Dec
07
2020 Toyota 86 GT

2020 Toyota 86 GT in “Hako” pearl white (a $425 option)

2015 Audi Q52020 Toyota 86 GT

Class: Sporty/Performance Car

Miles driven: 227

Fuel used: 9.6 gallons

CG Report Card
Room and ComfortC-
Power and PerformanceB+
Fit and FinishC+
Fuel EconomyB
ValueB-
Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.
Big & Tall Comfort
Big GuyC
Tall GuyC
Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.
Drivetrain
Engine Specs205-hp 2.0L
Engine Type4-cylinder
Transmission 6-speed manual
Drive WheelsRear-wheel drive

Real-world fuel economy: 23.6 mpg

Driving mix: 40% city, 60% highway

EPA-estimated fuel economy: 21/28/24 (city/highway/combined)

Fuel type: Premium recommended

Base price: $30,115 (not including $955 destination charge)

Options on test car: “Halo” pearl white paint ($425), TRD Handling Package ($1270), TRD exhaust system ($1100), all-weather floormats ($169), center armrest ($199), TRD sway bar ($550)

Price as tested: $34,783

 

Quick Hits

The great: Crisp, “flingable” handling from lightweight, rear-wheel-drive chassis; sprightly acceleration when driven aggressively

The good: Fuel economy

The not so good: Limited cabin space and cargo room, low-set seats are hard to get in and out of for some occupants, TRD performance add-ons compromise daily-driver comfort

More 86 price and availability information

 

Damon Bell

Well, as it turns out, the 2020 86 is the end of the road for the first generation of Toyota’s entry-level 2+2 sports car. The 86 was launched in the U.S. for the 2013 model year as the Scion FR-S, alongside the similar Subaru BRZ (the cars are the product of a partnership between Toyota and Subaru). When the Scion brand was shuttered after the 2016 model year, the FR-S underwent a styling facelift and a brand/name change to become the Toyota 86. Both the 86 and the BRZ are skipping the 2021 model year, but both are coming back in redesigned form as 2022 models.

2020 Toyota 86 GT

The 2020 model year is the last for the first-generation Toyota 86. Both the 86 and its fraternal twin, the Subaru BRZ, are skipping the 2021 model year–redesigned second-gen versions of both cars are slated to launch as 2022 models.

Though we’ve tested BRZs and 86es before, the last 86 to pass through our fleet was the most decked out (and priciest) one we’ve had yet—a topline GT model that was decked out with extra performance options. As the top model in the 86 lineup, the GT gains features such as heated front seats with synthetic suede upholstery inserts, keyless entry and push-button starting, dual-zone climate control, a 4.2-inch multi-information display screen in the gauge cluster, and 18-inch wheels in place of the base model’s 17s.

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2020 Toyota 86 GT

The 86’s cabin has its share of hard plastic trim, but the GT’s synthetic-suede upholstery inserts and red accents help liven up the ambiance. Push-button starting and heated front seats are welcome standard features.

For 2020, the performance hardware of the 2019 TRD Special Edition model is now available in the TRD Performance Package ($1270). The package consists of SACHS-brand dampers, upgraded Brembo-brand ventilated disc brakes (measuring 12.83 inches in the front and 12.44 inches in the rear) with red calipers, and a red TRD emblem on the decklid. Our test vehicle was further outfitted with a throaty TRD exhaust system ($1100) and TRD sway bar ($550).

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2020 Toyota 86 GT

There’s just 6.9 cubic feet of cargo space in the 86’s trunk. The load floor is quite shallow, but the rear seat backs fold to free up a bit more room.

Considering the 86’s compact, low-slung sports-car dimensions, there’s OK space even for tall folks, but the low-slung stance means entry and exit is drop in/climb out. The 86 is technically a 2+2 coupe, but any back-seat passengers will have to be small children, or petite people behind front-occupants who are ideally shorter than 5’7” or so. When the front seats are adjusted all the way back, there is no legroom in the rear seats. The trunk is especially small and shallow as well; there’s a mere 6.9 cubic feet of cargo space back there.

The GT’s interior is definitely a step above other 86es we’ve tested; the contrasting red upholstery panels and contrast stitching add pizzazz, as do the usefully grippy faux-suede upholstery inserts. The standard heated front seats are a nice touch as well. The bolstering on the seat backs and bottoms is pronounced enough to provide good support in fast cornering, but not so aggressive as to be uncomfortable or confining in everyday driving.

We appreciate the attractive, straightforward layout of the 86’s dashboard, especially its large, centrally located tachometer. A new 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system (with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity) is standard for 2020. It’s an improvement in most ways over the previous system, but we’re not crazy about the push-button volume controls—we’d prefer a traditional volume knob. We also weren’t crazy about the backup camera display—it’s a small screen in the rearview mirror itself instead of the larger infotainment screen.

The steering wheel is smallish and nicely shaped for spirited driving, with ergonomic bulges for your hands at the 10 and 2 positions on the rim. The steering itself has a precise, direct feel, which contributes to the lithe, “flingable” nature of the car. The bolt-upright gearshift lever has a Subaru-esque feel that will be familiar to anyone who has driven a late-model WRX; others might need a bit to get used to it.

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2020 Toyota 86 GT

A decklid-mounted spoiler and 18-inch alloy wheels on Michelin Pilot Sport summer tires are standard equipment. The TRD Handling Package includes upgraded Brembo-brand brakes with red-painted calipers.

The TRD exhaust system doesn’t mess around—it delivers a loud, hoarse growl of an exhaust note that will likely delight young enthusiast buyers, but annoy their next-door neighbors. The noise doesn’t recede at steady speeds either… when you’re cruising on the highway at around 3000 rpm, the drone is ever-present. That, along with the significant road noise from the Michelin Pilot Sport summer tires, might necessitate turning up the volume on the audio system when you’re on a road trip.

Along the same lines, the ride is firm at all times… and it can turn outright stiff and jittery over bumps and rough pavement. It’s daily-driver tolerable for the dedicated performance-focused buyers who might have a weekend autocross or track day on their ownership agenda for this car, but a bit too much for other shoppers. Bottom line—the TRD Handling Package and TRD exhaust system are for serious enthusiasts who value that nth degree of extra performance and agility and are willing to sacrifice some comfort (and an extra $2370) to get it.

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2020 Toyota 86 GT

Stylized “86” badges reside on the front fenders; the TRD Handling Package includes a red TRD badge on the decklid.

The 2022 Subaru BRZ has already broken cover, and the pertinent core details are as follows: a 228-hp naturally aspirated 2.4-liter flat four in place of the current 2.0, continued availability of a 6-speed manual transmission (yay!) and overall dimensions/proportions that change only slightly from the first-generation cars. It’s a safe bet that the second-gen 86 (which will likely be named “GR 86,” taking after its larger sibling, the GR Supra) will stick to this formula as well. The ’22 BRZ is scheduled to arrive in fall of 2021, and we expect the new 86 will follow a similar timeline. This means that now might be a good time to score a deal on the outgoing versions of these cars, which remain respectable sports coupes that won’t totally break the bank.

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2020 Toyota 86 GT

The Toyota 86 debuted for the 2013 model year as the Scion FR-S, and has seen only cosmetic and other minor changes since then. A redesigned 86 is on the way, but the original still appeals as a relatively affordable, accessible way to experience true rear-wheel-drive sports-car driving dynamics.

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2020 Toyota 86 GT