Toyota 86 2021 – Review, Specs, Photos

The 2021 Toyota 86 is a driver-focused sports car in an era that’s nearly passed it by. Its humble power output, aging platform, and small stature keep it out of the pantheon of all-time great sport coupes—but those looking for an affordable and fun-to-drive sports car need look no further. We give it 5.8 out of 10 overall for excellent handling and value. For 2021, the 86 gets Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard, adds an optional handling package that improves the suspension, brakes, and more for track use, and introduces a new Hakone edition that pays tribute to one of Japan’s great driving roads. The 86 (pronounced “eight-six”) wears traditional sports coupe proportions with mixed results. We wouldn’t call it stunning, but it’s hard to find much fault with a low, wide, two-door. The interior is showing its age, but sports trademark Toyota quality and just the right number of buttons and knobs flanking the touchscreen infotainment system. Full review and all information about the car – 2021 Toyota 86.

New Toyota 86 2021

The Toyota 86 (previously known as the Scion FR-S before Toyota discontinued the Scion brand) is a fun-to-drive four-seat sports coupe. It has rear-wheel drive, and power comes from a 205-horsepower, 2.0-liter horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine. The four-cylinder teams with a standard six-speed manual transmission or an available six-speed automatic (engine output drops to 200 hp with the automatic). Competitors include other small sports cars like the related Subaru BRZ, Mazda MX-5 Miata and Hyundai Veloster. A new Hakone Edition joins the lineup for 2021. The Hakone Edition is based on the GT trim level and features a unique tan and black interior, Hakone green exterior paint, 17-inch bronze wheels and a black spoiler. Toyota 86 2021 – photos colors and price in this article!

Interior

In contrast to its convertible Mazda and Fiat competitors, the 86 is a comfortable fit for the driver and front-seat passenger. The driving position is nearly perfect, placing the driver square to the steering wheel with the pedals a perfect distance away from the well-bolstered, supportive seat. Material quality and fit and finish inside the 86 are good for a low-volume car at this price, but the mechanically identical Subaru BRZ spoils with richer duds and more features. We wouldn’t dare declare the 86’s cargo space and storage uncompromised. However, compared with the highly impractical Miata and 124 Spider, the roomier Toyota coupe is a veritable minivan. Fold-down rear seats and a generous trunk pass-through give the 86 a semblance of IKEAbility. We fit three of our carry-on suitcases inside its trunk, whereas the Mazda and Fiat only held one each. Toyota 86 2021 – see the photo in the gallery on our website.

Exterior

The standard manual transmission is a joy to shift, and manual-equipped cars have a little extra power to boot. All models come standard with a 7-inch touchscreen multimedia system with Bluetooth streaming audio and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity. An optional TRD Handling Package includes Sachs shock absorbers, Brembo brakes, an underbody aerodynamic panel and 18-inch alloy wheels with Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires. First offered for the 2013 model year, this sports car that was co-developed by Toyota and Subaru is showing its age. It’s also modestly powered, but it and the related BRZ still deliver a rewarding, engaging driving experience. You just need to prefer handling finesse to brute power to truly enjoy it.

Colors

There aren’t enough cars in the world like the Toyota 86. We adore its balanced rear-drive handling, slick manual gearbox, and accurate steering. It’s all kinds of fun to drive. The excellent body control and superior handling are offset by stiff suspension and middling ride quality, but most of the time we don’t mind. We do appreciate the 86’s aftermarket support, which is something we explored in our year-long loan with a Scion FR-S. The aging infotainment system we’ve complained about in the past will be much more user-friendly with the addition of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support. The cabin still feels a bit dated, but we can get past that by calling it classic instead. Back seats in these cars are useless, though; even children will struggle to fit in the back if there’s a full-size adult in the seat in front of them. It’s not underpowered, despite what internet trolls might tell you. Revving out the engine to the top of its powerband is a joy and the amount of power is well-suited to the chassis and grip level. In fact, the 86 is nearly perfect right out of the box.

Fuel economy

The featherweight Mazda Miata and the mechanically similar Fiat 124 Spider not only score higher EPA fuel-economy estimates, they also outpaced those ratings on our 200-mile fuel-economy test route with 38- and 39-mpg results, respectively. The Toyota 86 nearly matched them with a 37-mpg result, though, despite its lower EPA rating.

Horsepower

As a joint effort between Toyota and Subaru, the 86—also known as the Subaru BRZ—uses a 2.0-liter flat-4 from Subaru, a 6-speed manual transmission or available automatic, and rear-wheel-drive. Its 205 horsepower (200 with the automatic) is adequate when you wring it out, but a sub-optimal 156 pound-feet of torque leaves us wanting for more grunt—or a turbocharger. Handling is superb thanks to a short wheelbase, near-perfect weight distribution, and direct steering that balances response and ratio well. The ride quality is on the firm side of average, but what else would you expect from a small sports coupe?

Technical specifications

Toyota is filling out its sports car portfolio with another generation of the 86 sports car, now renamed GR86. A new powerplant is the headline news. After years of pleading from the public, Toyota and Subaru are finally giving the GR86 a turbocharger. Subaru’s 2.4-liter turbocharged boxer four-cylinder is the obvious candidate, retuned from SUV duty where it makes 260 hp and 277 lb-ft in the Subaru Ascent. Even if the power figures don’t change with the tune, it would still make 55 hp and 122 lb-ft more than the current GT86 and BRZ. Although it hasn’t been confirmed yet, we expect both to offer a manual gearbox as well as an automatic.

Price

86: $27,940; GT: $30,790; Hakone Edition: $30,825; The Toyota 86 is essentially a rebadged Subaru BRZ and vice versa, but the Toyota costs about $2000 less. The 86 also competes with the rear-drive Mazda Miata and Fiat 124 Spider, but it has an actual back seat and a much larger trunk. While the Mazda and Fiat offer open-air driving and zippier acceleration, neither are as useful on a daily basis as the Toyota. We’d recommend the 86 GT with the manual transmission, which is more engaging and saves $720 versus the automatic. We’d also choose the TRD Handling package for maximum performance thanks to its stiffer suspension, stickier tires, and stronger brakes.

Safety

The 86’s frontal-crash and rollover ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and test results from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety are good, although a lack of driver-assistance features holds it back from a Top Safety Pick award. Missing from its option sheet (but available on the Miata) are blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure warning, and adaptive headlights that steer into corners as the steering wheel is turned.

Motors

The 86 is buoyed by its rear-drive layout and sweet transmission choices. Decidedly less satisfying is its Subaru-sourced 2.0-liter flat-four engine, which is rough, loud, and suffers from an odd dip in torque midway through the rev range. Still, we managed a swift 6.2-second zero-to-60-mph time with the manual transmission. Although we prefer the manual’s notchy, short-throw shifter, the 86’s optional six-speed automatic is the rare self-shifter that doesn’t ruin the fun. It offers up quick shifts both when it handles gearchanges and when the driver orders up- or downshifts via the shift paddles. More fun to discuss and experience are the 86’s direct, quick-ratio steering and pleasing small-diameter steering wheel. Steering inputs change the car’s direction with immediacy, and the body stays flat throughout corners and quick transitions. The neutral chassis balance initially gives overenthusiastic drivers understeer, which happens when the front tires slide toward the outside edge of the road, before transitioning to controllable oversteer—the feeling that the tail is sliding out from under you. For the skilled and adventurous, adding throttle in this situation can hang the tail way out in a major drift—if you’ve killed the stability control first.

Configurations

There are two trim levels available, 86 and GT, as well as the new Hakone edition. The $28,015 base price includes LED headlights, sport seats in cloth, keyless entry, power features, synthetic suede trim, a fold-flat rear seat, and 17-inch alloy wheels. A 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system is also standard. Options include the new handling package, and GT and Hakone models get improved interior and exterior features. The 86 gets average crash test scores for categories it’s been tested in, but no active safety features are standard or available. Fuel economy is mediocre for a small, light sports car, at 24 mpg combined with the manual transmission and 27 mpg combined with the automatic. The 2021 Toyota 86 sports traditional two-door coupe styling, but it’s neither offensive nor particularly exciting. It at least differentiates slightly from its twin, the Subaru BRZ, and for that we give it 7 out of 10 here. Long hood, wheels pushed to the corners, a cabin built for two—these are the makings of a proper sports car design, and the Toyota 86 makes sure all those boxes are checked. Its big grille helps distinguish it from the Subaru BRZ with which it shares nearly everything else. There isn’t much about the 86 that really piques our interest anymore after eight years on the market in various forms, but it’s still classic in its appearance. The cabin is similarly reserved, and logically laid out with climate controls directly below the basic infotainment screen, drive mode switches clustered around the gear shift, and a straightforward gauge cluster with a nice round steering wheel in front (not flat-bottomed, which is more a trend than a useful feature).

Review

For years we’ve griped about the 86’s lack of power, buzzy engine and the fact that it’s a 200-horsepower car that often feels like a 150-horsepower car. Those things haven’t changed for 2021. But neither has its merits. The 2021 Toyota 86 remains a textbook rear-wheel-drive plaything. It also delivers direct, intuitive steering and consistent braking. And though its traction limits aren’t high, it’s a perfect machine in which to learn basic rear-wheel-drive car control. For 2021, the only addition to the 86 lineup is a new model called the Hakone Edition, which comes with striking green metallic paint, bronze-colored wheels and a black spoiler. Inside it offers tan and black synthetic-suede seats and tan and black stitching. Unfortunately, you can’t get the Hakone Edition with the optional TRD Handling package, which ups the car’s braking and handling performance slightly. Similarly priced rivals include two hatchbacks, the 228-horsepower Volkswagen Golf GTI and the 250-hp Hyundai Veloster N, and the 181-hp Mazda Miata. Going with the GTI or Veloster will give you more practicality via their roomier rear seating and cargo areas, while the Miata has its convertible top. Base models of the Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustang are also worth checking out. But if learning performance-driving essentials at a relatively low starting price is a priority, then the 86 is an excellent place to start.

Release date

The 86 has a funny history. It was introduced for 2013 as the Scion FR-S, sister car to the Subaru BRZ and the product of a partnership between Subaru and Toyota to build an affordable rear-drive sports car. When Toyota closed the doors on the Scion brand, the FR-S was rebranded as the Toyota 86 (which had been its name in the Japanese market) for the 2017 model year. It sits below the Supra in Toyota’s lineup of sports cars and competes with other rear-drive coupes like the Mazda MX-5 Miata, Ford Mustang EcoBoost, and the four-cylinder Chevrolet Camaro, as well as affordable enthusiast’s cars such as the Volkswagen Golf GTI.

Video

The Toyota 86 is an OK sports car. It’s one of the most fun-to-drive cars in the class, as long as you don’t prioritize speed. Its four-cylinder boxer engine feels weak and unrefined, and the interior is spartan. The back seats are barely usable, and the trunk is small. The Toyota 86 is worth consideration if you’re looking for a fun car on a budget, but there are better options. For example, the Subaru BRZ is similar to the 86 in many ways, but it has a nicer interior and a more responsive engine. The two-seat Mazda MX-5 Miata is the quintessential roadster, and its priced similarly to the 86.

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