Toyota’s GR86 is a sell-out success already, this back-to-basics coupe aimed at enthusiasts who love driving with the minimum of electronic interference
The Auto Trader expert verdict:
Looking for a final petrol-fuelled fling before going electric? Perhaps surprisingly for such a hybrid-heavy brand Toyota is here to the rescue, the GR86 building on the driver-focused foundations of the previous GT86 and sharing the same back-to-basics appeal but with much improved performance. If not as fast as a hot hatch the GR86 instead delivers the feedback and rear-wheel drive balance keen drivers crave in a package more focused and serious than the Mazda MX-5 you might also consider for this money. With the limited UK allocation of cars already sold out there’s clearly a small but passionate following for cars like this, those lucky enough to secure one getting a great return on their investment, both financially and in terms of sheer fun.
Reasons to buy:
- Back to basics fun
- Good looking
- A sound investment
Running costs for a Toyota GR86 Coupe
“Running costs will be higher than a hot-hatch or even more premium alternatives like an Audi TT or BMW 2 Series Coupe thanks to the relatively thirsty petrol engine and its high emissions”
Expert rating: 3/5
Reliability of a Toyota GR86 Coupe
“Toyota retains a reputation for building dependable products and the GR86 is, essentially, a very simple car by modern standards”
While its ratings on reliability studies have slipped a little of late Toyota retains a reputation for building dependable products and the GR86 is, essentially, a very simple car by modern standards so we wouldn’t have too many concerns here. The three-year/60,000-mile warranty is nothing special, but if you stick to having your GR86 serviced at franchised dealerships you qualify for the rolling Toyota Relax extended warranty, which can in theory last as much as 10 years or 100,000 miles, whichever comes first.
Expert rating: 4/5
Safety for a Toyota GR86 Coupe
“You only get stuff like emergency braking, lane-keeping and active cruise control if you go for the automatic gearbox”
For a modern car the GR86 comes with a minimal package of driver aids and assistance systems, the defence being it’s designed for engaged drivers who prefer to take responsibility themselves. True, there are seven airbags should the worst happen and useful tech like blind spot alerts and rear cross traffic warnings for when you’re reversing out of a parking space or driveway. But you only get stuff like emergency braking, lane-keeping and active cruise control if you go for the automatic gearbox, which makes sense on the basis it’s the relatively mature choice and keen drivers who hate that kind of electronic mithering will be going for the manual anyway.
Expert rating: 2/5
How comfortable is the Toyota GR86 Coupe
“The suspension is firm around town and quite harsh over the bumps, though it settles down as speeds increase and your payback comes when the going gets twisty”
Like the GT86 from which it has evolved, the GR86 is a pretty raw machine and prioritises sharp handling and uncorrupted connection between car and driver. The engine is pretty noisy – Toyota even amplifies it via a speaker inside the cabin – and the suspension is firm around town and quite harsh over the bumps, though it settles down as speeds increase and your payback comes when the going gets twisty. There’s also quite a lot of tyre noise on rough surfaces, though for such a focused car it’s actually not too bad on the motorway. There are some token rear seats, which is more than most rivals offer and they include Isofix mounts so, at a pinch, you could carry the kids around as well. Driver and front seat passenger are much better catered for, with a low-slung and sporty driving position that puts the wheel, pedals and gearstick all within easy reach for when you’re pushing hard. The boot isn’t a bad size and with the seats down you can load bulky items like golf bags or even a bike with the wheels removed. Indeed, for a sporting coupe it’s actually pretty practical and there’s room enough to enjoy an extended roadtrip away without having to pack light.
Expert rating: 3/5
Features of the Toyota GR86 Coupe
“Toyota pitches the GR86 at people who value the driving experience above all else, so if you want fancy onboard tech and flashy digital displays you’re best sticking with that Audi TT”
Expert rating: 4/5
Power for a Toyota GR86 Coupe
“It’s super fun to drive as well, with fast and responsive steering and an eager sense of agility through the corners”
Expert rating: 5/5