Whereas it’d look pretty completely different from its forebear, the 2022 Toyota GR86 retains a cheerful face. I like the best way the brand new coupe seems to be, particularly slathered in Toyota’s Observe bRed paint (look, I did not give you the identify), a $425 choice. It performs effectively towards the darkish components within the entrance bumper, window trim and 18-inch alloy wheels. My tester’s Premium trim additionally features a quite distinguished wing, giving the rear some further aggression.
The outside was by no means anybody’s major supply of criticism with the unique 86, however the inside was, and Toyota made good strides in beefing up its high quality. The 2022 GR86 has a way more engaging cabin, with a layered dashboard that eliminates the unique’s over-reliance on flat, ineffective surfaces.
Materials selections are higher, particularly in Premium trim, the place microfiber suede combines with leather-based within the seats, steering wheel and shifter for a extra grownup cockpit. That is an reasonably priced sports activities automobile, although, so onerous plastics are nonetheless far and wide. Aside from the odd occasional creak throughout driving, I am an enormous fan of what Toyota’s achieved contained in the GR86.
The Toyota GR86 can also be slightly simpler to dwell with than its major competitor, the Mazda MX-5 Miata. The door panels have storage pockets, albeit small ones. However they pair effectively with a surprisingly capacious cubby beneath the middle armrest’s clamshell door, which has cup holders huge sufficient for medium-size Nalgenes. The trunk is strong, too, providing 6.Three cubic toes of house: That will not appear to be a lot, nevertheless it’s much better than the Miata’s 4.6-cubic-foot boot.
However you are not contemplating the Toyota GR86 as a result of it is sensible. You are right here for enjoyable, and also you’re in luck, as a result of the GR86 provides it in spades. Beneath the hood is a 2.4-liter naturally aspirated flat-Four engine, and it eliminates the previous mannequin’s want for extra energy. 228 horsepower and 184 pound-feet might not seem like a lot on paper, nevertheless it seems like an enormous bump when driving, due to the torque arriving at a way more applicable 3,700 rpm as an alternative of the earlier era’s 6,400 rpm. Pulling and passing are attainable in practically any gear at any velocity, lowering the necessity for pointless shifting, however I nonetheless discover myself letting the revs climb, for the reason that GR86’s engine word retains getting louder and higher because the tach needle rises.
A six-speed automated transmission is on the market, however my tester sports activities a six-speed guide. It is a good setup, nevertheless it’s not good. The clutch is properly weighted, however the chunk level is slightly too excessive for my style, stopping some shifts from feeling as easy as they may in any other case. Throttle modulation is simple when the automobile is in gear, however the by-wire system appears to react inconsistently when beginning off and when blipping for downshifts, resulting in some awkward lurches. There’s additionally a good bit of rev dangle, requiring some quick pauses throughout upshifts for the smoothest engagement. The stick itself is exact, however the throws are slightly lengthy, and first gear often requires some finesse to enter the gate fully.
The inside is a lot nicer than earlier than.
As you would possibly anticipate from a compact sports activities automobile that hugs the bottom, the journey high quality is not precisely pillowy. The GR86 rides extra stiffly than the common Miata, however some physique roll exists to speak limits earlier than issues get actually foolish. However via the corners of Michigan’s winding forest roads, the GR86 feels nice, making me need to take each flip slightly sooner than earlier than. 215/40R18 Michelin Pilot Four summer season tires present greater than sufficient grip, and leaning on the fuel too early will get the rear finish squirming a bit. A little bit theater retains issues full of life. The one actual bummer right here is street noise, which creeps into the cabin from seemingly each angle.
The Environmental Safety Company charges the guide GR86 at 20 mpg metropolis and 27 mpg freeway, numbers that I really feel are literally on the low facet. My metropolis mileage is nearer to 22 or 23, and I’m commonly seeing freeway stretches in extra of 30 mpg, so a lightweight foot can go a good distance.
Tech was one other main shortcoming within the first-generation 86, however Toyota has you lined there, too. Changing the previous infotainment system is an 8-inch touchscreen operating a bare-bones model of Subaru’s Starlink software program — a reminder that this automobile and the BRZ coupe are kissin’ cousins. It is not precisely fairly, or heavy on options, nevertheless it provides Apple CarPlay and Android Auto via its 2.1-amp USB-A ports, and responsiveness is excessive sufficient for each day use with out frustration. A brand new 7-inch digital gauge cluster does not have the flashiest graphics on the block, however all of the pertinent data on show is simple to learn at a look, and who does not love an enormous ol’ tachometer entrance and middle?
Who does not love a enjoyable, reasonably priced sports activities automobile?
The GR86 is a combined bag on the protection entrance. Premium-trim guide fashions are restricted to blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, and base fashions get neither. If you wish to step as much as the bundle that features automated emergency braking, adaptive cruise management and lane-departure warning, it’s worthwhile to go for the automated transmission. That is an enormous bummer, as different automakers have included these methods into stick-shift automobiles with little concern.
Despite the fact that the 2022 Toyota GR86 picks up numerous main upgrades, its value stays reasonably priced. A base GR86 will set you again $28,725 together with $1,025 in vacation spot prices, whereas the Premium trim brings that as much as $31,325 by including fancier inside surfaces and higher tech. My tester rings in at an affordable $32,432, due to the flowery crimson paint, some numerous equipment and carpeted ground mats. That places it proper in rivalry with the Mazda MX-5 Miata, a convertible with related pricing and a barely softer strategy to the sports-car life-style.
Toyota answered the desires of many fanatics with the 2022 GR86. It rides slightly extra like a sports activities automobile, the inside now not feels extraordinarily low cost and the powertrain picked up a bunch of get-up-and-go. It is a huge enchancment that is each bit as enjoyable.