Toyota is more well known for its sedan models like the Corolla or trucks like the Tacoma, but the Japanese automaker has some really sweet sports cars that don’t tend to get much attention. One of those is the Toyota 86.
If you haven’t heard of it, you aren’t alone. Now in its eighth year, the 86 is finally getting some of the attention it deserves from critics. Car and Driver reports that it’s fast, easy to drive, and has a well thought out design.
You’ll learn to drive better, but only because you have to
One of the major problems with sports cars is the lack of visibility. The Toyota 86 has a low hood that makes seeing where you’re headed a breeze.
That being said, there are a few flaws with the 86. According to Car and Driver, “Its 205-hp 2.0-liter flat-four doesn’t sing. There’s no crescendo as it approaches its 7400-rpm redline. You work it hard because you have to, not because you want to.”
The 86 can be rather noisy on the road, so if you’re looking for a sports car with that soft hum, this isn’t it. It also takes a full 6.2 seconds to go from 0 to 60 mph. Years ago, that would have been highly impressive, but now, that seems downright slow. There are cars on the road that can do that in a mere 2.9 seconds; the 86 isn’t that impressive.
The Toyota 86 has more than just good looks
One of the great things about the Toyota 86 is its simplicity. With so much technology flooding the auto world, it’s hard to keep up. Some drivers simply want a car that they have control of, not a car that does all the work for them.
The Toyota 86 manages that very well while adding in some thoughtful details like an armrest. This may not seem like that big of a deal, but anyone who’s been on a long road trip knows how tired they can get. Being able to rest your arm while sitting in a traffic jam can provide some much-needed relief. It might cost $199 more since it’s not standard, but that might just be the best extra cost you’ve ever paid for an add-on.
Some other features included on the Toyota 86 are Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. To get a rather tiny 4.5-inch screen, you’ll have to upgrade to the TRD trim. There isn’t a lot of other technology involved, so if you want the newest and best, you might want to check out the competition. That being said, the 86 is geared more toward drivers who love driving, not for owners who want to be seen.
How does the Toyota 86 stand up to the competition?
The biggest area that the Toyota 86 stands out from the competition is the price point. For example, the 86 starts at $27,060. The BMW M8 starts at $133,995. That’s literally over $100,000 more. It’s even more shocking because the 86 has features like fixed calipers on the front and rear that the BMW M8 lacks.
The Mazda MX-5 Miata is probably the 86’s biggest competition, and each has its downsides. The Miata’s is that it’s so small. The 86 is small as well, of course, but it has more trunk space and front-seat room. This makes it the superior daily driver and road trip vehicle.
On the flip side, the Miata has more driver assistance features, according to U.S. News, and it has much better handling. It also leaves the 86 in the dust when it comes to speed. Still, the 86 has a sort of simple charm that might lure some potential owners away from the more tech-savvy Miata.