Just when I thought I couldn't love the Toyota 86 any more...Toyota goes and makes a great sports car even better. This week I'm bringing you the all-new 2022 Toyota GR86. After spending a week behind the wheel - and some brief track time with it at the recent TAWA Texas Auto Roundup - I can tell you this is one curve-hugging, fun to drive sports car.
The next-gen GR 86 model takes its evolved design cues from the Supra and matches those up with stellar driving dynamics. Shockingly, Toyota delivers all this for under $32,000.
GR stands for Toyota's Gazoo Racing team. The 2022 GR86 is a two-trim lineup. My test vehicle is the range-topping Premium model with the 6-speed manual transmission, although an automatic is also available.
Fun fact, the first 86 hit the road ten years ago in 2012 as a tribute to the AE Corollas of the 80s.
The next-gen GR86's design is about sizzling looks, aerodynamics and functionality. It looks sharp in my test model's Track bRED hue set against terrific-looking 18-inch, 10-spoke black aluminum alloy wheels with Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires.
You'll see Supra influence in the GR86's sweeping, internal L-shape LED headlights and its not-quite-as pronounced double bubble roof.
Functional air vents in the GR-badged G-mesh matrix-grille help feed air to the engine intake, and functional front bumper molding features a textured shark skin-inspired design to reduce drag. Front fender and large rocker side spoilers with integrated air outlets also help with aerodynamics. There are front-wheel arch air outlets as well.
The GR 86's side mirrors are slightly larger this generation and curved to maximize airflow.
In back you'll find a duckbill spoiler, three-dimensional rear taillights and dual chrome exhaust (dual cat-back GR performance exhaust is available through Toyota GR accessories.) Of course you also get GR badging.
Toyota says its Gazoo Racing team spent late nights working to enhance the new GR86's performance. A big update is a larger 2.4-liter Boxer engine that delivers nearly 18% more horsepower and 11% more torque. That puts those numbers at 228-horsepower (which perfectly matches this vehicles size and weight) and 184 pound-feet of torque. 0-to-60 times improve substantially with the larger engine: from 7.0 to 6.1 seconds for the manual and from 8.0 to 6.6 seconds for the automatic.
My test model's 6-speed short-throw gear shifter is one purists will no doubt love. The GR86 is a track-ready vehicle and MT drivers can engage Track mode or switch off Vehicle Stability Control (VSC). An active sound control system that amplifies the exhaust note in the cabin.
Also helping performance, the GR86 also sheds some weight thanks in part to the new use of aluminum for the front fenders and roof panel, in addition to the already-aluminum hood.
Designers get my two thumbs up for the GR86's upgraded and redesigned interior. The Premium grade's UltraSuede upholstery on the seats as well as the door panels gives a sporty feel to the driver-centric cabin. The black and silver accented front seats also have a premium look and feel to them.
The driver's seat is 6-way manually adjustable, the passenger's 4-way, with two-level heating. Leather side bolsters keep you snugly in place. The Premium model also comes with aluminum sport pedals and footrest.
Steering feel is great. The GR 86’s three-spoked, leather-wrapped steering wheel features a new Electronic Power Steering system. Above, you find a 7-inch digital driver display with an area for lap times. While not as modern looking as other displays out there, it fits this driver-focused vehicle well.
You can't miss the large GR branded push-button stop start to the right of the steering column- and next to it are new large LED dials for the climate controls. Below those you find new large piano keys for various functions.
The center console area sports a leather-wrapped manual gear shifter, hand-held parking brake and heated seat controls. The console bin opens up from the center revealing two cupholders, but you won't fit supersized drinks in them.
The GR86 has a new 8-inch touchscreen multimedia system and the Premium comes with an upgraded 8-speaker sound system. Voice recognition works great. Connectivity includes both wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto along with Bluetooth and SiriusXM capability.
The official seating capacity of this 2+2 two-door is four people. But functional for four people? Not quite. The rear seats really aren't suited for passengers. But you can fold-flat the rear seat for extra space. Trunk area space is on par for a two-door sports car. You could fit a couple of large bags of pet food back there or a handful of grocery bags.
Ride and Drive
The front engine rear-wheel drive GR86 excels as a fun-to-drive sports car with precise handling, as designed. Its low center of gravity, 53:47 front/rear weight balance and updated sport-tuned rear shock absorbers with stiffer springs plant it to the ground giving you a feeling of complete confidence and control. The track-ready GR86 is also equipped with a multi-link rear suspension and Torsen limited-slip differential.
Standard Equipment and Options
Standard Premium grade-only equipment includes Adaptive Front-Lighting, dual sun visors with lighted vanity mirrors, the aforementioned heated front seats, and one-piece folding rear seatback with Ultrasuede trim. My test model's only option is the special color ($425.) But there are plenty of Gazoo Racing accessories available should you want to add some customization.
If you want the most available driver assistance features, you'll want to go with the automatic over the manual GR86 variant. The automatic is equipped with a standard active safety suite that includes Pre-Collision Braking, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning and other features the manual model does not have.
However I am quite pleased to see that BOTH variants are equipped with Blind Spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Traffic Alert (which you can see listed above on the left side of the digital driver's display.)
What You'll Pay
Who knew you could have this much fun and superb handling in a two-door sports car for just under $32,000! Indeed Toyota proves you can in this outstanding, fun to drive sports car that remains a favorite of mine alongside the similarly priced Mazda Miata roadster soft-top which gives you a completely different vibe.
Also included for new buyers, a complimentary 1-year membership to the National Auto Sport Association (NASA).
The Toyota GR86 is an all-around terrific sports car offering outstanding handling that you typically associate with higher-priced sports cars. It's a hands-down winner in my book.
- What I liked most: Exterior looks, amazing handling, the interior's sporty interior and UltraSued bolstered seats.
- What I would change: For this under $32K price? Not a thing.
- MSRP: Base price: $30,300; as equipped: $31,750.
- Fuel Economy MPG: 20 city/27 highway/22 combined.
- Odometer reading when tested: 1,602 miles.
- Weight: 2,833 pounds:.
- Spare Tire: None. Tire Repair Kit.
- Length-Width-Height: 167.9" long/ 69.9" wide /51.6" high.
- Fuel Tank Capacity: 13.2 gallons with filler on the passenger's side.
- Official Color: Track bRED ($425.)
- Towing Capacity: N/A.
- 2022 Toyota GR 86 Premium in a few words: A fabulous redesign by Toyota that delivers great handling and looks that sizzle at an attainable price.
- Warranty: 36-month/36,000 mile basic new-vehicle warranty; 60-month warranties cover the powertrain for 60,000 miles and corrosion with no mileage limitation; ToyotaCare factory-scheduled maintenance for 2 years or 25,000 miles.
- Final Assembly Location: Ota, Gunma, Japan.
- Manufacturer's website: Toyota