When Toyota invited us to take an extended test drive of the new-look 86 we jumped at the chance! Being a huge fan of the original car and its re-birthed version in 2012 this was a perfect opportunity to see how the car had been improved.
Having driven the previous 86 before we knew what to expect from the car but had things changed? The new-look 86 definitely looks more aggressive. We had 5 days to test and run the car through its paces from taking it to get groceries to spirited driving runs through the hills.
From the outside you can see they have given the front a new treatment; with all round LED lights in the fog lamps, headlights, taillights and an all new indicator position that sits just above the updated front bar.
What you may not notice at first are the small details that have been updated. From the new aluminium spoiler with its flat grey two tone finish to the little logos etched into the side of the headlights. Even the small side vents have been changed in favor of a more sleek look.
The improvements in style and handling are the most evident changes although some interesting features have been added like hill start assist and a built in lap timer.
When you look even closer you will notice the fine detail that has gone into the all new LED taillights that really help the car to stand out. You can see it has taken influences from after market taillights like the very popular Buddy Club LED taillight.
One of the more modern features they have added to the all new look 86 is its new multi information display that is integrated into the existing gauge setup. It’s great to see Toyota putting some effort into bringing more information to the driver. The multi function display lets you see oil and water temp and even battery voltage.
To make things more exciting Toyota has introduced a new button into the cabin. This ‘Track Mode’ button turns half of the stability control system off so you can really enjoy the car in its rawest form as it was intended.
Although everyone is begging for a factory turbo version of the 86 Toyota has instead brought out an even more refined version of the hugely successful 86. It’s widely rumored that Toyota is saving the turbo for a Supra rebirth.
The GTS manual gets a new cast aluminium manifold, polished valve stems, and cam journal plus a slightly revamped air intake which has added a whole lot more low down torque off the line! Enough to throw your shopping around the boot especially if you launch it at the lights.
Unfortunately the automatic version does not get the altered engine and retains the same engine as the previous version of the 86.
Honey I shrunk the kids… I mean steering wheel! Toyota has decided to decrease the size of the steering wheel to an impressive 362mm which make this the smallest production steering wheel in all of Toyota’s vehicles. The only thing that I didn’t like was the entertainment system. Although it was quick to recognize Bluetooth and continue podcasts; it’s cumbersome controls and GPS were old fashioned.
Everything has had a revamp including the wheels! These new-look 17-inch metallic alloys with fancy machine-cut highlights give the car a much needed aggressive look.
The newly added extra welding to the back end of the car helps stiffen the car up and improve response along with the quick steering rack. The car feels super tight and sharp during cornering especially if the car gets a bit tail happy. The quick rack, smaller steering wheel, and stiffer front suspension all combine to give the driver more control when things do go wrong.
Having driven the previous model I’ve noticed that the sound of the all-new 86 is a lot more aggressive and it revs more freely than the previous models! The quick revving nature of engine makes the gear ratios feel shorter which intern makes you feel as though you are going much faster.
So what else have they added? Steering wheel controls have been added on GTS models for that added bit of luxury. Plus a fancy new Grand Luxe’ trim on the instrument panel and door trims that looks and feels like fancy flocking out of a rally car.
After driving this car for a week I really started enjoying the car even more each day. Comfy for the daily commute, yet fun like a gokart, though the suburban sprawl or a thump in the hills.
I really like the newly tuned suspension. It’s soft, yet firm and responsive. It feels almost like coilovers on their soft setting. The new suspension set up really makes the car a joy to drive especially over speed humps.
Overall they have pulled together the best elements of the 86. Toyota further improved the car by making it look more bold but kept an elegant take on balance and performance.
All in all this is one of the best 86s ever produced and the 2017 new-look 86 is a true pleasure to drive. Not only does it put a smile on your face every time you drive it but it makes you realize exactly why the Toyota 86 is such a popular car in Australia. Thanks to Toyota Australia for giving us the opportunity to test and review one of their very special cars.
Thanks for reading,