2016 Toyota 86 Review

2016 Toyota 86 GTS

Priced From $29,990Information

Overall Rating


4 out of 5 stars

Rating breakdown
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Safety, value & features

4 out of 5 stars

Comfort & space

4 out of 5 stars

Engine & gearbox

4 out of 5 stars

Ride & handling

5 out of 5 stars


3 out of 5 stars

Pros & Cons

  1. ProSuperb steering; terrific value.

  2. ConMost of the time, the engine doesn’t feel sporty.

  3. The Pick: 2016 Toyota 86 GTS 2D Coupe

What stands out?

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The Toyota 86 is an affordable rear-wheel drive sports coupe, with stylish looks and superb steering and handling. Toyota developed the 86 with Subaru, which sells the same car as the BRZ.

What might bug me?

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If you option the no-cost spare wheel, how much space it takes up in the boot. (But that is because it is a full-sized spare, which could be handy if you get a flat when out of town.)

Paying more for fuel: The 86 requires expensive premium 98 petrol.

What body styles are there?

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Two-door coupe. (It’s a two-plus-two, which means there are two very cramped rear seats.)

The Toyota 86 drives its rear wheels, and it is classed as a sports car, lower priced.

What features does every Toyota 86 have?

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Air-conditioning, cruise control, and a reversing camera.

An AM/FM radio and CD audio system with a 6.1-inch colour touchscreen display. Bluetooth hands-free operation for phone calls and audio streaming.

An information display that presents data such as average fuel consumption.

Wheels made from an alloy of aluminium, and a tyre repair kit. A full-size alloy spare is available as a no-cost option.

A limited-slip differential, which inhibits wheelspin, improving handling and acceleration on low-grip road surfaces.

Seven airbags: two directly in front of the driver and front passenger; one alongside each front occupant to protect the upper body; a curtain airbag on each side protecting the heads of front and rear occupants; and a knee protection airbag for the driver.

Electronic stability control, which can help the driver to control a skidding car. All new cars must have this feature.

Every Toyota 86 carries a three-year, 100,000 kilometre warranty.

Which engine uses least fuel, and why wouldn't I choose it?

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There is only one engine in the Toyota 86, a 2.0-litre horizontally opposed petrol four-cylinder.

When paired with the six-speed automatic transmission, it uses 7.1 litres/100km on the official test (city and country combined).

It uses a bit more fuel with the six-speed manual gearbox, but in this form it is more fun to drive. And fun is what the 86 is all about.

What key features do I get if I spend more?

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Stepping past the 86 GT and paying more for an 86 GTS gives you satellite navigation, keyless entry and start (you can unlock and start the car with your key kept safely in a pocket or bag), and dual-zone climate control (which lets you set different temperatures for each side of the cabin).

You also get bright HID headlights, LED daytime running lights (which make the car more visible), leather and Alcantara seat trim, and front-seat heaters.

Wheels on the GTS are an inch bigger, at 17 inches, and are fitted with slightly wider, lower profile tyres.

Does any upgrade have a down side?

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Taking the no-cost option of a full-size spare wheel and tyre rather than the standard tyre-repair kit eats into boot volume. The hollow in the floor of the boot is not deep enough to house the whole spare, leaving it sticking up into the boot space with a moulded rubber cargo mat on top. As a result, the boot floor is not flat.

Premium paint colours come at an extra cost of about $450. Nine colours are available and only one of them – Ignition Red – is standard at no extra cost.

How comfortable is the Toyota 86?

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In keeping with its positioning as a sporty car, the Toyota 86 has quite firm suspension. However, overall comfort is good.

Getting into the 86 is not quite as easy as it would be for a similar sized non-sporty car, because the seating position is a bit lower.

The front seats offer excellent side-support for cornering, and the major and minor controls are well sited. The steering column adjusts for tilt and reach, which lets you get the driving position just right.

The interior is well built, if not especially luxurious. Some of the plastics are hard, but the quality of the seat trim is good and the steering wheel and gear lever are nicely designed and finished. The instruments and centre touchscreen are attractively presented.

The Toyota 86 is reasonably quiet inside, with low levels of noise and vibration from the suspension and engine. The lower profile tyres worn by the GTS version make it less comfortable than the GT, but there isn’t much in it.

Because of the low seating position, forward vision is not as commanding as it is in a less sporty small car. As well, vision over the driver’s shoulders and to the rear is restricted due to the small side-rear and rear windows. The reversing camera helps address the parking difficulty this presents.

What about safety in a Toyota 86?

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The Toyota 86 is rated as Excellent for safety. The reversing camera, driver’s knee airbag and the voice control for the multimedia system are strengths in a solid standard package.

(To see a list of the safety features on any model, select the car and look under the features tab. Safety-related features are listed in red.)

You don’t see as far ahead from an 86 as you would in a taller passenger car, and vision to the rear is restricted, both of which present a small impediment to both occupant and pedestrian safety.

Automatic emergency braking is not offered in an 86.

The Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) awarded the Toyota 86 its maximum five stars for safety.

I like driving - will I enjoy this car?

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Whether you’re a serious car enthusiast, or are simply attracted to the stylish look and appealing price of the Toyota 86, you will enjoy driving it very much.

The sense of precision and agility the steering imparts, and the level of feedback it gives the driver, is the greatest strength in the 86. Anyone can enjoy this, whether they’re driving to the shops or on a twisting country road.

The 86 feels about as good to steer as sports coupes that are far more expensive, such as the Porsche Cayman.

The rear-wheel drive 86 handles corners brilliantly. It turns in enthusiastically and responds to small changes in accelerator and brake pedal inputs, which makes for an involving driving experience. This kind of responsiveness is rare in a modern car.

Skilled drivers will love how controllably you can slide the rear tyres of the 86, which is great fun (on a racing circuit, of course).

The bigger wheels and tyres on the GTS make it a slightly sharper handler and give it more grip than the GT has.

The ventilated rear discs on the GTS (in place of the GT’s solid discs) bring very slightly improved braking power and consistency.

The high level of handling ability in the 86 may make it feel a bit underpowered for particularly keen drivers, even though the 2.0-litre flat four-cylinder engine is quite powerful for the weight of the car. The flat-four is at its most responsive at high engine speeds, where it also sounds much sportier. The noise it makes at low speeds isn’t inspiring.

Many enthusiasts will prefer the manual transmission in this car. But for buyers inclined to choose an automatic, the auto in the 86 is a good one. And you can control it from paddles on the steering wheel.

How is life in the rear seats?

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Head and leg room are very limited for rear passengers in an 86. The back seat is intended only for short trips, or small children.

Nonetheless, many other sports cars – for example, the Mazda MX-5 and Nissan 370Z – do not have a back seat at all.

How is it for carrying stuff?

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The Toyota 86 has a small boot with quite a small opening. Toyota quotes luggage capacity as 223 litres. That is about as much as a light hatchback, but without its ease of loading. And because the 86 isn’t a hatchback, you cannot expand its cargo area into a van-like space by folding the rear seat flat.

The 86’s rear seatback folds in one piece, rather than the split/fold arrangement of most cars. With the seatback folded, you can fit four spare wheels with tyres in the back. That could be handy for the kind of 86 buyer who might take their car to the racing circuit on the weekend.

Where does Toyota make the 86?

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The Toyota 86 is manufactured in Japan.

What might I miss that similar cars have?

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There is nothing quite like the Toyota 86, except for its twin the Subaru BRZ. However, you might also consider the Renault Megane RS275, Hyundai Veloster SR Turbo, and Mazda MX-5.

The MX-5 shares the 86’s rear-wheel-drive layout, and offers a similar level of driver involvement for about the same price. It is also a soft-top convertible, which adds an extra dimension to the experience.

The Hyundai costs about as much as an 86, and the Renault a bit more. They are similar to the 86 in that they are coupes. But they are front-wheel-drive, and so handle differently. In its own way, the Megane RS275 handles about as well as an 86. The Veloster Turbo is aimed more at someone who wants a car that feels sporty but who won’t drive it especially hard.

Both front-drivers have turbocharged engines, which make them quicker than the 86 while performing with less apparent effort.

The Hyundai and Renault have five-year warranties. The Subaru BRZ has a three-year, unlimited kilometre warranty.

Are there plans to update the Toyota 86 soon?

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The 86 was designed as a modern-day version of the classic Toyota AE86 from the 1980s, which was a hit with car enthusiasts. It went on sale in 2012 and was updated in 2014. A mid-life restyle expected in the fourth quarter of 2016 will bring retuned suspension and a bit more power.

I like this car, but I can’t choose which version. Can you help?

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Both versions of the 86 are attractively priced, but we like the GTS. Many of its extras are very nice things to have.