Aggregated reviews, user reviews, videos, photos and stats
- Superb to drive
- Good standard equipment
- A future classic?
- Lack of low-down punch
- Interior a bit cheap in places
- Not the most practical car
Whilst there are some flaws here and there – some might think it’s a bit too expensive for what it is, and quite a few usability issues did crop up in the reports – the GT86 seems to be a very well sorted car, and is certainly one of the top affordable driver-centric cars on the market right now.
Being a car that was set out to be the optimum driving tool, it shouldn’t be a huge shock to find out that the GT86’s cabin is very driver focused – all the dials and gauges are angled directly towards the driver and the layout of the centre console cocoons the driver into the low slung seats.
The build quality is also quite good, with comments regarding its alleged durability being common in the reviews. Practicality is also decent, with a reasonable sized 243 litre boot and plenty of head room up front for all but the tallest of people.
There are a few issues, though – whilst the interior is well built, the materials used seem to be a bit ‘low rent’ when compared with what you’d find in more premium rivals, and the general consensus is that the design is a bit ‘dated’. The rear seats are also nigh on useless, with the restrictive head and leg room meaning that only small children would have enough space back there.
We’ll also leave you to make your own minds up about the fake, textured carbon fibre trim on the dashboard...
Toyota’s focus during the GT86’s development was to make it the best drivers’ car it could possibly be, and all the reports say that the engineers who worked on the car have done a very good job indeed. Body control is excellent, all the controls are precise and accurate, there’s plenty of feedback through the steering wheel (a must for a car that’s aimed at such a specific group of people in the car buying sector)…long story short, it ticks all the right boxes.
At more mundane speeds it’s still an appealing prospect when you’re behind the wheel. The ride is firm, but not so stiffly sprung that it’s unbearable, the all-round visibility is decent, despite the low slung driving position. Low speed refinement is adequate, if not exactly exemplary.
The main issues with the GT86, though, come at higher speeds, where the road and wind noise insulation isn’t on par with quite a few of its rivals, and would potentially make long motorway journeys a bit tiresome. Other niggles include the engine’s lack of low-down torque, which makes overtaking manoeuvres a bit tricky to complete unless there’s a long run-up.
There’s only one engine – a Subaru-sourced 200hp 2.0 four-cylinder ‘Boxer’ unit with Toyota’s direct injection system. Thankfully it appears to be a pretty good one, especially when you let the motor stretch its legs a bit. Whilst low-down punch is a bit lacking, there’s plenty of poke beyond 4,000rpm or so.
When you’re absolutely thrashing it, it can also go at a fair lick of speed as well – the 0-60mph time of just over 7 seconds is nothing to write home about, but it certainly picks up the pace when you’re up and running, and Toyota claims a top speed of 149mph.
Fuel economy isn't bad, with claims of 36mpg on the combined cycle, but the £170 road tax bill (courtesy of the 160g/km of CO2 emissions in cars with manual transmissions) isn’t exactly something to write home about.
Two transmissions are available on the GT86 – a manual and an automatic, both of which have six forward ratios in their gearboxes. The auto is a decent enough unit, but most critics reckon that, given the car’s billing as a ‘purist’s car’, it’s best to stick with the manual that comes as standard.
Value for money
Toyota is only selling the GT86 in one trim, and said solitary spec level comes with quite a bit of kit as standard (such as a touchscreen display, Bluetooth and iPod connectivity, cruise control and stability control), so you could argue it does offer decent value for money. The GT86 also comes with a five year/100,000 mile warranty, so that does give you piece of mind if it does indeed go wrong during that time.
There are, though, a few areas where the GT86 comes across as a bit pricey – adding some optional extras, such as the infotainment system and even metallic paint, does boost the price up noticeably, and it goes without saying that a few sports cars and similarly priced hot hatchbacks do offer more practicality, better levels of refinement and superior efficiency over what the Toyota can muster.
Still, the GT86 is still a car you could live with (just) on a daily basis, and very few cars of this type that are on sale for this amount of money can beat the Toyota in terms of pure driver involvement.
If you’re a fan of the GT86 but don’t like the way it looks, then there’s always the Subaru BRZ – underneath, bar a few minor suspension changes, it’s identical to the Toyota (though we should be saying the BRZ is identical to the GT86, as Subaru did all the technical work on the cars) and is being sold for the same amount of money as well.
One of the criticisms of the car is the lack of power, and there may eventually be a solution that’ll rectify this in the near future. However, Toyota hasn’t confirmed any additional engine upgrades to the car, so there may be a while to go yet before we see a faster, in-house version of the GT86.
Toyota has confirmed a TRD (Toyota Racing Department) will go on sale in early 2013, thought it will likely be just cosmetic additions.
Very few cars in recent memory have been as highly anticipated as the new Toyota GT86 – with a long gestation period and endless teases at its proposed brilliance, everyone was expecting the new Japanese sports car to be a game changer. And, whilst not all the experts agree with that last bit, their verdict on it being a great, affordable performance machine is nigh on unanimous.
Whilst it might not be as practical, as plush or as user-friendly as some of its rivals, hardly any can match the GT86 as a driving tool. It doesn’t radically change the game, but there’s no denying that there’s plenty to like about the Toyota from a “purist’s point of view”.
It won’t be for everyone, but if you’re in the market for a sports coupe that’s great to drive, won’t cost the Earth to own and is practical enough to deal with more ‘mundane tasks’ when you’re not tackling your favourite driving roads in it, the prospect of having a Toyota GT86 on your driveway is, from our standing, something worth thinking about.
- Price range:
- £24,995 - £35,345
- 34 - 39
- Date released:
- Replacement due:
- Not for a few years
- Model history:
- There haven't been any significant updates so far
- Other variants:
- There's also the almost identical Subaru BRZ
Carbuyer review the GT86. Useful review that shows the interior space, equipment and what it's like to live with.
Autocar get their hands on the GT86 and share what it's like to drive. Safe to say, they love it!
Evo Magazine test the GT86 on a track to see what it's like at speed.
Official Toyota video looking at the GT86's engine. Including some of the tech and research that went into it
Toyota video looking into the design of both the interior and exterior of the GT86.