If you’re anything like me, you’ll be shocked when you realise that the 86 has been with us for two years already. The new era of “Waku-Doki” is upon us, whereby Toyota’s making cars that are more fun to drive. I was reminded of the brand’s new sporting pretensions at the launch of the updated 86 models.
So what’s new?
The 86 has never been a slouch in the handling department however, the suspension of the updated model has received some attention in the form of re-tuned shock absorbers, new suspension mounts along with lower-friction oil, oil seals and guide bushings. After driving the car extensively I can report that there is a bit more compliance on the road and the handling remains top notch on both road and track.
There is also a shark-fin antenna as standard, which replaces the bee-sting unit. Infotainment is a must these days and all 2014 Toyota 86 models have been upgraded to a new display audio system with full Bluetooth functionality. SatNav is an optional extra. There are improved interior textures and finishes, which include a sportier instrument panel surround too.
How many variants?
There are three models available: The standard model looks much the same with its 15-inch alloys while the High and new Limited Edition models now come standard with Daytime Running Lights (DRLs) and the same 16-inch alloy wheels.
The range starts with the 86 Standard six-speed Manual at R329 700 with the High six-speed Manual coming in at R370 700 and its six-speed automatic silbling at R389 500. The 86 Limited Edition six-speed Manual will set you back R376 100.
The amount of fun that I had on both road and track makes the vehicles’ sticker price seem very reasonable indeed. If you’re all about beating that guy in his hot hatch at the traffic lights look elsewhere because the 86 is more about balance and fun than about outright speed.
The Limited model, of which there are only 86 available locally, certainly looks the part. On the exterior we see a new body kit all round with a massive rear wing that transforms the 86 into one of the sportiest looking cars on the road. The Limited model comes in either a special pearl white or 86 red. Inside the Limited model, the occupant is greeted with red accents on the steering wheel, gear lever, hand brake and door panels.
Chief Design Engineer on the 85 project, Tetsuya Tada, has remarked that in his opinion, unlike many contemporary sports cars that have diluted the essence of driving by bolting on big turbos, big tyres and four-wheel-drive, the 86 has kept it simple. I agree with Mr Tada’s statement; the 86 is pure, basic fun. The recipe is simple… front-mounted, naturally aspirated boxer petrol engine and rear-wheel-drive.
It has 147kW/205Nm courtesy of a 2.0-litre direct fuel injection four-cylinder engine. It isn’t a tower of power but at the same time the vehicle is so well balanced as a result of its compact powertrain. It has 0-100km/h figures of 7.6 seconds for the manual and 8.2 seconds for the auto, while consumption is claimed at 7.8 litres/100km for the manual and 7.1 litres/100km for the automatic.
Safety equipment and peace of mind
As standard, you get Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with EBD and Traction Control (TRC), which comprises a three-stage Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) system. All 86 models come with a four-year/60 000km Service Plan as well as a three-year/100 000km warranty.
The changes made to the 86 are minor but bring it up to date with a demanding market. If anything, the re-launch of the 86 served to remind us of how good Toyota’s sports car is at providing driving thrills, while the Limited Edition model shows us that Toyota has a mad streak that it’s now willing to flaunt.