Back in 2012, Toyota and Subaru teamed up to develop an affordable rear-wheel-drive sports car that brought driving joy to buyers on a budget. The Toyota 86 was a lovely car, but it was not without fault. Previously sold as an FR-S under Scion and 86 under Toyota, the 2022 Toyota GR 86 enters its second generation as a complete redesign alongside a new 2022 Subaru BRZ. With this latest model, Toyota wanted to address the biggest criticism of the previous car… its gutless engine. No, Toyota didn't just slap on a turbocharger to try and beat the Mazda MX-5 Miata, it took an even smarter route.
The GR 86 still has a Subaru-sourced boxer four-cylinder under the hood, but it now displaces 2.4 liters rather than 2.0 liters. This larger engine produces 228 horsepower and 184 lb-ft, improvements over the old model's 205 hp and 156 lb-ft. With that second figure available at just 3,700 rpm, the GR 86 feels much more eager to accelerate under normal driving conditions. Other improvements to the exterior styling and interior technology make this new GR 86 a more compelling package than before. If you are in the market for an entry-level sports car or a blank canvas to build a track car, the 2022 GR 86 is an exciting choice.
The 2022 Toyota GR 86 is a proverbial all-new model, ushering in the second generation of the brand's junior sports coupe. Redesigned inside and out, the new GR 86 also receives a bigger 2.4-liter engine with 18 percent more horsepower and an 11% jump in torque; the new power plant makes it faster than its predecessor. Toyota has also reworked the chassis - which technically carries over from before - and made the whole setup more rigid than before. Inside, the 86 gains a larger standard touchscreen interface, customizable driver display, and redesigned seating. It is available in two trims for 2022, the GR 86 and GR 86 Premium.
See trim levels and configurations:
Toyota has taken an evolutionary approach to the new GR 86's design and there's not much to complain about. This has always been an unpretentious, driver-focused coupe and the design communicates that message perfectly: Functional external vents improve steering stability, and the integrated front fender and rocker molding enhance aerodynamics. It hasn't grown too much compared with its predecessor so has a similarly compact stance. On the base model, 17-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights and DRLs, all-LED taillights, a chrome-tipped dual exhaust, and GR badging is standard. The Premium adds a distinctive duckbill rear spoiler, adaptive front lights, and larger 18-inch alloy wheels. Both models sport a 'G Mesh' front grille exclusive to the GR 86.
In terms of its dimensions, the new GR 86 isn't that much different from its predecessor. It's 1.2 inches longer, the wheelbase has grown by 0.2 inches, and it's fractionally wider than before. It's not quite as tall as the previous-gen model, either. The new coupe is now 167.9 inches long, 69.9 inches wide, stands 51.6 inches tall, and has a 101.4-inch wheelbase. The lightest model is the base manual at 2,811 pounds, an increase of 35 lbs over the equivalent previous model. At the other end of the scale, the GR 86 now weighs 2,868 lbs in Premium trim when equipped with the automatic transmission.
Both the entry-level model and the Premium are available with a choice of seven exterior colors. Only Track bRED and Halo White will cost extra, with the five remaining hues adding nothing to your bill. These no-cost options are Steel Grey, Pavement Grey, Raven Black, Neptune Blue, and Trueno Blue, named after the old Corolla Trueno. Because the basic design of the 86 isn't overwhelmingly flashy, the bolder colors like Track bRED and Neptune Blue work particularly well.
The engine in the previous Toyota 86 was the only major criticism of that car. It simply lacked the grunt to complement the vehicle's sparkling dynamics. Thankfully, things have improved in the new Toyota GR 86 which now produces 228 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque from its larger 2.4-liter naturally-aspirated four-cylinder engine. As before, power goes to the rear wheels. With the manual gearbox, the GR 86 can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 6.1 seconds, down from seven seconds in the outgoing model. If you choose the automatic, the sprint takes 6.6 seconds, a significant improvement on the previous model's eight seconds. The top speed is expected to be in the region of 140 mph. The mechanically identical Subaru BRZ should post similar performance figures, but the Mazda MX-5 is a little quicker off the mark according to independent tests. The new GR 86 is a car that still won't blow your mind with its performance in a straight line, but the improvements are welcome.
The new GR 86 remains naturally aspirated so Toyota was almost compelled to increase the engine size to extract more performance. The 2.4-liter boxer four-cylinder produces 228 hp and 184 lb-ft, up from the previous 2.0 liter's disappointing 205 hp and 156 lb-ft. Those numbers tell only part of the story, however, since the new car develops peak torque at 3,700 rpm, way lower than its predecessor's 6,400 rpm. This means that mid-range power and overtaking are less of a chore than before, although you can still have your fun and spin the power plant to 7,000 rpm if you're in the mood. Toyota has fitted an exhaust system with a larger 5.6L center pipe capacity for a more engaging growl, though there's definitely some computer-enhanced noise coming from the speakers. Whether it's real or fake, the GR 86's engine sounds more sonorous than the outgoing 86, which buzzed along like a blender. If you'd like even more noise from the tailpipe, Toyota will sell a GR performance cat-back exhaust with stainless steel pipes and black chrome tips.
Gearbox options include a six-speed manual and a six-speed automatic. Although the latter has paddle shifters and a Sport mode, the manual is the easy choice in a car that offers such a pure, unfiltered drive in other respects. The manual has been optimized to suit the greater torque output of the larger engine. It offers slick engagement with a short throw, though a GR quick shifter kit is available for an even more precise feeling. Toyota improved the transmission gate, making it easier to move diagonally from 2nd to 3rd or 4th to 5th; we didn't miss a single shift. As with the shifter, the clutch pedal is short with a light feel and low bite point, making the GR 86 easy to drive in traffic. We also sampled the automatic transmission, which does a valiant job offering quick downshifts when you mash the throttle in automatic mode. However, the transmission refused to downshift on cue when we called for them using the paddle shifters. It's a decent automatic, but this car is best enjoyed with the stick.
Though it was not perfect, the previous-generation Toyota 86 didn't require any improvement in its driving dynamics; it was nearly flawless. The engine was the lone weak point, and Toyota has addressed that with increased torque, a more usable power band, and a sweeter-sounding motor. The additional torque is instantly noticeable on the road and the race track, as it now takes less effort to get quick burst off acceleration. In terms of handling, the GR 86 remains a delight. Independent front and rear suspension help keep the car composed during hard driving, with just enough body roll to keep it compliant for everyday driving. The new electronic power steering feels slightly more assisted than last year's model, but it's still one of the sharpest systems this side of a Porsche. First-time sports car buyers can learn to drive aggressively in the GR 86 without worrying about hitting insane speeds or losing control.
The most significant choice for GR 86 buyers will be selecting between the base and Premium grade. Opting for the base car gets you 17-inch wheels wrapped in Michelin Primacy HP tires. These tires offer hilariously low grip, meaning you can chirp the tires leaving a stoplight if you give it too much throttle. On the track, these tires let you hang the back out with ease, executing insane power slides if you are a capable driver. We felt far more confident with the GR 86 Premium grade, which rides on 18-inch wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires. The grippier rubber made the car more composed under braking and less likely to step out if you are too eager with the throttle. Some drivers may prefer the tail-happy action of the base grade, but we prefer the more composed handling of the Premium model.
With the bigger engine, the new Toyota GR 86 is less efficient than its predecessor. In manual guise, the EPA rates the GR 86 will return 20/27/22 mpg on city/highway/combined; the 2020 Toyota 86 manual managed 21/28/24 mpg. In automatic guise, these figures improve to 21/31/25 mpg, worse than the 24/32/27 mpg in the previous car.
The gas tank can hold 13.2 gallons, which equates to an average range of around 290 miles for the manual and 330 miles for the automatic.
The new Toyota GR 86 once again offers a straightforward, driver-focused interior. It's not particularly plush but everything feels solidly screwed together, as expected of a Toyota. There is a seven-inch multi-function display ahead of the driver and when Sport mode (automatic-only) is engaged, a red ring lights up around the speedometer. In track mode, the display changes to make the higher rpm range more prominent. Even the automatic model has a shift lever that looks like a manual's shifter. Space utilization is good as long as you don't climb into the back seats. As standard, expect goodies like dual-zone automatic climate control, sport bucket seats, and an eight-inch touchscreen interface. The Premium trim gets synthetic leather material on the door panels, along with aluminum sport pedals.
As with the previous 86, the GR 86 offers seating for two adult passengers with tiny rear seats available for children. Front legroom is generous at 41.5 inches, but the second row only offers 29.9 inches. 37 inches of headroom in the front feels acceptable, though the rear seat feels cramped with only 33.5 inches. If you have a taller occupant in the front seats, there's essentially no room for a passenger behind them. Think of the GR 86 as a 2+2 (like a Porsche 911) with a folding rear seat that's perfect for a small pet or a set of track tires.
The GR 86's interior feels sturdy and there are just enough soft-touch materials in the areas you interact with most to imbue it with a quality feel. On the base model, the sport bucket seats with G-embossed fabric and their black side bolsters are complemented by Ultrasuede door uppers and door accents in sport fabric. A leather-trimmed steering wheel with silver contrast stitching and a leather-wrapped shift knob are standard. The Premium has a black/silver interior and also adds synthetic leather door accents, red or silver contrast stitching for the gear shift boot, and aluminum sport pedals and scuff plates. It gets perforated Alcantara seat upholstery with side bolsters in leather. In the back, the seats are finished in sport fabric for the base GR 86 and Alcantara for the Premium.
The GR 86's new trunk offers 6.26 cubic feet of space, a bit less than the previous car's trunk which measured 6.9 cubic feet. By folding down the rear seat - it folds forward in a single piece - you can maximize cargo volume and fit a set of track tires. The trunk opening is quite small, and a good portion is taken up by the available subwoofer, which can be removed for track use. Once again, this is a more practical sports car than the Mazda MX-5 Miata, but less than a hot hatchback.
Small-item storage is a reminder that the Toyota doesn't offer anything approaching the practicality of a sedan or a crossover, though. The tiny door pockets are more of a space for a bottle holder - it has good depth but no length whatsoever, so storage is limited. In the center console, there is a single, square storage space that is rather small, and below the central armrest are two cupholders. Automatic cars have an extra open storage area in the center console.
The GR 86 is reasonably equipped with all the essentials. As standard, the base model has manually-adjustable front seats - six-way for the driver and four-way for the front passenger - and both front occupants get sport knee cushions. The little Toyota also gets dual-zone automatic climate control, a digital speedometer, a multi-information display, push-button ignition, cruise control, and a tilt/telescoping steering column. The Premium model adds adaptive front lighting and heated front seats.
The safety features depend heavily on whether you spec the manual or the automatic. If it's the former, you get a rearview camera, hill start assist, and seven airbags. Automatic models add all the good stuff such as pre-collision braking and throttle management, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, and high beam assist. It's a pity that these safety systems aren't compatible with the preferred manual gearbox. Regardless of the transmission choice, the Premium also boasts blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, while the Premium automatic comes with parking sonar and reverse automatic braking.
We didn't have much time to play with the GR 86's new eight-inch touchscreen infotainment, as our time with the car was mostly relegated to the racetrack. The infotainment runs on a simplified version of Subaru's STARLINK infotainment system, which is easy to use and packs essential features like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, and connected services. The GR 86 base grade gets a six-speaker audio system, while the premium model adds two speakers for a total of eight; the audio system on the Premium grade boasts a "powerful" setting that amplifies low and high tones. A factory-installed 10-inch, 200-watt subwoofer is available on either model.
The 2022 Toyota GR 86 is still a new arrival so making an accurate assessment of its reliability isn't possible just yet, but if the previous car is anything to go by, the new 86 should be great in this area. The 2020 86 remains recall-free and Toyota's reputation should serve the new GR 86 well.
If the new GR 86 does give you any issues, Toyota provides a standard three-year/36,000-mile comprehensive warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. Corrosion coverage is provided for the first five years and, for the first two years/25,000 miles, factory scheduled maintenance and 24/7 roadside assistance are included.
A Toyota 86 crashworthiness review has yet to be conducted by the NHTSA and the IIHS for the latest model year. We'll know more once these tests have been conducted although we do expect this to be a safe coupe with a good crash rating.
Your choice of transmission will have a considerable effect on the safety features equipped to the new GR 86. On the plus side, every model comes with seven airbags including a driver's knee airbag and curtain airbags for both rows. The 86 also gets a rearview camera, hill start assist, tire pressure monitoring, vehicle stability control, traction control, and Smart Stop Technology. In the case of the Premium, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are included.
The automatic models benefit from several driver-assist features that are increasingly considered essential, regardless of the segment. These include pre-collision braking, adaptive cruise control, pre-collision throttle management, lane departure warning, sway warning, lead vehicle start alert, and high beam assist. The automatic-equipped Premium gets a parking sonar system and reverse automatic braking.
Despite its flaws, the outgoing Toyota 86 was one of our most recommended affordable sports car options for buyers who need something more practical than a Mazda Miata. With the new 2022 GR 86, Toyota has finally taken its entry-level sports car from something we'd recommend for buyers that don't want a Miata to a car that we'd readily consider with our own money. The new engine finally lives up to the rest of the car, providing more usable torque and emitting an exhaust note that's worthy of a sports car. Toyota's subtle upgrades to the exterior and interior make the GR 86 a more compelling overall package that we could easily drive every day, even with the manual transmission.
As before the Toyota GR 86 doesn't have many direct competitors aside from its platform sibling, the Subaru BRZ. The Miata is equally as fun to drive but offers less space and practicality; it's also more expensive at the high end. Other fun options at this price range include hot hatchbacks like the Hyundai Veloster N and Volkswagen GTI, but those are front-wheel-drive and offer vastly different driving experiences and greater practicality. If we were in the market for a sports car on a reasonable budget, the 2022 Toyota GR 86 would easily be near the top of our list.
Pricing for the Toyota GR 86 in the US starts at $27,700 for the base model, while the GR 86 Premium has an MSRP of $30,300. Prices exclude Toyota's $1,025 delivery, processing, and handling fee.
The new Toyota GR 86 is offered in a choice of two trims: base and Premium. Both use the same 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine paired with either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic, sending power to the rear wheels in each case. The engine develops 228 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque, allowing the manual derivative to hit 60 mph in 6.1 seconds. Automatic variants need 6.6 seconds.
On the entry-level model, standard features include 17-inch alloy wheels, GR exterior badging, a shark-fin antenna, LED headlamps and taillights, and LED daytime running lights. The cabin features attractive sport bucket seats in front with six-way adjustability for the driver. It also has dual-zone climate control, a digital speedometer, and an eight-inch touchscreen interface.
The Premium is distinguished by its larger 18-inch alloys and duckbill rear spoiler. It also has aluminum sport pedals, synthetic leather door accents, heated front seats, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and an eight-speaker sound system.
Automatic variants have a superior safety specification, adding technologies like adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking, and lane departure warning. The Premium automatic has a parking sonar system with reverse automatic braking.
Toyota doesn't offer a ton of options for either trim but perhaps this is further indication of the GR 86's less-is-more philosophy. Customers can add on a four-piece carpeted floor mat set and a 10-inch powered subwoofer with 200 watts of power. With a subscription to Remote Connect, features like advanced climate control and a vehicle locator can be accessed. Safety Connect also requires a subscription, adding SOS emergency assistance, enhanced roadside assistance, and more.
The Toyota Gazoo Racing accessories that can further enhance the performance of the GR 86 include a dual cat-back performance exhaust system with black chrome tips as well as a performance air intake kit, a larger airbox, a performance air filter, a bolt-on strut tie brace, and a performance stabilizer bar. Prices of these add-ons have not yet been made available.
There are only two grades available for the 2022 GR 86 and 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.
If you're trying to decide between these two sports cars, it's likely that keeping the price reasonable is important to you. If it wasn't important, the decision is easy - go for the 3.0-liter Supra that has 382 hp and starts at over $50,000. The more logical comparison is the GR 86 versus the base Supra. The latter begins at around $43,000 but produces a much stronger 255 hp and 295 lb-ft by virtue of forced induction. It's quicker to 60 mph than the GR 86 at five seconds, so if speed is your only concern, this is the one to get. But only the GR 86 comes with a manual gearbox and its lighter weight makes it even more of a joy when the road gets twisty. Plus, you can save well over $10,000 on a GR 86. If your budget allows, the GR Supra offers more in most cases, but if you don't want to spend that much and yearn to row your own gears, the GR 86 wins.
There's another Toyota GR 86 in the USA and it's called the Subaru BRZ. The only way to distinguish between these two is by the badges and the subtle styling differences. Those two aspects are largely subjective, but we do slightly prefer the face of the Toyota with its squarer grille section. Other than that, it's virtually impossible to separate these corporate cousins. Both have the same 2.4-liter four-pot engine paired to a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic. Subaru has confirmed that the BRZ starts at $27,995 so pricing is also similar. They are both offered in two trim levels and these trims are equipped to almost the same standard. You can't go wrong with either of these sporty, no-frills coupes.
The most popular competitors of 2022 Toyota GR86: