2023 Toyota GR86

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2023 Toyota GR86 Review: The Prince Of Purity

by Michael Butler

The early 2000s can be considered the sports car equivalent of the Dark Ages for Toyota. This mighty brand, which once developed amazing sports cars like the Supra, Celica, and MR2, had fallen from grace and was building some of the most boring, corporate-friendly cars known to man. Then came the year 2012, and Toyota unleashed the 86 on the world. A decade later, the Toyota GR86 is officially the second generation of this affordable rear-wheel-drive sports car's dynasty and is celebrating its tenth anniversary with a special edition. With its 2.4-liter Boxer four-cylinder producing 228 horsepower and crisp six-speed manual transmission, the 2023 GR86 is in a league of its own. Competitors to the Toyota GR86 are now few and far between, limited to the two-seater Mazda MX-5 twins and its sibling, the Subaru BRZ. This is one of the most exciting Toyota models on offer and continues the grand legacy of Toyota 86 cars before it, stretching all the way back to the original Hachiroku.

Read in this review:

  • Exterior Design 10 /10
  • Performance 8 /10
  • Fuel Economy 8 /10
  • Interior & Cargo 10 /10
  • Infotainment & Features 9 /10
  • Reliability 9 /10
  • Safety 9 /10
  • Value For Money 9 /10
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2023 Toyota GR86 Changes: What’s The Difference vs The 2022 GR86?

Eager customers in the USA will be pleased to hear that Toyota has launched a GR86 10th Anniversary Special Edition for the 2023 model year to celebrate ten years of the GR86. This unique 86 is based on the Premium trim and comes in a seductive Solar Shift orange paint job with black 18-inch wheels, a rear duckbill spoiler, black C-pillar graphics, and a performance exhaust with black chrome tips. The interior features Solar Shift contrast stitching and special emblems. Only 860 of these cars will be offered to the public.

Pros and Cons

  • A real sports car bargain
  • Slick six-speed manual transmission
  • Pure driving fun
  • Larger engine makes the most of an adept chassis
  • Not the most exotic engine note
  • Road and wind noise
  • What rear legroom?

What's the Price of the 2023 Toyota GR86?

A sports car bargain that few can match, the price of the Toyota GR86 in the US starts at an MSRP of around $28,000 before destination and handling fees and any options you might spec on your base trim. The Premium rises North of $32,000, while the 10th Anniversary Special Edition is available in limited numbers of just 860 for $34,360.

Best Deals on 2023 Toyota GR86

2023 Toyota GR86 Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
2.4L Flat 4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
6-Speed Manual
Rear-Wheel Drive
2.4L Flat 4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
6-Speed Manual
Rear-Wheel Drive
10th Anniversary Special Edition
2.4L Flat 4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
6-Speed Manual
Rear-Wheel Drive
See All 2023 Toyota GR86 Trims and Specs

2023 Toyota GR86 Handling and Driving Impressions

When Toyota developed the first generation 86, it aimed to deliver a car that would transport the driver back to the good old days of no-nonsense RWD fun, and it managed to accomplish this goal with overwhelming success. The second generation car simply picks up where the first one left off; the steering is razor sharp and communicative, and the suspension setup is perfectly balanced between offering driving fun and offering a compliant ride for the daily grind with the caveat of more NVH than the old car - a price you have to pay for an involving sports car experience at this price point.

We love how easy it is to throw this car into a corner and induce some smoky oversteer. The 2.4-liter Boxer engine delivers 184 lb-ft of torque at under 4,000 rpm, which helps get the new Toyota GR86 coupe out of corners faster than before, while the 228 hp arriving at a lofty 7,000 rpm encourages redline-chasing.

If you like low-grip, low-speed antics, then the base model with its 17-inch wheels and Michelin Primacy HP tires is the model to go for, but if you're after a car that can hold its own in the corners, the Premium trim with 18-inch wheels and Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires is the best option. Either way, the GR86 promises one of the most involved and entertaining driving experiences this side of a Porsche badge, and the new motor, while a little harsh, finally makes full use of the chassis it had all along.

Verdict: Is the 2023 Toyota GR86 A Good sports car?

The first generation Toyota 86 took the motoring world by storm; it was a car that delivered simple driving pleasures at an affordable price and signaled the return of Toyota as a sports car manufacturer. Now, ten years later, the second generation GR86 is in its second year of production and continues to do the Lord's work. The 2023 Toyota GR86 is one of the best RWD sports coupes around, at any price, and transcends its price tag by delivering a driving experience that entertains like the best the class has to offer, including much more exotic machinery. We love that the 2.4-liter engine finally does the chassis justice and the fact that you can go for a slippery base model or a grippy range-topper. But it does have its downsides, and long highway journeys may leave you with a headache due to lots of harshness from the powertrain. Still, that's easy to forgive when a twisty mountain pass opens up ahead of you. Competition in this class and price range is slim, making the GR86 a standout choice for those looking for affordable RWD fun with a side of practicality.

In years gone by, our review of the Toyota GR86 would've come to the conclusion that the Miata is probably a better option, but that may no longer be true.

What 2023 Toyota GR86 Model Should I Buy?

There are only two primary grades available for the GR 86, so unless you spring for any of the special editions that seem to crop up often enough, we have a strong opinion of which one to buy. Without knowing the pricing as of this writing, the GR 86 Premium seems like the stronger option. Not only does it get a nicer interior, it also looks more aggressive on the outside with black 18-inch wheels and a duckbill spoiler. The biggest difference is the Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tire, which adds grip and makes the GR 86 feel more stable. For buyers who will leave the car stock, the Premium is the must-have option. If you plan to customize your car with new wheels and tires anyway, the base model doesn't feel like a major downgrade inside and will save you a few grand. Either way, buy the manual - it's the gearbox this car was meant to have.

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