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:
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.
NHTSA safety ratings are not available at this time.
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.
|Toyota GR86||228 hp||20/27 mpg||$28,400|
|Toyota GR Supra||255 hp||25/32 mpg||$44,640|
|Subaru BRZ||228 hp||20/27 mpg||$28,595|
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:
Check out some informative Toyota GR86 video reviews below.