This two-door sports car was first introduced into our market back in 2012, so it was about time the Japanese automaker gave it a refresh. Now that it has landed on our shores, I headed off to the Red Star Raceway near Delmas just outside of Johannesburg, to give it a go.
I will admit that when I first saw the 86, I couldn’t quite tell it apart from the previous model. Upon closer inspection though, the changes became more apparent. For starters, the front facia is all-new with a revised front bumper, new LED headlamps and daytime running LEDs.
When viewed from the side, I noticed the new 10-spoke 17-inch alloy wheels, as well as a more muscular wing fin in front of the front wheel. The 86 logo has also been updated and placed lower down.
At the rear, there is a new diffuser, mildly tweaked LED lights and a new wing-like spoiler as opposed to the previous integrated unit. Overall, the exterior changes are very subtle, yet Toyota claims each one was made to enhance aerodynamics.
As the times are moving ever so quickly, so too are customer needs when it comes to the interior of a sporty car. We want buttons on the steering wheel as well as a minimum of two display screens. We want leather, suede and carbon fibre. Thankfully, Toyota’s designers have heard the demands.
One can expect an LCD colour infotainment system, as well as a 4.1-inch TFT display located within the instrument cluster. Here you can view trip information, lap times and even G-Forces, all of which can be controlled via a newly designed multi-function steering wheel.
As for the luxury side of things, a new carbon fibre mesh pattern trim has been added to the door panels and the ventilation control panel on the centre console. A complimentary suede-like material with ‘86’ embossing is applied to the dashboard facia, which adds to the overall sporty look of the interior.
The engine remains unchanged and customers can expect a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic gearbox. The engine remains a rev-happy 2.0-litre fl at-four that produces 147kW/205Nm. Claimed 0-100 km/h is 7.6 seconds.
Don’t be upset though that the car doesn’t have more power, in fact, what it does have is the ability to fully utilise that grunt. In addition, both the suspension and electronics have been tweaked.
True to the concept that the 86 should deliver the purest driving enjoyment possible, Toyota has adjusted the Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) system to add a new Track mode in which the driver is given an even greater range of handling, braking and turning control. Track Mode adjusts the VSC and the car’s traction control system to a minimum level, removing a layer of electronic intervention so the driver can apply their own car control skills for a more engaging experience behind the wheel.
After a quick blast on the road and the track, I must say that I enjoyed the Toyota 86. It is engaging to drive and speaks to the petrolhead at which it is aimed. It’s a driver’s car that can be thrashed mercilessly around a track, and then driven to the shops afterwards. I do feel that the R449 000 price for the base model might put potential buyers off despite the array of standard features.
86 - R449 600
86 High - R494 400
86 High AT - R519 400