Toyota GR86 Owners Want to Fix an Impossible Problem With Their Car

Each year brings new refreshes and redesigns across the auto industry, some of which address specific customer complaints. But some issues are inherent to the segment and really are impossible to tackle. If you want a vehicle that looks like a Volkswagen Beetle but can match a Ford F-350 in towing capacity, you’re out of luck. But Toyota GR86 owners want help with a similar kind of problem.

An orange Toyota GR86 on display.
2023 Toyota GR86 | Toyota

What’s the least favorite thing Toyota GR86 owners like about their car?

In a recent J.D. Power survey, the J.D. Power 2021 Automotive Performance, Execution, and Layout (APEAL) Study, Toyota GR86 owners were asked to rate their least favorite aspect of the car.

As expected of a sports car, areas like the exterior styling and powertrain scored very high. And also, as expected, areas like fuel economy and infotainment systems scored quite low. Sports cars are notorious gas guzzlers, and while their infotainment systems work well enough, these systems aren’t why owners are willing to pay a premium.

The lowest ranked aspect of owning a GR86? Getting in and out of the car. But that’s really not something Toyota can do much about.

Sports cars are designed to be very compact and low to the ground. This design helps them move as quickly as they do. But to hit a top speed of 140 mph, the GR86 sacrifices vehicle access, and comfort, especially for taller drivers.

However, if GR86 owners compare it to some of its sleeker and faster competitors like the Ford Mustang and the Chevrolet Camaro, they may find their vehicle’s access issue a bit more tolerable.

Access is a fair complaint

It’s not that vehicle ease of access is an unfair complaint. If you’re going to be spending tens of thousands of dollars on a sports car, you’re going to want to enjoy it. But if the very idea of getting in and out of it makes you wince, then owning one is not going to be an as pleasant experience as it should be.

Furthermore, sports cars are especially challenging for taller drivers. While some are designed with taller drivers in mind, the GR86 is not especially suited for them. Other sports cars, like the Camaro, offer more leg and headroom, which are crucial for longer drives.

And while you may be willing to adjust to the tight confines of the GR86, prospective drivers should certainly take the GR86, along with competing models, out for a thorough test drive. Getting in and out may have been GR86 owners’ least favorite aspect of the car, but driving comfort was the third lowest ranked. And given some of the high-quality interior features Toyota offers, driving discomfort can likely be attributed to the vehicle’s tight confines.

While vehicle access and driving comfort are fair complaints, it’s also worth considering whether it’s worth it to buy a sports car in the first place. After all, these areas can’t and won’t be addressed by an over-the-air update, refresh, or redesign.

What did Toyota GR86 owners like the most?

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Now, if you can live with the vehicle access issue and tight confines, there’s much to like about the GR86. APEAL respondents appreciated the fresh curves and lines of the GR86. They also loved its performance, responsive steering, and responsive handling. The powertrain also really shined, which one would hope for when it comes to a sports car.

Toyota equipped the GR86 with a naturally aspirated 2.4-inline four-cylinder that generates 228 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. Paired with a standard six-speed manual transmission, the engine can get drivers to 60 mph in an impressive 5.8 seconds.

The GR86 won’t win any awards for fuel efficiency, getting an estimated 20 mpg in the city and 27 on the highway with the manual transmission option. Nor will the interior tech blow you away, though the 8.0 infotainment screen and 7.0-inch digital display cluster are more than some competitors offer.

No, it’s the overall experience the GR86 offers, which APEAL respondents noted as their second favorite thing about the vehicle. And for a starting MSRP of less than $30,000, GR86 owners and prospective buyers get quite a deal.