2022 Toyota GR86 Premium
Class: Sporty/Performance Car
Miles driven: 406
Fuel used: 17.2 gallons
Real-world fuel economy: 23.6 mpg
|CG Report Card
|Room and Comfort
|Power and Performance
|Fit and Finish
|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 & 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.
Driving mix: 60% city, 40% highway
EPA-estimated fuel economy: 20/27/22 (mpg city/highway/combined)
Fuel type: Premium gas recommended
Base price: $30,300 (not including $1025 destination charge)
Options on test vehicle: Special paint ($425), GR Shift Knob ($149), GR Air Filter ($75), Preferred Accessory Package #2 ($364), auto-dimming mirror ($230), rear-bumper appliqué ($69), door edge guards ($89), floor and cargo mats ($249)
Price as tested: $32,975
The great: Inherent sportiness makes for rewarding driving experience
The good: Roomy for its size, relatively easy on the gas
The not so good: Noisy cabin and stiff ride compromise long-trip comfort
Where do I send the thank you card? Seriously, time was when a dozen or so small, sporty, manual-transmission coupes and hatchbacks were available to the American motoring public. Those days are long gone. As, it seems, interest in cars like this. A shame.
The GR86 was redesigned for 2022, picking up a larger engine and a bit more power. Though the added oomph is welcome, I’m not convinced it makes the 86 a better car. What matters here is the visceral experience, which this delightfully raw little Toyota delivers in spades.
The new engine is a little coarse, the ride a little firm, and the steering meaty and direct enough to kick back a little in aggressive cornering, and I couldn’t be more pleased. This driver did find the clutch engagement a little difficult to finesse, but wonders if the test vehicle hadn’t been abused at some point.
Our test car is a topline Premium model, which for $2600 more than the base car brings 18-inch alloy wheels instead of 17s, upgraded front seats, premium audio, and, among other things, blind-spot detection. We’d spring for the Premium; there’s plenty of value in the upgrade.
Though I’m well past the age of folding myself into a car like the GR86 on a daily basis, I am delighted that it’s still around for more youthful—and flexible—enthusiasts to appreciate. So, where do I send that card?
You’re not going to get everything in a performance car that starts at around $30,000, but the Toyota GR86 can make you think you don’t need what you can’t get.
In line with its history (that goes back to its Scion ancestor, the FR-S), it rides hard and raises a racket on the road. But this is a low-slung rocket with precise steering and handling that leave you looking forward to the next corner more than you regret the last bump. Partner Subaru’s “boxer” engine, pumped up to 2.4 liters and 228 horsepower for ’22, is a strong point; pairing it with the 6-speed manual makes the GR86 a hoot to drive. (The clutch is firm but not heavy and the just-slightly notchy shifter goes where you want it to right away.) Plus, I couldn’t quibble with 23.6 mpg, which exceeded the EPA combined estimate even though my driving was almost 70 percent city.
The latest in driver-assistance features (think emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, etc.) are extra-cost items available only with the available automatic transmission, but there’s still blind-spot and rear cross-traffic detection in every GR86. So, too, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone connectivity. The audio system looks and acts like you think a radio should, and not like a mystical portal to a realm beyond all human understanding. Climate settings are made by convenient dials for temperature and fan speed.
Some may find the sport seats a little too narrow or hard-backed but the driving position is good. The low roof intrudes somewhat on the driver’s sightlines forward and to the sides but the view through the back is incredibly expansive for a car of this type. The rear seat is absolutely uninhabitable for adults—probably for most kids—but the flat-folding seat back makes it possible to carry more types of things than you might expect.
You can’t—as the song says—always get what you want, but with the GR86, folks who crave driving fun without breaking the bank can get what they need.
2022 Toyota GR86 Premium Gallery
(Click below for enlarged images)