Toyota, with the help of Subaru, built one of the best pure sports cars in recent memory and then gave it the completely uninspired name of “Scion FR-S.”
Now that the Scion brand will be folded into Toyota in 2017, the company finally bowed to popular demand and renamed it the Toyota 86, and it will make its debut at the 2016 New York Auto Show.
While that name still has room for improvement — it’s known as the GT86 in the U.K. — it does relate back to the Corolla AE86, the darling of drift racers across the globe. That classic was the inspiration for the 86, so its new name is more than fitting. It’s also known as the 86 in its home country, Japan.
Outside, apart from the change in badging, the 2017 86 gets a mild redesign in front and back. A larger front intake, a new bumper and LCD headlights and turn signals join new LED tail lamps and a new bumper in the back. The interior gets some material upgrades and an 86 logo on the steering wheel.
Toyota wasn’t done appeasing the enthusiasts. The 86 gets revised suspension settings and a bump in power, up to 205 horsepower and 158 lb-ft of torque. In another nod to enthusiasts, the power bump is only on the manual-transmission-equipped 86.
The 86 isn’t the only Scion to get a name change for 2017, despite original plans to keep the names the same. The Scion iM becomes the Toyota Corolla iM, which makes sense as it shares a lot of its innards with the milquetoast sedan. The Scion iA becomes the Toyota Yaris iA, which makes no sense as the iA is a Mazda 2 and has nothing to do with the boring Yaris. The iA is sold as the Yaris sedan in Canada, so at least Toyota doesn’t have to make new badges for the iA.
The 86 will be joined at the New York Auto Show by the all-new CH-R crossover, another Scion refugee. When the CH-R concept car first bowed at the 2105 Los Angeles auto show, it was badged as a Scion, but now will proudly wear the bean-wearing-a-sombrero Toyota logo.
The CH-R is Toyota’s entry into the burgeoning subcompact crossover market, competing with vehicles like the Honda HR-V, the Jeep Renegade and the Mazda CX-3. It shares the company’s new global architecture (named TNGA, for – wait for it – Toyota New Global Architecture) with the new Prius.
Set to go on sale in 2017 as a 2018 model, the CH-R is targeted as a fun-to-drive urban runabout with a taller ride height, yet with responsive handling. Details and specifics will be released closer to the car’s release date.
Check out this video of the Toyota 86.