There’s an old saying that if it’s not broken, then there’s no point fixing it.
Therefore there will no doubt be groans of dismay from many enthusiasts when they learn Toyota’s dealer-fit TRD accessories for the 86 concentrate on the chassis (the bit that arguably doesn’t need fixing) rather than the engine (the bit that does).
Specifically, the 86 TRD accessories available include a set of lowering springs ($409), stiffer front and rear anti-roll bars (a very precise $731.73) and larger wheels measuring 18 x 7.0-inch front and 18 x 7.5-inch rear ($1848 sans tyres).
All prices are recommended retail price and exclusive of fitting, while the parts can be ordered and fitted to any 86 (pre- or post-facelift) by all Toyota dealers around the country. The good news is the modifications do not radically alter the 86 experience, meaning its fundamental excellence remains intact.
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In fact, the differences are slight enough that without MOTOR’s new long-term 86 GT along to provide a back-to-back comparison they could be difficult to identify. Nonetheless, they are there.
Initial findings are that the steering is a little lighter on the move but parking manoeuvres and the like require slightly more effort (possibly due to the larger rims) and that the combination of lower-profile tyres and stiffer springs results in a firmer ride than the standard car.
It’s not a huge difference, but road irregularities are felt more frequently and noticeably. Ironically, the modification that has the biggest effect on the 86 is one not directly included – the tyres.
Due to the larger, staggered wheels our test car was fitted with Continental ContiSportContact2s 215/40 front and 225/40 rear; not a super-focused tyre, but still much more sporting than the Yokohama dB Decibel eco rubber fitted as standard which we’ve criticised the 86 for in the past.
Crucially, the car doesn’t feel to have an enormous amount more grip but it is more settled and predictable. The car slides less, but can be driven harder.
Perhaps the extra 10mm of rear tyre width is a step too far as the TRD-enhanced 86 isn’t quite as playful in slower corners, however, it’s possibly just a case of altering driving styles as there’s more traction than you’d expect having just jumped out of the standard car.
The larger wheels also shorten the gearing slightly, but the effect is only noticeable on a spreadsheet. So are the upgrades worth the extra dosh? Impossible to answer. As is usually the case with these sorts of enhancements, it’ll depend on what each individual wants from their 86 TRD.
The mods enhance the car’s looks and on-limit stability, but at the cost of some adjustability and ride comfort. We’d start with the wheels and tyres and go from there, or save our pennies and try and nab one of the 86 Limited Editions with Brembo brakes and Sachs dampers.
4 stars out of 5
Dislike: Firm ride; not as playful
Like: Decent tyres; looks tougher
Engine: 1998cc flat-4cyl, DOHC, 16v
Power: 152kW @ 7000rpm
Torque: 212Nm @ 6400rpm
0-100km/h: 7.4sec (claim)
Price: $33,779 (excl. tyres/fitting)