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Toyota GT86 Review

Toyota GT86 Review

Apr 17, 2013

The Toyota GT86, formerly known as the FT86 and created to help the brand bring back its former luster, is a machine built with the driver first in mind.

On paper, the GT86 is great as it offers a balance of looks, handling and reliability. Currently available in either manual or automatic, the sports coupe comes with a front-mounted, rear drive Boxer engine created in close collaboration with Subaru. The 2.0 engine, which will also be featured on the Subaru BRZ and Scion FR-S, sports a flat flour configuration and is rated at 197bhp, 151lb-ft. It features a Subaru FB20 block and a Toyota-designed head. Maximum power is at 7000rpm and peak torque is at 6600rpm.

Overall, the styling of the GT86 will not steal any spotlights from the Ferraris and the Porsches. At the front, it features elegant wing bulges and a low-scooping open grill, while at the back it has two handsome chrome tailpipes and nicely cut lights. However, where the GT86 really shines is the driving experience.

The light and perfectly balanced chassis is a joy to drive; the rear drive setup is superbly fun in corners. Steering provides great feedback, with the brakes progressive rather than biting. The ride is relatively forgiving and cruises well even in high speeds. Unfortunately, to maximize the 197bhp of the 2.0-liter engine, one must be prepared to push for performance with eager gear changes and a rather enthusiastic driving attitude.

Though a strict 2-seater ride, with the rear seats rather cramped and reserved almost exclusively for kids, the front seats offer plenty of support and are rather accommodating even for long drives. The trunk space is rated at 243 liters and can offer ample space for shopping and other cargo.

The Toyota GT86 is expected to retail at around $33,000.