2017 Toyota 86 review with video

The basics:
Starting price: $29,580 + taxes
Also available as a special edition: $32,555 + taxes
Our average fuel economy over seven days: 7.9 L/100 kms (30 US MPG)
Competition: Mazda MX-5, Subaru BRZ

This week, we’re featuring a new car that actually isn’t that new. When Scion bit the dust last year, Toyota took some of its orphan vehicles and rolled them under the Toyota name badge. So, here in North America, this was formerly the Scion FR-S. And its biggest competitor is actually a spitting image because the Subaru BRZ and the 86 were developed jointly and launched back in 2012. In fact, this car is made in a Subaru production facility.
But with the folding of Scion, Toyota says it was really important that the company keep a sportscar in its line-up. And they’ve renamed it the 86 – after the Corolla AE86 which was the last rear wheel drive Corolla the company made – and was famously fun to drive.
Check out our full video review above and then scroll through our list of pros and cons below.

Pros:
– In a world filled with dozens of trims and engine choices, it’s kind of refreshing that what you see is what you get. This is a pretty basic car, which won’t be for everyone, but it seems like Toyota spent the money where they needed to with very supportive sport seats, a top notch six speed manual transmission and spot on cornering manners
– There are numerous changes for 2017 including more aggressive exterior styling, new bumpers, LED tail lights, revised suspension feel, a 5 horsepower bump (now 205 hp) for manual transmission models because of some changes to the rear differential and also some improved engine friction tuning should help with fuel economy, too
– And then fuel economy is very impressive. For a sport focused car, we averaged a shockingly good 7.9 L/100 kms
– Toyota developed the 6 speed manual gear box and it’s so good! There’s also an automatic transmission available for an extra $1200 that’s been pulled from the Lexus IS and modified. The automatic has even better fuel economy ratings but you also lose that five horsepower boost
– While the rear wheel drive cornering abilities of this car are absolutely terrific, the ride is not knock your teeth out harsh like we saw in the Focus RS a few months back
– It’s also not so low that you can’t enter a driveway or go over a speed bump without scraping the underside of the bodywork
– You get a second row, unlike the MX5. But like a Porsche 911, it’s tiiiiight. You can fit a front or rear facing car seat, though. And that was a HUGE surprise. There’s something to be said for that because the 86’s target demographic is men aged 25 to 34 – an age where family can start to enter the fold. If you did have a larger car in your family, you could make this car work as a secondary vehicle but really, only with one kid. However, much like the Porsche, if you’re a taller driver or passenger, you will gobble up ALL the second row leg room
– Speaking of surprises, we actually fit our standardized trunk test into the boot of this car! At 196 litres, I didn’t expect it to be anywhere near big enough but we managed to fit a stroller, diaper bag, backpack, two bags of groceries and a basketball. Who saw that one coming?!

Cons:
– Not a blistering off the line performer. I’ve driven SUVs that could take it out at a stop light. Its strength is when you’re up to speed in the twists
– Very simple interior with chintzy feeling climate control and corny faux carbon fiber – but I’ve found it charmingly basic
– The interior is exceedingly noisy – hitting 73 decibels at 100 kms/hr
– One of the absolute worst blindspots I’ve ever seen for shoulder checking
– Rear wheel drive will make it a challenging car for winter driving conditions. Likely just a summer car in snowy locations

Family Wheels report card:

Family Wheels driver comfort score: 3.5/5
Family Wheels interior layout score: 4/5
Family Wheels infotainment system score: 3.5/5
Family Wheels interior noise score: 2/5 (73 dB at 100 kms/h)
Family Wheels performance score: 4/5 (with the base 2-litre engine)
Family Wheels rear passenger score: 2/5
Family Wheels trunk score: 3/5
Family Wheels fuel economy score: 4.5/5
Family Wheels build quality score: 4/5
Family Wheels value score: 4/5

Family Wheels overall score: 34.5/50= 69%

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