Car Reviews Motoring

Toyota GR86 Review

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Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

If you’ve never heard of the GR86 before, it’s a relatively new sports car from Toyota to replace the GT86, which was discontinued.

If you’re still none the wiser, it’s a two-door sports car, technically a coupe.

Toyota’s ‘regular’ customers might not associate the Japanese brand with sportiness, but it had an F1 team until a little over a decade ago and won the Le Mans 24 Hours five years on the bounce between 2018 and 2022.

In fact, the GR stands for Gazoo Racing, which is Toyota’s motorsport division.

The GR86 is no-nonsense, offering a playground of features that make it a standout performer – and it’s not badly priced either.

The vehicle is sleek and has been given a generous helping of Toyota’s magic potion, which includes dual-zone climate control, 17-inch alloys, LED headlights and a dual exhaust system that sings a symphony of power as the revs rise.

Under the bonnet, the GR86 houses a 2.4-litre four-cylinder Boxer engine that pumps out a respectable 234PS. This powerplant joins a six-speed manual transmission, offering a raw and engaging driving experience.

The Toyota looks great, with paint colours including Pearly White, Ice Silver, Magnetite Grey, Crystal Black, as well as Sapphire Blue and Ignition Red.

Its aerodynamic design gives it a sporty appearance, while the bold front grille and distinctive LED daytime running lights add a touch of aggression.

When it comes to driving, the GR86 goes very well indeed. Zero to 62mph is dealt with in 6.3 seconds (6.9 if you opt for the automatic gearbox instead), and, especially in the mid-range of the gears, it pulls very strongly.

The handling is razor-sharp, the ride comfort is firm but fair, and the engine performance is more than adequate for most driving situations.

Audi and BMW offer cars that can beat it, but the GR86 does an excellent job of holding its own, and it’s tough to ask more of it than that.

It also comes with a track mode, which optimises the engine, transmission, and other systems to improve performance on the racetrack.

The cabin is a bit of a letdown, with an almost all-black interior that looks too monotone for my liking. But the fabric and leather interior at least give it a premium feel. And, other than the colour scheme, everything feels well-built.

The infotainment system is an eight-inch touchscreen with a simple layout that’s easy to use and comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto,

As you’d imagine, practicality is not the GR86’s strong suit. It offers seating for four, but the rear seats are best suited for children or short trips. That said, there’s a decent amount of room in the front seats if you’re on the tall side.

The boot space is modest, offering 226 litres with the rear seats up, but they do fold down.

32.1mpg isn’t bad for a motor like this, although 200g/km of CO2 will ensure the chancellor picks up his fair share of road tax. But there’s not much to complain about.

Euro NCAP has not been given a GR86 to crash yet, so there’s no available safety rating for it. But seven of Toyota’s last eight cars have scored the maximum five stars, so there should be no worries here.

The GR86 comes with Toyota’s Safety Sense as standard, which includes a pre-collision system, lane departure warning, and automatic high beams.

Overall, the Toyota GR86 offers great driving thrills on a budget, tackling twisty B-roads efficiently and making light of motorway cruises.

Naturally, it’s short on practicality, and you’ll have to drive with feather feet to get close to 40mpg out of it.

However, at a time when we all need to cut our cloth accordingly, if you’re after a decent sports car which won’t break the bank, the GR86 delivers on all fronts.

Fast Facts – Toyota GR86 [Standard version, manual gearbox] as tested:

  • Max speed:            140 mph
  • 0-62 mph:               6.3 secs
  • Fuel economy:       32.1mpg
  • Engine layout:       2.4-litre four-cylinder Boxer
  • Max. power (PS):   234
  • CO2:                       200 g/km
  • Price:                     £32,495

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