Well, the 86 has been around for a while now and we’ve finally had the chance to lay our hands on the manual version and, wow; from first impressions, I can tell you that I really like it. There won’t be too much tech data in this article, as I’m sure by now you know about as much as we do about this car.
It’s not earth-shatteringly fast, but I could be the biggest critic about the 86, yet people expect supercar performance from a car that costs only R340k. I seem to think that for your 340k, you get a lot of sports car and that, my friend, is the important thing. So often you drive a car and you’re totally underwhelmed by its performance because you were really expecting earth-shattering performance. I, on the other hand, expected less and was pretty surprised by a responsive, peaky and revvy boxer 4 cylinder engine. The 140+kilo watt engine seems to be a little timid and dull under 4k rpm and that’s when things start to feel more at home. Making the engine scream reminds me of my previously owned naturally aspirated scoobies, yet this feels different; It actually feels good keeping the engine on the boil.
Stepping inside and sitting down in the uber low supportive type suede covered heated seats makes you realized that Toyota actually went the whole 9 yards with this car. It feels like a more expensive, much faster car and that is what it is supposed to be; an affordable sports car that won’t cost you an arm or a leg to run. The fighter plane styled cockpit, with dip switches on the climate control, feels like you should be arming the missile launchers when you are in fact simply turning the AC on or off. It’s the subtle things that just seem at home and in the right place with this car.
Hit the start button, located at your left knee, fires up the boxer with a raspy little tone and sounds a little under rated, but as soon as you pull off, the engine note becomes a little meaner and carries on all the way to the 7500 or so cut out. To remind you to shift, a convenient shift light will illuminate your face at night, just to, in fact, let you know that it’s time to really get up and going.
A red stitch theme is carried throughout the car and, combined with the red dial lighting and alu pedals, this complements the car which I think it’s a spot-on job done. I’ve said it before that this is not a car that you buy if you want to take the family on a holiday down the Garden Route. This is something you buy if you and the missus want to head out to Franschhoek Pass to enjoy the twistiness and this is exactly where the car comes into its own. The suspension, which seemed a little hard at first is easy to get used to once on the move. The turning-in into the corners feels sharp and feedback through the steering is good. The rear does seem to feel a little light on the faster sweepers but all is kept in check with Toyota’s traction and stability control, which can obviously also be completely disabled, as you should have noted, if you’ve seen Deon Joubert blast around Killarny race track.
Despite all this hype about the driving characteristics, the 86 does come with a few well noted creature comforts. The dual zone climate control works a treat in the hotter weather if full-on AC is not your thing. Both windows are one touch up or down. The Hi spec model, as tested here, also features lovely dual xenon headlights with day light running lamps. The front loading CD player has a USB input and features a 6 speaker setup which sounds surprisingly punchy for such a car. The boot however, not being the largest, should accommodate a couple of tog bags and/or the odd golf bag, if that is your thing. Be warned though that your bags will share the rear space with the spare wheel which is recessed into a floor cutout. Some like its presence showing and some don’t, but I think that in this case it can definitely be overlooked.
The 86 is a great car. There is no doubt about it. It’s an affordable, good looking rear wheel drive sports coupe that is not only fun to drive, but is pretty economical too. On our eco run we recorded 6.7l/100km and never saw more than 12l/100km on a more enthusiastic driving stint. Certainly something that should be taken into consideration when buying a new car.
The 86’s price starts from R298500 for the standard spec model, kitted with the 16inch wheels, minus the heated seats, xenon headlamps and dual zone climate control. R338 500 for the Hispec, with the 17inch wheels, heated seats, xenon headlamps and the climate control. If you prefer the auto, that’s fine too and Toyota has you covered. Expect to pay slightly more though; R351 900.
Every 86 comes standard with Toyotas 3 year 100 000km warranties and the 4 year 60 000km Toyota car plan. Services are scheduled every 15 000km.
For more info, check out Toyota.co.za