Words and pictures by William Grilo.

As you all know, the Toyota 86 is the latest sports coupe designed and engineered by Toyota & Subaru. I was lucky enough to collect my tornado grey GTS last Thursday. I actually never test drove one prior to picking it up. Most thought I was crazy, however after reading all the different reviews and seeing Chris Harris from Drive on youtube giggling like a little school girl, I knew this car wouldn’t disappoint. If anything it has exceeded my expectations. Honestly in the sub-$40,000 range there is nothing like it.

Why the Toyota 86 GTS? Well my Lexus IS200 has close to 226,000kms with all the driving I do between Sydney, Blue Mountains and Central Coast. I thought it was time to update my daily. However it still needed to be fun much like the IS200, which for those who don’t know the IS/Altezza chassis was engineered by Nobuaki Katayama who was the chief engineer behind the AE86 Corolla. The same car the 86 is based on.

The FA20 may only produce 147kW (197hp) at 7000rpm and have a max torque of only 205Nm (151 ft·lb) at 6600rpm which may seem dull on paper, however there is more than enough power to get you into trouble. Car has no problems being driven around Sydney between 3000-4000 rpm. People who are used to driving cars with forced induction may believe the car is underpowered, but like I said before this car loves being driven hard. It really needs to be between 5000–7000rpm for the car to be at its happiest. The best and worst part of this is if you are in the wrong gear, you will know about it.

This car teaches you how to drive. There is no better feeling when you get the corner just right without the help of any forced induction or driving aids. The gearbox is an Aisin unit which is used in the IS and other cars such is the S15 and MX-5. Gears are nice and close. It reminds me a lot of my IS200 with the TRD short shifter, just with a bit more meat. The standard Torsen LSD is also a Toyota item, and is nice and tight. You can definitely it feel a slight skip when parking much like a mechanical diff. Steering is great with a fast steering rake of 13.1:1. Direct with plenty of feel. I was very surprised to know that it was electric. Provides enough feedback and with the smallest steering wheel Toyota has ever put into a production car it feels great in your hands.

This car really does have two personalities. Give it the beans and the car comes alive. Drive it around town and the car becomes sedate. Does the daily duties very well, and with the GTS you do get extra features such as Xenon headlights, Satnav, proximity key with push button start and heated seats wrapped in leather and alcantara. The cabin is spiced with patches of leather and red stitching which makes it a really nice place to be.

The seats are great; they hold you in much like a bucket seat without a sore back. Also it’s very easy to get the seating position right. Controls are all well-placed and easy to get too. The toggle switches and bolt design that controls the dual climate control are a nice touch. Interior is well-built and feels like you’re in a car that is more than the $35,490+ORC RRP.

The GTS gauge cluster also does get a white-faced tacho with shift light (which also buzzes) and a digital speedo. It makes reading the speed nice and easy as the speedo can be a bit difficult to see. Being lit in white light also makes it easy to see in the dark.

Overall, I am very happy with the car and I am glad I bought one. Fits what I want out of a car to a tee. Only problem is, it’s going to be a tough choice on what to take out on weekends. Do I take this or my Suzuki Cappuccino out for that Sunday drive? I guess it will have to depend on the weather.

After doing close to 2,000kms in the first fortnight of ownership overall I am happy with the car however there are a couple of things Toyota/Subaru could of improved on. The biggest anti climax is how it sounds, especially at start up. You have this fancy start button. You press it thinking they will be some nice bark from the exhaust however it sounds like you have just turned on your Dyson as you go to vacuum your house definitely not the most appealing sound. The brakes have good feel, nice and progressive however I think it is missing that initial bite. I really thing if you going to be doing some serious driving, brakes and fluid are a must. Also the design of the standard wheels looks like something Bob Jane T Marts would sell. Although all this little things can easily be fixed by replacing them.

Overall I am happy with the car and does everything I need it too. Fuel consumption so far has been pretty good, I have been averaging 9.4l/100kms around town and on nice drive I did average 10.0/100km. So not only is the car fun it’s pretty cheap to fuel up. It is also chain driven so there is no need to change a timing belt. Although Toyota do not change the oil at the first service and the service intervals are every 15,000kms. Being a boxer motor this is something I am not trusting so I did the first oil change myself and will be doing an oil change every 7,500kms. Call be pedantic but the motor runs on oil and I would prefer to keep that as fresh as possible especially when I do close to 500-700kms a week.  Toyota/Subaru have made it very easy. With the oil filter located in the engine bay and the metal under tray has a whole for where the sump is. It was the quickest oil change I have ever done. Jack the car up….place some jack stands, undo the bolt and let the oil drain. It was that simple.

With the 86, Toyota designed it so everything had a its place and a purpose. I am glad that I got one in my driveway. This is a car that will hopefully start a new trend and encourage other markers to produce affordable sports cars. Toyota and Subaru have proved that this is what people want. So on that note. I think it’s time to hit the road again.


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