- The 86's exterior has undergone some significant changes. The most apparent is the front where the front bumper has been swapped to give the coupe a slightly more aggressive look. There are also new headlights with the "86" logo seen on the outside edge.
- These changes, along with a rear wing really help the 86 still look quite fresh. A feat when you take into consideration that this car, along with its sister, the Subaru BRZ has been around for eight years.
- The interior boasts a new steering wheel, updated instrument cluster with a color trip computer; and a seven-inch touchscreen radio featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.
- Trying to find a comfortable position the 86 took longer than I expected due to the limited amount of adjustments on offer. The sport seats provide excellent bolstering to hold you in during enthusiastic driving but falter in terms of comfort when it comes to long drives.
- As for the back seat, I would only recommend it for either very small kids or extra storage space.
- We come to the key weak point of the 86, the engine. It is the 2.0L Flat-Four from Subaru which produces 205 horsepower and 156 pound-feet of torque when equipped with the six-speed manual - figures drop by five when equipped with the automatic.
- Not much has changed in the performance department. At low speeds, the 86 goes along merrily. But then the power band falls off a cliff and you're left wondering when it will come back.
- It doesn't help that the engine note of the 2.0L sounds like a bucket of bolts dumped into a dryer. This doesn't encourage wanting to climb higher in the rev band and giving the illusion of going faster - something Mazda does quite well with the MX-5 Miata. On my test car, an optional TRD exhaust was fitted and it somehow makes the noise worse. It sounded like a group of cats fighting one another to get that prime spot in the box from an Amazon delivery.
- The manual transmission does not like being shifted quickly as it becomes slightly stiff and bulky. Go slowly and the gear lever responds with a smooth and positive feel.
- An option that was ticked on this vehicle was the TRD handling package which adds a set of SACHS dampers. The SACHS do make an improvement in terms of body control as the 86 doesn't really exhibit any sort of roll. What you get a vehicle that is fun to toss in the corners.
- Helping out is the steering that responds quickly and provides a decent feel.
- But there is a downside to the TRD Handling package and that is the ride quality. I found the FR-S to be quite stiff and transmit most bumps and road imperfections. This package only increases the frequency and impact them. I would highly recommend driving a standard 86 against one with the Handling Pack to see which one you would prefer.
- The 86 GT starts at $30,115 and my tester with the two TRD options and some other items stickers at $34,783. If you drop the TRD options, then it becomes slightly better at just under $32,000.
- Who is the 86 for? The obvious answer to this is someone who wants something fun to drive but doesn't have that much to spend. Of course, there are other options that offer more performance, the 86 shines on a winding road.
- But as someone pointed out in our interactive review, the 86 is a good option for someone who wants a blank canvas. This and the BRZ have a large aftermarket which means an owner can build their coupe to their desires. Want to upgrade the suspension and brakes? There are parts available. Feel like dropping in a larger engine? That is possible. It's a blank canvas ready for someone to make it their own.
Disclaimer: Toyota Provided the 86, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
Engine: 2.0L DOHC D-4S 16-Valve Flat-Four
Driveline: Six-Speed Manual, Rear-Wheel Drive
Horsepower @ RPM: 205 @ 7,000
Torque @ RPM: 156 @ 6,400
Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 21/28/24
Curb Weight: 2,817 lbs
Location of Manufacture: Ota, Gumma, Japan
Base Price: $30,115
As Tested Price: $34,783 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
TRD Handling Package - $1,270.00
TRD Exhaust System - $1,100.00
TRD Sway Bar - $550.00
Special Color - $425.00
Center Armrest - $199.00
All-Weather Floor Mats - $169.00