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2017 Toyota 86

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$17,557 — $25,517 USED
Coupe
4 Seats
24 MPG
(Combined)
Key specs of the base trim
 — 
Compare 2 trims

Overview

Is this the car for you?

The Good

  • Overall balance
  • Steering precision
  • Lightweight agility
  • Manual transmission shifter
  • Driver-focused interior
  • Styling

The Bad

  • Modest power
  • Wheezy engine noise
  • Crude manual climate controls
  • Tight cabin, tiny backseat
  • Somewhat expensive
  • Requires premium gas
2017 Toyota 86 exterior side view

What to Know

about the 2017 Toyota 86
  • Formerly Scion FR-S
  • Revised front styling
  • Revised suspension tuning
  • Front engine, rear-wheel drive
  • Six-speed manual or automatic transmission
  • Related to Subaru BRZ

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2017 Toyota 86 Review

from the Cars.com expert editorial team

With the Scion brand eighty-sixed earlier this year, Toyota is unveiling the 86 at the 2016 New York International Auto Show. The erstwhile Scion FR-S isn't just getting a new badge and a name, but groovier, edgier exterior styling, too.

By Kelsey Mays
The verdict:


Rechristened from its days as the Scion FR-S, the Toyota 86 remains a master of lightweight handling, but its appeal is growing more niche by the year.

Versus the competition:


The fact that the 86 is slower than a minivan is a hard pill to swallow when its $27,000-plus starting price buys a lot of other decent — and quicker — sports cars. None are quite like the 86, but Toyota's onetime prodigy is showing some age.


 

When Toyota deep-sixed its Scion division in early 2016, the automaker’s namesake brand got a few refugees. Among them is the 86, a renamed FR-S with styling and interior tweaks, plus minor hardware revisions. Compare the two cars here.

In addition to the base 86 trim is an 860 Special Edition, a limited-run car in the vein of the Scion’s Release Series; stack them up here. All versions employ a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that sends power to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. We drove both.

The 86 moniker recalls the enthusiast-loved Toyota Corolla GT-S “AE86,” a rear-drive sports coupe from the 1980s. The Subaru BRZ, built under a joint agreement between Subaru and Toyota, is a near twin (compare it here), but otherwise there are no other featherweight, rear-drive, four-seat coupes at this price. Change some factors, though — like greater weight and/or front-wheel drive — and suddenly plenty of alternatives exist. How strictly you draw the criteria will doubtless influence the 86’s appeal.

The Power Factor

For having a tiny four-cylinder engine without forced induction, the 86 feels peppy enough. Though it displaces just 2.0 liters, the direct-injected engine delivers its 200 horsepower in reasonably linear fashion, with energetic accelerator response to boot; you don’t have to wait a beat for the engine to respond, nor will you have to rev it like mad to find extra oomph.

The six-spee...

When Toyota deep-sixed its Scion division in early 2016, the automaker’s namesake brand got a few refugees. Among them is the 86, a renamed FR-S with styling and interior tweaks, plus minor hardware revisions. Compare the two cars here.

In addition to the base 86 trim is an 860 Special Edition, a limited-run car in the vein of the Scion’s Release Series; stack them up here. All versions employ a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that sends power to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. We drove both.

The 86 moniker recalls the enthusiast-loved Toyota Corolla GT-S “AE86,” a rear-drive sports coupe from the 1980s. The Subaru BRZ, built under a joint agreement between Subaru and Toyota, is a near twin (compare it here), but otherwise there are no other featherweight, rear-drive, four-seat coupes at this price. Change some factors, though — like greater weight and/or front-wheel drive — and suddenly plenty of alternatives exist. How strictly you draw the criteria will doubtless influence the 86’s appeal.

The Power Factor

For having a tiny four-cylinder engine without forced induction, the 86 feels peppy enough. Though it displaces just 2.0 liters, the direct-injected engine delivers its 200 horsepower in reasonably linear fashion, with energetic accelerator response to boot; you don’t have to wait a beat for the engine to respond, nor will you have to rev it like mad to find extra oomph.

The six-speed automatic holds early gears suitably long before upshifting, and once you’re driving at higher speeds you can coax it to kick down into passing gears without too much delay. Call for serious power, though, and the drivetrain shows its ceiling fast. With only 151 pounds-feet of all-important torque, the 86 feels tapped out when tackling a mere on-ramp, let alone a racetrack or drag strip. We took our automatic-equipped test car to the latter and clocked it at a leisurely 8.5 seconds to 60 mph. Another tenth of a second and “86” could have referenced a not-so-noble attribute.

Thanks to revised engine tuning, the six-speed manual comes with an extra 5 hp and 5 pounds-feet of torque versus both the automatic and last year’s FR-S. It also gets a taller final-drive ratio (4.30 versus the manual FR-S’ 4.10). We drove the manual at a media event on Wisconsin’s venerable Road America racetrack, and it’s clearly a better setup for the 2.0-liter four.

The engine has a smooth, workable power band you can explore with the 86’s manual transmission, a short-throw gem with precise gates, close ratios and a light clutch. It’s entertaining enough to forgive the lack of power, but lead-foots will still be disappointed. Three years ago we clocked a manual FR-S at 7.7 seconds to 60 mph, a time eclipsed by five out of seven sport-compact competitors. Similar money could still buy any of them, or even base versions of Detroit muscle cars like the Ford Mustang or Chevrolet Camaro — a far quicker group. You get the idea.

Handling Chops

Other Considerations

Even with some upgrades versus the FR-S, the 86’s four-seat cabin remains spartan. Materials are padded where it counts, but many areas feel rudimentary. Both sides of the footwells are padded where you brace your knees, but the inboard ones have cheap vinyl construction. The manual climate controls are crude implements from the worst of Toyota’s parts bin. There’s no sunglasses holder or vanity-mirror lights. Steering-wheel audio controls, a backup camera and a 7-inch touchscreen stereo with HD radio and Bluetooth are standard, but the stereo lacks a tuning knob, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

As the small exterior suggests, the front seats aren’t for larger adults. The two-position backseat isn’t for any adults, a limitation I predict zero shoppers will care about. If you want more premium features, the 860 Special Edition adds heated leather seats, dual-zone automatic climate control and keyless access with push-button start, plus some cosmetic exterior changes and aerodynamics-enhancing underbody panels.

Safety-conscious shoppers should note the 86’s crash-test ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The car earned scores of good (out of good, acceptable, marginal or poor) in all but the small overlap front test, where it scored acceptable. IIHS has not subjected the 86 to its new headlight evaluation, and the car lacks forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking — a feature often absent from affordable sports cars, but an important crash-prevention technology nonetheless.

Overall Appeal

The 86 starts around $27,000, while the 860 Special Edition runs another $2,900. An automatic transmission adds $720 to either car. As was the case with the FR-S, both offer minimal factory options but myriad accessories — from a navigation system to larger wheels, performance exhaust and more.

Handling enthusiasts will find the pricing palatable, as no direct competitor really exists outside the related BRZ. (The Mazda MX-5 Miata is probably the closest, but even that’s a convertible with two fewer seats.) I suspect many shoppers will find Toyota’s asking price too rich for their blood, especially with the extra sting of required premium gas.

The automaker’s upgrades for 2017 are more than a name change, and the dynamics that won the original FR-S Cars.com’s top accolade are as impressive today as they were four years ago. But other sports cars have improved. If handling trumps all else, the 86 is a strong choice. If it isn’t, Toyota’s player is a one-trick pony among sports cars at large.

Consumer Reviews

What drivers are saying

4.4
30 reviews — Read All reviews
Exterior Styling
(4.8)
Performance
(4.3)
Interior Design
(4.0)
Comfort
(4.4)
Reliability
(4.6)
Value For The Money
(4.3)

Read reviews that mention:

(3.0)

Bad clutch

by Flavio from Charlotte NC on October 7, 2019

This car has a terrible problem with the clutch throw out bearing. Toyota service was not helpful and they knew it was a problem but after the 2nd visit they denied me a 3rd visit (They did not want ... Read full review

(5.0)

Very Reliable Car

by Connor E. from Cambridge, OH on September 9, 2019

Sarah W. from Jim Shorkey had made the purchase go very smoothly. The drive back home was better than expected. The car fits perfectly in regards to the handling, acceleration, braking, conveniency, ... Read full review

Safety

Recalls and crash tests

Recalls

The 2017 Toyota 86 currently has 2 recalls


Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Warranty

New car and certified pre-owned programs by Toyota

New Car Program Benefits

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    36 months / 36,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    60 months / 60,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    24 months / 25,000 miles

Certified Pre-Owned Program Benefits

Latest 2017 86 Stories

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All Model Years for the Toyota 86

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The 86 received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker

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