Skip to main content

There’s a lot to like about the 2023 Toyota GR86. With a more powerful Subaru-built four-cylinder, the dead zone in the middle of the rev range is now gone. Moreover, the reasonably-priced 2+2 coupe still has plenty of balance and sharpness to tackle any road with engaging zeal. From first-time sports car owners to seasoned drivers, each will enjoy its old-school, rear-wheel drive, manually-shifting dynamics.

Despite the surplus of high points, no car is without fault—much like the GR86. Its budget-conscious price means a few issues may lie within that can cause annoyance for drivers. Although Edmunds sings praise for the 2023 Toyota GR86, they offer two downsides to owning one.

Reason #1: High interior noise level

Under the hood, the GR86 has a transversely-mounted 2.4-liter four-cylinder from Subaru. With 228 horsepower and 184 pounds-feet of torque, it propels the 2,800-pound car with haste. However, the boxer-style powerplant creates an unfortunate characteristic: noise. A screaming engine is typically a welcome sight in a smaller sports car. But boxer engines aren’t known for an operatic mechanical melody. Edmunds says, “engine noise is more annoying than evocative.”

Additionally, the 2023 Toyota GR86 suffers from quite a bit of road noise from the tires. Reviewers say the issue is “near constant” in various driving conditions, particularly on the highway. Unfortunately, the car’s audio system can’t cover up the disturbances.

Reason #2: Cramped back seats

Compared to other small sports cars like the Mazda Miata, the GR86 boasts more room for passengers and cargo. Drivers blessed with the gift of height will revel in ample headroom and enjoy the adjustable seating position. However, the expansiveness isn’t a feature of the rear seating space.

The backseats are practical for storing things that can’t fit in the 6.3 cubic-foot trunk. But that’s about it. Even smaller adults will be uncomfortable in the back. A couple of small children shouldn’t be a problem, and the 2023 Toyota GR86 has anchor points for child safety seats. Be aware that getting “any reasonably sized safety seat in and out of the car is a major challenge,” Edmunds says.

Is the 2023 Toyota GR86 a good sports car choice?

2023 Toyota GR86
2023 Toyota GR86 | Toyota

A noisy interior and cramped back seats shouldn’t be reasons to stray away from the 2023 Toyota GR86. The faults are easy to live with for a back-to-basics sports car considering all the other outstanding attributes.

Thanks to its lightweight design and small engine, drivers should expect a combined 25 mpg, the EPA says. That’s only with the automatic transmission, however. The six-speed stick-sight will net 22 mpg combined. Another area of savings is with the entire car itself. Even the range-topping 10th Anniversary Special Edition starts under $36,000. With an immense suite of driver safety aids as standard, a similarly-equipped competitor car would be thousands of dollars more.

According to Edmunds, the best choice is the mid-range Premium trim level. For an MSRP of $31,525, the GR86 gains larger wheels, a duckbill-style rear spoiler, heated front seats, and faux suede and leather upholstery.


2023 Toyota GR86: Same, Same, But a Little Different