2022 Toyota 86

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2021
The Car Connection
2021
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Martin Padgett Martin Padgett Editorial Director
August 17, 2021

Buying tip

We’d buy the automatic if we intended to drive the 86 only on the street, because only it comes with automatic emergency braking. Track-only cars? The manual’s the hot ticket.

The 2022 Toyota GR86 tops up its power tank, but trackworthy handling still earns its top marks.

What kind of vehicle is the 2022 Toyota GR86? What does it compare to?

The 2022 Toyota GR86 2+2 sports coupe returns for a second generation in partnership with Subaru and its flat-4 rear-wheel-drive twin, the BRZ. It’s an effortless car to drive on the track, but it’s outmatched on the street in every other way save for performance. The same holds true for its closest rivals, the Subaru BRZ and the Mazda MX-5 Miata.

Is the 2022 Toyota GR86 a good car?

Review continues below

A larger 2.4-liter flat-4 improves the 86’s notoriously weak power, but doesn’t boost its TCC Rating. It’s still a 5.8 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

What's new for the 2022 Toyota GR86?

Following the redesigned 2022 Subaru BRZ revealed late last year, the Toyota GR86 returns with more power, functional air intakes, a lighter weight despite a longer wheelbase and length, and a stiffer suspension. Toyota adds a Gazoo Racing (GR) badge to honor its sports car lineage and mark it as track ready. 

Changes to the longer, leaner body require a careful look to distinguish it from the first generation. The long hood and short rear end remain, as does its low ground clearance. Aluminum roof panels and front fenders, as well as redesigned seats, reduce weight to offset the larger engine and added equipment.

The face sets it off from the BRZ with a wide, low mesh grille and functional side air intakes said to improve steering stability and cool the 11.6-inch front brakes. The sills add a little chunk to the fenders to look more muscular, and at the rear the integrated spoiler roosts over dual exhaust pipes. 

The new 2.4-liter flat-4 replaces the outgoing model's 2.0-liter flat-4, increasing output to 228 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque from 205 hp and 156 lb-ft in the old car. 

The torque peak drops considerably from 6,700 to 3,700 rpm. The 86’s 0-60 mph times drop almost a second to 6.1 seconds with the manual and 6.6 seconds with the automatic.

The 86 retains rear-wheel drive, as well as its 6-speed manual or automatic transmissions. New adaptive controls for the automatic choose the right gear for the situation based on driving style. The 86 still has faultless, eager handling that teaches a master class on useful and controllable oversteer.

At 167.9 inches, the 86 is 1.2 inches longer than the outgoing model but the wheelbase grows by only 0.2 inch. While the car is an inch taller, we wouldn’t ask anyone beyond teenage years to sit in the rear seats. 

Everyday driving remains a priority as well, with standard safety features on the 86 equipped with the 6-speed automatic transmission. Manual-shift models don’t get it, which relegates them to track duty, in our eyes.

Toyota offers the 86 in two trims, base and Premium. The base model is outfitted with a 7.0-inch digital instrument cluster, an 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android, a six-speaker audio system, satellite radio, LED headlights, a Torsen limited-slip rear differential, and 17-inch alloy wheels. The Premium adds two more speakers, leather and Alcantara upholstery, a duckbill rear spoiler, and 18-inch wheels that mount Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires.

In addition to a 3-year/36,000-mile warranty, Toyota includes 2 years/25,000 miles of scheduled maintenance and roadside assistance. All 2022 Toyota GR86 buyers will get a one-year membership to the National Auto Sport Association and instruction at a high-performance driving event.

How much does the 2022 Toyota GR86 cost?

Pricing will be announced closer to the sale date in the fourth quarter of this year.

Where is the 2022 Toyota GR86 made?

In Subaru’s Gunma plant, in Japan.

6

2022 Toyota 86

Styling

The 86’s style is its mildest positive.

Is the 2022 Toyota GR86 a good-looking car?

It’s fine, though it’s far from adventurous. We give it a 6 here, with an extra point for the clean exterior lines.

You’ll have to look closely to spot the differences with the last-generation 86, though. The proportions remain the same for the low-slung two-door with a wide and low nose that wears a mesh grille and vertical air intakes shaped to manage the flow around the front wheels. The 86 comes clad in aluminum fenders and roof panels to trim the weight of its bigger engine and extra equipment. Still, the chunky rear haunches give it some heft and some visual appeal. 

Inside the 86 has a plainly laid-out dash with a big touchscreen at the center and a digital gauge cluster. Round knobs ringed in metallic trim run the climate controls, and toggles beneath them sort out drive modes and traction settings. Round air vents and round banks of secondary controls on the steering wheel round out a cabin that’s understated to minimize distraction, not to redirect it.

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2022 Toyota 86

Performance

Tossable handling lifts the 86 into a higher sports-car echelon.

Is the 2022 Toyota GR86 4WD?

No, it’s rear-wheel drive.

How fast is the 2022 Toyota GR86?

It’s not the quickest sports car we’ve driven, but it’s entertaining enough—and it’s nearly unflappable on a track. We give it a 9 here, with a point for its acceleration, two for its crisp handling, and one for its overall fun factor.

This year, Toyota has upgraded the engine in the 86 from a 205-hp flat-4 to a 2.4-liter flat-4 with 228 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. Peak torque arrives at 3,700 rpm, versus a sky-high 6,700 rpm in the previous edition. The raucous and unrefined engine sounds amplify as the 86 slings itself to 60 mph in 6.1 seconds with the manual shifter, or 6.6 seconds with the automatic.

Of the two, we’d usually prefer the snicky shift action of the 6-speed manual, but that version omits critical safety gear (more on that in a bit). The 6-speed automatic does a fair job, and offers a manual shift gate and paddle shift controls for more precise track control.

The powertrain isn't the star here: handling is. With vented disc brakes at all four corners, a strut and multi-link rear suspension, and a choice of 17-inch wheels on base cars or 18-inchers on Premium models, the 86 has authentic sports-car poise. At just 2,811 lb, the base 86 slips through esses and screams down straightaways with predictable composure. Flick it into a tight corner and it slides into catchable oversteer, without a hint of viciousness or unpredictability. It’s a perfect learning and teaching car: My First Track Car could be the branding. The limits get a little higher and the slides more lurid with Premium editions, but in either case the 86’s communicative steering keeps the vibe upbeat, not threatening. It’s one of the most intuitive sports cars we’ve driven, bar none.

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4

2022 Toyota 86

Comfort & Quality

Slip into the 86 like a driving shoe, and leave the extras at home.

The 2022 86 coupe checks in at just 167.9 inches long, with a 101.4-inch wheelbase. It’s 1.2 inches longer than before and an inch taller, but it’s still effectively a two-seater with a small trunk. It’s a 4 here.

In front, manually adjusted bucket seats come covered in grippy cloth or a blend of leather and alcantara, and are surrounded by ample head and leg room. They’re ideal for autocross-style drives, though the tilt steering column doesn’t telescope; some tall drivers will have to adapt their usual position, especially if they’re wearing a helmet. 

Toyota rates the 86 to seat four, but the two in back should be small and compliant. It’s better used in extension mode for the tiny 6.3-cubic-foot trunk; fold down the rear seatback and, Toyota says, the 86 can tote a replacement set of wheels and tires for track days.

The 86 comes with a matte-surface touchscreen and plenty of hard plastic trim. It doesn’t feel thrifty. The engine sounds coarse at full throttle, but at cruising speeds it settles down to a less feral growl.

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2022 Toyota 86

Safety

No crash-test scores are available.

How safe is the Toyota GR86?

It’s not clear, since the NHTSA and the IIHS haven’t crash-tested it yet. Prior versions haven’t been tested fully, either. Only the automatic-transmission 86 comes with automatic emergency braking, active lane control, and adaptive cruise control. We’ll update this when more data becomes available.

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2022 Toyota 86

Features

The 86 packs in plenty of virtue and value.

The 2022 86 has a big infotainment touchscreen and offers good value for a very specific set of buyers, but the warranty’s just average, and manual-shift cars don’t get critical safety equipment. You’re buying it for the handling—otherwise you really should be looking at a crossover. It’s a 7 here, with either gearbox.

Toyota sells the base 86 with a 7.0-inch digital gauge display, an 8.0-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, six-speaker audio, LED headlights, 17-inch wheels, and a Torsen limited-slip rear differential. Prices aren’t firm yet but Toyota says this model will cost less than $30,000. 

Which Toyota GR86 should I buy?

We recommend the Premium, which gets two more speakers, a rear spoiler, leather and Alcantara upholstery, and 18-inch wheels with Michelin Pilot Sport 4 treads. 

How much is a fully loaded 2022 Toyota GR86?

We expect the Premium with an available subwoofer and accessories to cost about $35,000.

All prices include a 3-year/36,000-mile warranty, 2 years/25,000 miles of scheduled service, and a day of track driving and a year of National Auto Sport Association membership.

Review continues below
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2022 Toyota 86

Fuel Economy

The 86 doesn’t 86 gas mileage entirely.

Is the 2022 Toyota GR86 good on gas?

It’s good enough for a 4 here, with an estimated EPA rating of 20 mpg city, 30 highway, 24 combined with the automatic. It’s 19/26/21 mpg with the manual. Neither set of numbers factors in track time—and for the record, the Miata manages 30 mpg combined.

Review continues below
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The Car Connection Consumer Review

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$27,700
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6.0
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 6
Performance 9
Comfort & Quality 4
Safety N/A
Features 7
Fuel Economy 4
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