What makes the Toyota 86 such a good car?

What makes the Toyota 86 such a good car?

The Toyota 86 is a series of 2+2 seater sports cars jointly developed by Toyota and Subaru and solely manufactured by Subaru. It features a boxer engine, front engine, rear wheel drive drivetrain, 2+2 seating and a fastback coupé body style.


In terms of design, the grille is wider and lower-set, with a pronounced lower lip at the front bumper with integrated fins and a lowering of the tip of the car’s nose. There are new headlights and fog lights (all LEDs) that cut deep into the front end. It doesn’t look radically different but Toyota aficionados will be able to tell the difference.

At the rear, it now features a two-tone (black and body-coloured) rear spoiler replaces the previous integrated component design, Toyota says it aids aerodynamics. There’s also new 17” wheel with 10-spoke design that is offered only on the High specification models. A 16” is offered on the Standard model.


Top speed: 145 mph (233 km/h) (as tested)


0–62 mph (0–100 km/h): 7.6s (manufacturer’s claim)

0–60 mph (0–97 km/h): 6.0-6.2s (estimated)

Standing 1/4 Mile: 14.7-14.9s (estimated).

Overall, it looks low, sleek and with its ‘pagoda’ roof emphasizing its sporty intentions. The 86’s dimensions remain the same with an overall length of 4.2m, a height of 1.3m (with shark fin antenna), 1.7m width and 2.5m wheelbase, its gross vehicle weight is quoted at 1670kg.

Inside, you’ll find a new 10cm digital screen, on upper specced derivatives it sports seats swathed in the leather and alcantara. There is a suede-like material with ’86’ embossing on the dashboard.

A nice touch is a digital speedometer that features a G-force monitor, power and torque curves, a stopwatch and lap times in addition to the usual vital information.


The 86 is arguably one of the most rewarding cars to drive, one can drive it in a tight and twisty raceway which can be used for bikes without any problem at all.

The new Track Mode feature works via pressing a button on the centre console that turns the Vehicle Stability Control and Traction Control down for more enthusiastic driving.

Toyota says its engineers have revised the coil springs and spring rates have been optimised for a more precise turn-in. This new car feels a lot more composed on public roads. It rides better, courtesy of reduced damping force, which is also an important aspect.

If you are planning on buying an 86 stick with the manual then you can’t go wrong with the Standard model, which is about close to R45 000 cheaper than the model with more features.

The 86 exemplifies what a sports car should be: rear-wheel drive, engine in the front and a manual gearbox.


86 Standard – R449 600

86 High – R494 400

86 High automatic – R519 400

Desh Bechan