The Toyota 86 is an impressive, affordable rear-wheel-drive sports car that delivers on every promise it makes. If you’re looking for a fun sports coupe that you can daily drive you need to take a closer look at the 2019 Toyota 86.
While the MX-5 Miata gets a lot of attention in the small sports car space, you really need the RF to daily drive it in the winter. The Toyota 86 is ready to go to work and to go to work on the track.
The excellent six-speed manual, great handling, and good brakes make this car, and at $29,505 delivered for the GT, it’s a bargain.
New for 2019 is a Toyota 86 TRD Special Edition in black with a black and red interior, upgraded exhaust, Brembo brakes and a sport suspension with better dampers.
The Toyota 86 starts at $27,375 for the base model with a manual. You can get it with an automatic. I tested the Toyota 86 GT, which is $29,505. If you opt for the TRD Special Edition you’ll shell out $33,340 for the extra upgrades. Configure one at Toyota.
Toyota 86 Performance & Handling
The Toyota 86 is a purpose-built car. The small size, rear-wheel-drive setup and excellent transmission align to deliver a fun experience when you’re behind the wheel. The 2.0L engine is quite loud and coarse sounding, so be prepared to hear this engine in the cabin.
It’s relatively quick, but the engine doesn’t match the performance of the transmission and handling. Hopefully, we see more power in a future iteration. The six-speed manual offers crisp shifts and is definitely satisfying.
Toyota nails the steering on the 86. Turn the wheel and the car immediately goes where you point it. On spirited windy country roads, or on a track, the 86 GT is ready and willing to match your driving skill. There’s almost no body roll and the motion feels great going into and out of corners.
You can easily kick the rear of the car out, but the system does a good job of preventing accidental oversteer that gets away from you. It’s an excellent mix of spirited driving in an easy to control car. You can turn off stability control if you want to go for a major drift, but without a closed course we passed on pushing that part of the 86 to the limits.
The Toyota 86 is rated for 28 mpg on the highway, but in our testing, it performed better, averaging in the low 30s.
Toyota 86 Interior & Design
The 209 Toyota 86’s lines tell you immediately that this is a fun car. The design is eye-catching and I love the little 86 flourishes throughout. From badges to icons in the headlights and on the dash this fun branding is everywhere.
Inside, there is plenty of room for the driver and a passenger. While the Miata can feel a little cramped, the 86 offers more than enough room.
I’m a big fan of the driving position in the 86 GT. You’re squared up with the steering wheel and the pedals are easy to reach. The seat is comfortable and all the pedals are easily reachable. The shifter is easy to reach, and if you need to, you can still stick a drink in the cupholder.
The interior looks good, but it’s definitely on the minimalist side of things. Hard plastics, faux leather, and suede accents combine to avoid a utilitarian or cheap interior look and feel, but even with the accents and soft-touch leather where you are going to be touching parts of the car it isn’t a luxurious interior.
The backseat is very cramped, and honestly, it’s going to get more use as cargo room with or without the back seats folded down. With the seats folded down, there is more room than in the Miata.
The overall build quality is good, but there is a lot of road noise and engine noise that comes into this cabin.
Toyota 86 Tech & Safety
The Toyota 86 isn’t going to meet the needs of users that want a high tech infotainment system. The 7-inch touch screen looks dated and doesn’t support Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
The system offers Bluetooth connectivity for music and calls as well as a line in for music. You can take calls, but the road and engine noise are enough that I avoided calls in the Toyota 86.
The eight-speaker sound system doesn’t have the power to overcome the engine noise. Plan on upgrading the speakers if audio is important to you and possibly looking into aftermarket head units.
Toyota doesn’t offer up driver convenience and assistance features that you’ll find on the Miata, such as blind-spot monitoring or lane-departure warnings. While visibility is good, it would be nice to see a blind-spot monitoring system. You do get standard cruise control and a nice backup camera.
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