2018 Toyota 86 GT Review: A Sports Car Bargain That’s Tough to Fault

2018 Toyota 86

OVERVIEW

It was four years ago that Japanese auto manufacturers Toyota and Subaru teamed up to develop a formidable, yet affordable 2+2 sports coupe. The result was an extremely fun to drive and most capable sports coupe, but under the three separate guises. There was the Scion FR-S and the Subaru BRZ, which were nearly identical in terms of basic design and mechanical composition. The two cars differed primarily in the front and rear fascia treatment, headlamp styling and the badging. Now, the Scion FR-S has gone away with the brand, and we’re left with this: the Toyota 86.

2018 Toyota 86
[Photo: Arv Voss]

AERO STYLING

The exterior visual appeal of the Toyota 86 reflects its inner agility. Its aerodynamic profile draws its inspiration from the iconic (and now extremely rare and highly collectible) Toyota 2000GT, with a low, sleek roofline that directs airflow cleanly and efficiently over the gracefully curved cabin. Its stance is low and its face delivers a menacing competitive look with its sharp expressive lines and forms, such as the wide lower intake and angular headlight assembly that houses projector-beam headlamps.

The front fenders protrude aggressively upward, and display the iconic “86” piston badge, highlighting the car’s AE86 DNA as well as its boxer engine.

Moving to the rear, the fascia is low and wide, with a diffuser panel that encases the sporty dual exhaust system. LEDs showcase the edgy tail lamps along with center-mounted backup lights.

2018 Toyota 86

PERFORMANCE

As with the previous models, including the defunct Scion FR-S, power comes from a 2.0-liter Boxer engine. The horizontally-opposed four-cylinder engine cranks out 200 horsepower and 151 lb-ft of torque with the automatic transmission. However, six-speed manual models manage 205 hp and 156 lb-ft of torque. The Toyota 86 does require premium fuel to achieve those numbers. Acceleration is most impressive, as are the precise handling characteristics.

The 2018 Toyota 86 uses its compact size and engine placement to its advantage when it comes to handling. The engine is mounted far back under the hood, allowing for 53:47 along with a low center of gravity.

The 86’s ride quality is exceptionally firm, but not terribly uncomfortable. The clutch action, however, is a little sketchy at first, and the gearshift is somewhat notchy.

The Toyota 86 tips the scale at 2,758 pounds with the manual and 2,806 with the automatic. Weight is kept to a minimum by the implementation of an aluminum hood, a solid roof and by a trunk rather than a hatch design.

2018 Toyota 86

COMFORT AND CONVENIENCE

The interior features 2+2 seating with deeply bolstered, supportive and comfortable seats up front, with rear seats that fold flat for some added versatility. A large, center-mounted tachometer is the focal point of the three gauge main cluster that also features a programmable shift indicator, allowing the driver to set rev limits in 100 rpm increments beginning at 2,000 rpm.

A soft skin dash cover delivers a flat horizon design with a raised centerline rib, which in combination with the pronounced front fender bulges aid in helping the driver make out the front corners of the car. The 2018 Toyota 86 also packs in a 7.0-inch infotainment system with integrated navigation.

The Toyota 86 is equipped with a host of standard safety features including six airbags, Traction Control, Electronic Brake-force Distribution, Vehicle Stability control, Brake Assist, ABS and Smart Stop automatic braking technology.

2018 Toyota 86
2018 Toyota 86. [Photo: Toyota]

TFLCAR’S TAKE

The 2018 Toyota 86 GT sport coupe still delivers fun in large doses, even under normal driving conditions. What’s more, it’s available at an affordable starting price. It’s a strong contender for enthusiasts. Toyota’s warranty program structure and reputation for reliability make it even more attractive.

Considering its sub-$27,000 starting price, the 2018 Toyota 86 serves up a winning combination of agility and visual appeal. That comes thanks to its suspension tuning and freshened appearance. The styling is attractive and appealing, showcasing harmonious and well-balanced lines and contours, while evoking a bold, athletic image even when parked.

SPECIFICATIONS: 2018 Toyota 86 GT

On Sale: Now
Base MSRP: $28,385
Price as Tested:
$29,280
Engine: 2.0-liter naturally-aspirated flat-four (“Boxer” engine)
Drivetrain (Layout): Front engine, rear-wheel drive w/ Torsen limited-slip differential
Horsepower: 205 hp @ 7,000 rpm (manual) or 200 hp (automatic)
Torque: 156 lb-ft @ 6,400 rpm (manual) or 151 lb-ft (automatic)
Transmission: RTL70 six-speed manual or A960E six-speed automatic
Suspension: Front: Sport-tuned Independent MacPherson strut with strut tower bars, reinforced mounting brackets and 18 mm stabilizer bar

Rear:  Sport-tuned double-wishbone Limited Slip Differential and 14 mm stabilizer bar

Brakes: Power-assisted four-wheel vented discs
Tires: Michelin Primacy HP 215/45 R17 87W summer tires
Fuel capacity: 13.2 gallons
Fuel economy (EPA): 21 City / 28 Highway / 24 Combined mpg (manual)

24 City /32 Highway / 27 Combined mpg (automatic)

Dimensions:

Wheelbase: 101.2 inches
Length: 166.7 inches
Width: 69.9 inches
Height: 50.6 inches
Turning Circle: 36.1 feet
Curb Weight: 2,776 pounds (manual)

2,806 pounds (automatic)

Arv Voss
Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring journalist and member and past officer of several noted automotive journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles as well.