Weirdly, the Stick Toyota GR 86 Is Missing a Bunch of Safety Features

Toyota has a reputation. Despite some recent bad press, the brand’s stellar reputation was only bolstered by the launch of the enthusiast-oriented Toyota GR 86. However, part of the Japanese brand’s reputation lies in its top-tier safety systems. Moreover, that reputation exists for a reason. Now, the 86 has been revealed with both an automatic and a manual transmission. However, the manual-equipped 86 models are lacking some pretty key safety features, some of them for no real reason.

What’s missing from the Toyota GR 86?

The interior of the GR 86 is all-black, and an improvement on the old one
The new interior is a massive improvement | Toyota

Let’s start with the braking software bits and pieces. A common sight in today’s vehicles, pre-collision braking is designed to do exactly what it says on the box. If you’re caught lackin’ in your Toyota GR 86, the computer will stop for you. Loudly, and quite abruptly in my experience. However, I can see why this system isn’t in a manual transmission car. Obviously, the clutch has to come in for the vehicle to stop without stalling it, another unsafe situation. So, I suppose that explains that.

The whole clutch-coming-in issue also explains why the stick Toyota GR 86 won’t be getting pre-collision throttle management or adaptive cruise. Toyota says those, along with lane departure and sway warning, start assist, and high beam assist are for auto-only models. Those are what’s bothering me. Why would those features not be available in a stick car? None of those require a machine to modulate a clutch unless your high beams only come on with a well-timed clutch kick.

Safety features or no, the 86 is a perfect formula for fun

A red GR 86 on track during Toyota's launch event
The GR is a handsome machine to be sure | Toyota

Regardless, those are some features I have a feeling most of the 86’s customers are willing to live without, for several reasons. First off, I’d be willing to bet that like many sports cars, these won’t be driven on the daily. They’ll be second cars, at least until they hit the used market. Many Toyota GR 86 owners are willing to forgo those features in favor of a stick-shift sports car experience.

Frankly, that experience is really all that matters to many potential buyers. The 2+2 sports coupe segment is next to nil now, and this is one of the last bastions of cheap fun. I’m certainly in Toyota’s target market for the GR 86, and I’m absolutely willing to let go of features I have lived without in the name of fun driving. I should also add that Toyota told The Drive to ask Subaru why these features aren’t available on the stick 86. For now, there’s no word from Subaru.

Do you need these features?

A crash test dummy at the wheel of a Toyota Corolla
More safety, more weight? Possibly. | Timothy A. Clary via Getty Images

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And that tells me that Subaru customers won’t be getting any of those features either. Subaru is another safety-oriented brand, but they seem content to offer the BRZ/Toyota GR 86 without the features for now. So, do you need these features? Frankly, I don’t, but it all comes down to your confidence in your own driving. Surely, they’d at least be worth some peace of mind.