- 2022 Toyota GR86 Review ($27,700 – $30,300)
- “Best Fun Car of 2022” – Autocar
- “Top Safety Pick +” – IIHS
- Pro: The new GR86 has a new look, a stronger chassis, and a larger 2.4-liter engine.
- Con: The manual transmission version lacks some safety features.
“Hey man, I like your ‘Yota!” a random stranger said as he walked by my 2022 Toyota GR86 tester for the week. I thanked him and wondered if he knew that the car had a new Subaru engine under its hood. I also wondered if he knew that the GR86 was completely restyled for the new model year, that its chassis was strengthened and given an aluminum hood and fenders.
Then, I wondered if that guy would even care to know all of this information about the new GR86. Probably not. But you do, so read on to find out why this revised little sports coupe is one of the best cars I have ever driven.
What’s new for the 2022 model year?
The Toyota GR86 was completely redesigned and relaunched for the 2022 model year. The previous Toyota 86 took a one-year hiatus after 2020 and reemerged as the GR86. The “GR” stands for Gazoo Racing, which is Toyota’s racing division that now has a hand in its car designs and engineering.
As stated before, the new GR86 now has a 2.4-liter engine, up from 2.0 liters, a revised look inside and out, a stronger chassis, and an up-level Premium trim.
Which Toyota GR86 trim level is right for you?
Shopping for a Toyota GR86 is easy as there are only two trim levels to choose from. Here is a breakdown:
- GR86 — $27,700
- GR86 Premium – $30,300
The Premium trim level mainly adds a color-matched duckbill spoiler, dark 18-inch wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires, and adaptive front headlights. My test car for the week was a Toyota GR86 Premium model in Track bRed and a black interior. The price as tested was $32,658.
The 2022 Toyota GR86 has a sharp look that turns a few heads
Aside from the stranger that walked by and complimented my test car, the Toyota GR86 turned a few heads during my week with it. Maybe it was the special red paint that costs an extra $425, but it was most likely the car’s overall sharp aesthetic.
As Kelley Blue Book notes, the GR86 looks a lot like the outgoing model, but “freshened.” Its low-slung, athletic look is complemented by the “G Mesh” front grille and angular LED headlights. There are also functional front and side vents to help keep the car glued to the ground at higher speeds.
As far as colors, the GR86 is available in white, black, red, and two different shades of gray and blue.
Is the Toyota GR86 comfortable?
The interior of the Toyota GR86 is surprisingly more comfortable than you would think. It’s pretty easy to get in and out of the car, and once you’re in, the sport bucket seats are supportive and relatively plush. There’s a back seat, but it’s not made for anyone adult-sized. Fortunately, the rear seatback folds down and extends the small 6.26 cubic-foot trunk.
As far as space, my 5-foot, 8-inch stature was able to fit in the seat just fine with plenty of headroom to spare. I would imagine that anyone over 6-foot, 3-inches would struggle with a crooked neck in this car. Also, the GR86 comes in any interior color your like, as long as it’s black.
The Toyota GR86 comes with plenty of standard features and no options
Since there are only two different trim levels available, the base GR86 comes with a lot of standard features. All GR86 models come with a push-button start, an 8-inch touchscreen display, and a six-speaker audio system. Apple Carplay and Android Auto are also standard as are a pair of USB ports. The base trim level also comes with 17-inch wheels wrapped in Michelin Primacy HP summer tires.
Upgrading to the Premium trim level spruces up the interior a little with Alcantara seat inserts, 18-inch black wheels, and a better 8-speaker audio system. I will say that the audio system is pretty good, however, I do wish that Toyota made a JBL premium audio system available in this car as it does in other models.
Another unique standard feature that is not really a feature is the complimentary one-year membership to the National Auto Sport Association (NASA). This membership allows GR86 owners one free High-Performance Driving Event (HPDE) to learn how to drive the car on the track in addition to discounted admission to NASA events.
Otherwise, there aren’t any other options available for the GR86 after stepping up to the Premium trim level. However, you can equip the car with a six-speed automatic transmission, which will also unlock some driver-assist features.
The Toyota GR86 handles extremely well
Considering the Toyota GR86 has a rear-drive, front-engine configuration, a 53:47 front: rear balance, and weighs around 2,800 pounds, it’s no surprise that it’s fun to toss around in the corners. Its steering is sharp, but not twitchy and the car stays planted in tight turns and sweeping freeway onramps. The brakes grip well but could use a little more bite for my taste. Otherwise, the GR86 is an utter joy to drive at high speeds.
But that doesn’t mean it’s a racecar, as the GR86 is comfortable when driven normally. There’s a lot of road noise, which is to be expected, and the cabin is loud at freeway speeds – but you can still carry on a conversation with your passenger. In fact, I wouldn’t hesitate to take this car on a long road trip, if needed. A competitor like the Mazda MX-5? Not so much.
The new 2.4-liter engine has plenty of power for the daily drive
The 2022 Toyota GR86 is powered solely by a naturally aspirated 2.4-liter, four-cylinder Boxer engine. The Gazoo Racing team had a hand in tuning the engine to make 18% more horsepower and 11% more torque than the outgoing 2.0-liter engine. Having driven the previous Toyota 86, I can say that the added power was much-needed.
The outgoing 2.0-liter engine felt anemic all the way to its 7,000 rpm redline. However, the newer 2.4-liter has a nice bump in mid-range torque. I had no trouble going uphill and getting onto the freeway quickly and that was at a mile-high elevation. Of course, a turbocharger would be nice, but it’s not necessary.
Also, a six-speed manual transmission with a buttery-smooth shifter is standard, but a six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters is available.
In terms of gas mileage, the EPA estimates that the automatic GR86 can get up to 21 city and 31 highway miles per gallon, while the manual-shift version is rated at 20 mpg city and 27 mpg on the highway. In my week of driving in combined conditions, I averaged 26 mpg.
Is the GR86 safe?
The 2022 Toyota GR86 was given a “Top Safety Pick +” award by the IIHS. But if that’s not reassuring enough for you, then you can rest assured that the GR86 is safe – at least in its automatic guise. Toyota equipped the automatic version of the GR86 with its Star Safety suite of driver-assist features. Those features include:
- Adaptive cruise control
- Pre-collision braking
- Lane-departure warning
- Automatic high-beams
Otherwise, the GR86 comes standard with hill-start assist, a rearview camera, and stability control. The Premium models come with the added safety of rear parking sensors and a rear cross-traffic alert, which really comes in handy in tight parking-lot situations.
Is the Toyota GR86 cheap to maintain?
The model is newly released, so it’s hard to find information on maintenance costs as of this writing. The good news is that every GR86 comes with ToyotaCare. It’s a no-cost maintenance plan that includes certain factory services like oil changes, tire rotations, and multi-point inspections for the first two years or 24,000 miles.
The GR86 also comes with Toyota’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.
MotorBiscuit gives the 2022 Toyota GR86 an expert rating of 8.8 out of 10
The editors at MotorBiscuit award the 2022 Toyota GR86 an overall rating of 8.8 out of 10. The GR86’s superb driving dynamics and surprising everyday comfort make it a worthy choice as a sporty daily driver or a weekend track toy. Also, considering the number of tech-savvy features it comes with and the worry-free maintenance plan for two years, there’s no doubt that the Toyota GR86 is worth every penny.