Yes in a less than two weeks we will finally get to see the much anticipated new Toyota Supra, but lets not forget that Toyota does also offer another sports car – the 86. While we can’t wait to get behind the wheel of the 2020 Supra, it’s price tag will likely make it just a dream for most sports car fans. So what about the 86 then?
Compared to the Supra, the 86 has a similar shape, but it’s just scaled down a bit. Both coupes have a long hood and short rear deck to giving them classic sports car proportions. What you might also find interesting is the fact that neither the new Supra or 86 have a Toyota engine under the hood, since the 2020 Supra gets its life from BMW and the heart of the 86 is a Subaru four-cylinder boxer engine.
While we have yet to drive the new Supra yet, hint hint Toyota, we can definitely attest to the fun factor that you get behind the wheel of the 2019 86. The 86’s 2.0L four-cylinder engine generates 205 hp and 165 lb-ft. of torque if you opt for the six-speed manual and 200 hp and 151 lb-ft. if you go with the six-speed automatic transmission. While 205 horsepower isn’t something to write home about, you can think of the 86 like another fun Japanese sports car, the Mazda Miata. Just like the Miata, the 86 isn’t entirely about straight line acceleration. While the 86 will easily get left behind at a stop light, it’s more about how it handles.
It all starts with the excellent steering you get with the 86, which is then coupled with the suspension that manages to keep the coupe perfectly planted to the road. The boxer engine has also been placed as far back as possible to give the coupe a weight distribution of 53 percent in the front and 47 percent in the rear.
What does that all mean? Throw the 86 hard into a curve and it asks for more. Its nimble handing makes it so much fun to wring out on a back country road, that you’ll easily forget that the coupe needs more power, well for a bit at least. Everything would be even more fun if Toyota/ Subaru were able to squeeze out an extra 50 horsepower from the boxer engine. Even the Miata recently got a nice horsepower upgrade. Come on Toyota!
Even with the arrival of the new Supra and possibly even a new MR2, the sports car segment continues to shrink every year, which also probably explains why the 86 hasn’t changed much since it came to life as a Scion FR-S. The 86 is a joy to drive, but inside it is feeling a bit old. You won’t find the latest tech features in the 86, like Apple CarPlay, a blind spot monitor or adaptive cruise control. Even the rear view camera is an afterthought since its display is placed in the corner of rear view mirror. It’s so tiny and not very clear, which basically renders it useless.
Even if the 86 is feeling a bit outdated, it’s still one of the most pure sports cars you can buy. Sure there are faster options, but they also come with bigger price tags and even then, you probably won’t feel as connected to the car as you do behind the wheel of the Toyota 86.
The 2019 Toyota 86 starts at $27,175. For the 2019 model year there’s also the unique 86 TRD Special Edition available, which starts at $32,420.