86 or Miata.  It has 300 hp but weight 3600lbs.

    I can tell you one thing, in autocross were agility and handling is the priority there are only few cars that rule: Miata, 86/BRZ, Corvette and 911/Cayman.  

     

    Whcih is why my Daughter drives a C6 Z06, my son drives an S2000, Daughters boyfriend has a Mitsu Evo....good autocross cars all. 

    19 hours ago, surreal1272 said:

    For more than $1000 LESS, I can get a 6.2L V8 Camaro. As otherS have said, get the base model 86 if you want a decent deal. All the options add up to about $8K too much especially when none the options involve more power. Listen, don’t get me wrong here. Price aside, I get the appeal of the car. As a former MR2 owner, I get it. I also get value and this car, with options, is not a good value at all.

    I am kind of becoming more of a truck guy. Would buy a Mustang GT or Civic Type R if I were to spend $ for a passenger car in this price range. 

    21 hours ago, ccap41 said:

     

    For that kind of money you can easily find a 2.0 or 3.6 Camaro(probably with the 1LE package as well) or 2.3 Mustang.

    A 1LE 2.0T Camaro can be had for $29,500.

    1LE 3.6 Camaro can be had for $32,100.

    The 2.3 EcoBoost Mustang can be had with the "high performance package"(I thought it was just "performance package" in the past) for $32,300.

    I do understand this Toyota is probably as loaded up as it can get so with the Mustang and Camaro adding the performance packages for those prices, you're definitely in lesser trims.

    It's unfortunate because I think the Toyota LOOKS like a perfect alternative to the MX-5, as I'm not a fan of convertibles. It just sucks it has an engine not really worthy of the vehicle. It doesn't so much need more horsepower or even toque, it just needs to be a more rev happy engine that inspires aggressive driving. 

    I think it is extremely attractive. I would absolutely like to drive one and they're probably quite a bit of fun. 

    The downside to me is extracting more power out of them. I remember watching a full detailed video about modifying them and dynoing them after each common aftermarket part and with like a tune, intake, and exhaust, they only got like 10whp out of it. They just don't respond well to common aftermarket parts and pretty much need boost to really add any power. That would be a huge downside to me. It isn't wicked quick and I wouldn't be going for some 400hp Toyota 86 or whatever, but I'd like to be able to get like 225-250WHP. That would be properly quick for the size of car.

    The Miata is IMHO so much more of a pure sports car. They have retractible hardtop 3rd gen Miatas, and rF in the 4th gen. Or get one of the removable hardtops for the first two gens. I love the 86/BRZ, but could not justifry it over a Miata. 

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    • By William Maley
      For your consideration: Two unlikely sport sedans.
      The Toyota Camry TRD and Lexus ES 350 F-Sport may not seem like credible sport sedans at first glance. They may seem like tarted-up sedans in terms of looks, but nothing else. However, after spending a week in each one, I can say both are the real deal.
      Camry TRD
      This Camry is in your face about its sporting potential. It comes with a front splitter, side skirts, a distinct rear spoiler, and 19-inch TRD wheels with a matte black finish. I found it to be a bit much and wished Toyota offered a package that got you the goodies for the suspension and exhaust system while keeping the looks of a standard Camry. A sleeper of sorts. TRD models come with small touches inside such as red seatbelts, red stitching on the seats and dash; leather-wrapped steering wheel, and TRD floor mats. Otherwise, it is your standard Camry interior. Power comes from a 3.5L V6 with 301 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque. Yes, that's the same output as the Camry XLE V6 I drove earlier. But what TRD has done is added a new exhaust system that provides a nice growl. I'll admit I was surprised when I blipped the throttle at a stoplight and heard what came out. This is an engine you have to work slightly to get into its sweet spot of power - around the mid-range on the rpm band. But once you do, the engine delivers a smooth punch of power. I do wish the six-speed automatic wouldn't try to go into the highest gear ASAP to maximize fuel economy. Where TRD worked their magic is with the suspension. The car is lower than a standard Camry, along with being stiffer thanks to thicker underbody braces, stabilizer bars, and shocks. On a winding road, the Camry TRD feels much more athletic than the standard Camry with minimal body and a set of summer tires providing excellent grip. The only downside is the steering which needs a bit more weight. Ride quality is a bit more firm than a standard Camry, but the suspension does a decent job of minimizing the bumps and impacts. To top it all off, Toyota has priced the Camry TRD at a surprising point. With the two-tone paint on my tester, it comes at $32,920 - making this the cheapest way to get a V6 in a Camry. The added bonus is that the TRD is also the most fun you can have in Camry.
      ES 350 F-Sport
      Lexus takes a more sedate approach with the ES F-Sport with a mesh grille insert, new wheels, and a small lip spoiler. I think if they went overboard with the sporty touches, it would ruin the elegance of the standard ES design. I will say the grey on my tester makes the F-Sport kind of look somewhat bland. Going with either the blue or red helps it stand out. Under the hood is the same 3.5L V6 found in other ES 350s, producing 301 hp and 267 lb-ft. The behavior is similar to what I found in the Camry, needing to work it before a smooth rush of power comes on. The transmission doesn't have the same programming as the Camry's with trying to maximize fuel economy. It is ready to downshift at a moment's notice. I've praised the standard ES for making a real leap forward in handling as there is less body motion on windy roads when compared to the previous model. The F-Sport takes that a step further with a revised suspension and optional adaptive dampers - which my car had. Slip the drive mode into Sport+ and ES transforms into something that you can pilot with confidence on a twisty stretch of road. The dampers firm up to make body roll non-existent, and the steering feels more weighty when turning. When you decide to stop having fun and turn the drive knob to either normal or comfort, the F-Sport transforms a standard ES with a smooth and quiet ride. The price? Base is $44,635 and this fully-loaded tester comes in at $53,950 with destination. A bit hard to swallow when you consider that the Avalon TRD offers similar performance for slightly less money. But not everyone wants a sedan that screams "look at me", and thats where the ES 350 F-Sport shines. It may be sporty, but it keeps quiet about its intentions. Disclaimer: Toyota and Lexus Provided the vehicles, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2020
      Make: Toyota
      Model: Camry
      Trim: TRD
      Engine: 3.5L DOHC 24-Valve VVT-iW V6
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 301 @ 6,600
      Torque @ RPM: 267 @ 4,700
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 22/31/25
      Curb Weight: 3,572 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Georgetown, KY
      Base Price: $31,040
      As Tested Price: $32,920 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Two-Tone Midnight Black Metallic Roof and Rear Spoiler - $500.00
      Special Color - $425.00
       
      Year: 2020
      Make: Lexus
      Model: ES 350
      Trim: F-Sport
      Engine: 3.5 DOHC 24-Valve VVT-iW V6
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 302 @ 6,600
      Torque @ RPM: 267 @ 4,700
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 22/31/25
      Curb Weight: 3,649 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Georgetown, KY
      Base Price: $44,635
      As Tested Price: $53,950 (Includes $1,025.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Navigation/Mark Levinson Audio Package - $2,900.00
      Triple Beam LED Headlights - $1,515.00
      Blind Spot Monitor w/Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Intuitive Parking Assist w/Auto Braking - $1,065.00
      Adaptive Variable Suspension - $750.00
      Hands-Free Power Open/Close Trunk - $550.00
      10.2-inch Head-Up Display - $500.00
      Illuminated Door Sill - $400.00
      Power Rear Sunshade - $210.00
      F Sport Heated Leather Steering Wheel with Windshield Wiper Deicer and Fast Response Interior Heater - $180.00
      Door Edge Guard - $145.00
      Wireless Charger - $75.00

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      For your consideration: Two unlikely sport sedans.
      The Toyota Camry TRD and Lexus ES 350 F-Sport may not seem like credible sport sedans at first glance. They may seem like tarted-up sedans in terms of looks, but nothing else. However, after spending a week in each one, I can say both are the real deal.
      Camry TRD
      This Camry is in your face about its sporting potential. It comes with a front splitter, side skirts, a distinct rear spoiler, and 19-inch TRD wheels with a matte black finish. I found it to be a bit much and wished Toyota offered a package that got you the goodies for the suspension and exhaust system while keeping the looks of a standard Camry. A sleeper of sorts. TRD models come with small touches inside such as red seatbelts, red stitching on the seats and dash; leather-wrapped steering wheel, and TRD floor mats. Otherwise, it is your standard Camry interior. Power comes from a 3.5L V6 with 301 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque. Yes, that's the same output as the Camry XLE V6 I drove earlier. But what TRD has done is added a new exhaust system that provides a nice growl. I'll admit I was surprised when I blipped the throttle at a stoplight and heard what came out. This is an engine you have to work slightly to get into its sweet spot of power - around the mid-range on the rpm band. But once you do, the engine delivers a smooth punch of power. I do wish the six-speed automatic wouldn't try to go into the highest gear ASAP to maximize fuel economy. Where TRD worked their magic is with the suspension. The car is lower than a standard Camry, along with being stiffer thanks to thicker underbody braces, stabilizer bars, and shocks. On a winding road, the Camry TRD feels much more athletic than the standard Camry with minimal body and a set of summer tires providing excellent grip. The only downside is the steering which needs a bit more weight. Ride quality is a bit more firm than a standard Camry, but the suspension does a decent job of minimizing the bumps and impacts. To top it all off, Toyota has priced the Camry TRD at a surprising point. With the two-tone paint on my tester, it comes at $32,920 - making this the cheapest way to get a V6 in a Camry. The added bonus is that the TRD is also the most fun you can have in Camry.
      ES 350 F-Sport
      Lexus takes a more sedate approach with the ES F-Sport with a mesh grille insert, new wheels, and a small lip spoiler. I think if they went overboard with the sporty touches, it would ruin the elegance of the standard ES design. I will say the grey on my tester makes the F-Sport kind of look somewhat bland. Going with either the blue or red helps it stand out. Under the hood is the same 3.5L V6 found in other ES 350s, producing 301 hp and 267 lb-ft. The behavior is similar to what I found in the Camry, needing to work it before a smooth rush of power comes on. The transmission doesn't have the same programming as the Camry's with trying to maximize fuel economy. It is ready to downshift at a moment's notice. I've praised the standard ES for making a real leap forward in handling as there is less body motion on windy roads when compared to the previous model. The F-Sport takes that a step further with a revised suspension and optional adaptive dampers - which my car had. Slip the drive mode into Sport+ and ES transforms into something that you can pilot with confidence on a twisty stretch of road. The dampers firm up to make body roll non-existent, and the steering feels more weighty when turning. When you decide to stop having fun and turn the drive knob to either normal or comfort, the F-Sport transforms a standard ES with a smooth and quiet ride. The price? Base is $44,635 and this fully-loaded tester comes in at $53,950 with destination. A bit hard to swallow when you consider that the Avalon TRD offers similar performance for slightly less money. But not everyone wants a sedan that screams "look at me", and thats where the ES 350 F-Sport shines. It may be sporty, but it keeps quiet about its intentions. Disclaimer: Toyota and Lexus Provided the vehicles, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2020
      Make: Toyota
      Model: Camry
      Trim: TRD
      Engine: 3.5L DOHC 24-Valve VVT-iW V6
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 301 @ 6,600
      Torque @ RPM: 267 @ 4,700
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 22/31/25
      Curb Weight: 3,572 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Georgetown, KY
      Base Price: $31,040
      As Tested Price: $32,920 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Two-Tone Midnight Black Metallic Roof and Rear Spoiler - $500.00
      Special Color - $425.00
       
      Year: 2020
      Make: Lexus
      Model: ES 350
      Trim: F-Sport
      Engine: 3.5 DOHC 24-Valve VVT-iW V6
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 302 @ 6,600
      Torque @ RPM: 267 @ 4,700
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 22/31/25
      Curb Weight: 3,649 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Georgetown, KY
      Base Price: $44,635
      As Tested Price: $53,950 (Includes $1,025.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Navigation/Mark Levinson Audio Package - $2,900.00
      Triple Beam LED Headlights - $1,515.00
      Blind Spot Monitor w/Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Intuitive Parking Assist w/Auto Braking - $1,065.00
      Adaptive Variable Suspension - $750.00
      Hands-Free Power Open/Close Trunk - $550.00
      10.2-inch Head-Up Display - $500.00
      Illuminated Door Sill - $400.00
      Power Rear Sunshade - $210.00
      F Sport Heated Leather Steering Wheel with Windshield Wiper Deicer and Fast Response Interior Heater - $180.00
      Door Edge Guard - $145.00
      Wireless Charger - $75.00
    • By William Maley
      There are some cars I will not turn down the opportunity to spend time with again. A prime example is the Mazda MX-5 Miata, a car that brings a smile to my face. This past fall, I had a chance to spend some time in a soft-top version and to figure out whether I would have this or the RF.
      What has changed since our last visit with Miata? Only a few things such as the addition of Mazda's i-Activsense suite of active safety features (automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, and lane-departure warning) as standard; and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for the Club and Grand Touring models. I find myself drawn more to the standard Miata than RF because it looks a bit neater. The hardtop makes the Miata look somewhat bulky.  The 17-inch wheels finished in dark silver help set the car off. The addition of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto makes using the MazdaConnect infotainment system a bit more bearable to use. I found myself using CarPlay more due to its easier interface layout and brighter graphics. Power comes from a 2.0L Skyactiv-G inline-four with 181 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a six-speed manual, while an automatic is optional. As I noted in my review of the RF, the new 2.0 makes a dramatic difference to the Miata's performance. Leaving a stop, the engine freely revs and delivers a smooth rush of power. I think this version is slightly faster than the RF, mostly due to it not having the foldable hardtop. The six-speed manual is still one of the sweetest transmissions I have used. It feels smooth and precise when running through the gears. Handling is still one of the Miata's strong points as it eagerly changes direction and shows little body roll. Steering is sharp and provides the right amount of weight when driven hard. Ride quality is slightly better than the RF I drove last year due to the Grand Touring not having as stiff as a suspension setup. Yes, you will still feel several bumps and imperfections. But not at the rate as you'll experience in the Club. The Miata is one of those few cars I find myself still being impressed with every time I get the chance to drive one. It offers a level of driving fun that very few models can match, along with a price tag that won’t break the bank. If you were to ask which Miata I would choose, it would be the soft top. Disclaimer: Mazda Provided the MX-5 Miata, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2020
      Make: Mazda
      Model: MX-5 Miata
      Trim: Grand Touring
      Engine: 2.0L Skyactiv-G DOHC Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Six-Speed Manual, Rear-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 181 @ 7,000
      Torque @ RPM: 151 @ 4,000
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 26/34/29
      Curb Weight: 2,341 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Hiroshima, Japan
      Base Price: $31,670
      As Tested Price: $32,790 (Includes $920.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Grey Cloth Roof - $200.00

      View full article
  • Posts

    • UPDATE : My brother has bowed out of the engine rebuild pecking order; he's way too busy with work & building a garage/apartment addition at his place, which means I'm up next. Going to try to hold the builder to the promised '3 month turnaround'. But now I have to shift into overdrive and get this out & prepped. 
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