The Toyota 86 Name Surprisingly Came From the Brand’s Heritage

The Toyota 86 sits happily in the category of affordable rear-wheel drive sports cars that offer more handling than they do power, but they’re popular for what they offer at the price. While the 86 itself seems as underrated at the sibling chassis Subaru BRZ and Scion FRS, they offer a great platform to build on, with a lot of aftermarket support. Even some owners aren’t aware that the Toyota 86 wasn’t just named after some arbitrary number, but rather a nod at the brand’s heritage and the car that inspired the sporty 2-seater in the first place.

The Toyota 86 was named after an older gen Corolla GT-S

Toyota GR86
Toyota GR86 | Alessandro Di Ciommo, NurPhoto, Getty Images

The Toyota 86 was named after an older vehicle from the brand that is seemingly underrated compared to modern day versions of the car — it was named after a generation of the Toyota Corolla. The Toyota Corolla GT-S of the 1980s era might not sound like an exciting vehicle, but at the time it was surprisingly nimble. The generation of the Corolla GT-S was referred to as the AE86, which was the car that originally inspired the Toyota 86 to begin with. So, while it may seem like somewhat arbitrary numbers, the 86 model name does have some of the brand’s heritage behind it.

What is the Toyota 86?

The Toyota 86 was designed to be an affordable every-day sports car that balanced practicality with performance. While it’s sub 300 hp drivetrain might not sound exciting, it’s nimble handling experience begs to differ. Even better, it’s still offered with the option for a manual transmission. It’s comfortable, practical, and aggressive, appealing to a market of buyers who are looking to own one car that does it all, rather than one daily driver and a second weekend roadster.

The next generation: 2022 Toyota GR86


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The Toyota 86 was introduced nearly a decade ago with the first models rolling off the production line in January of 2012. It is completely redesigned for the new model year, featuring a somewhat less aggressive but at least more modern front end. The engine, intake, and exhaust receive upgrades that bring the car up to 228 hp, according to Edmunds, making it a distinct upgrade from previous model years. But, it still holds with it the same heritage of previous Toyota 86 models years, and, of course, it’s name sake.

The Toyota 86 might have been named after an older generation of the Toyota Corolla GT-S, but it is nothing like the modern day Corolla, which may be confusing to some buyers who don’t recognize just how capable the Corolla once was, offering less horsepower and more handling, so much so that they are still a favorite among some car enthusiasts.