The 2020 Toyota 86 is a driver-focused sports car in an era that’s nearly passed it by. Its humble power output, aging platform, and small stature keep it out of the pantheon of all-time great sport coupes—but those looking for an affordable and fun-to-drive sports car need look no further. We give it 5.8 out of 10 overall for excellent handling and value. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
For 2020, the 86 gets Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard, adds an optional handling package that improves the suspension, brakes, and more for track use, and introduces a new Hakone edition that pays tribute to one of Japan’s great driving roads.
The 86 (pronounced “eight-six”) wears traditional sports coupe proportions with mixed results. We wouldn’t call it stunning, but it’s hard to find much fault with a low, wide, two-door. The interior is showing its age, but sports trademark Toyota quality and just the right number of buttons and knobs flanking the touchscreen infotainment system.
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As a joint effort between Toyota and Subaru, the 86—also known as the Subaru BRZ—uses a 2.0-liter flat-4 from Subaru, a 6-speed manual transmission or available automatic, and rear-wheel-drive. Its 205 horsepower (200 with the automatic) is adequate when you wring it out, but a sub-optimal 156 lb-ft of torque leaves us wanting for more grunt—or a turbocharger. Handling is superb thanks to a short wheelbase, near-perfect weight distribution, and direct steering that balances response and ratio well. The ride quality is on the firm side of average, but what else would you expect from a small sports coupe?
There are two trim levels available, 86 and GT, as well as the new Hakone edition. The $28,015 base price includes LED headlights, sport seats in cloth, keyless entry, power features, faux suede trim, a fold-flat rear seat, and 17-inch alloy wheels. A 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system is also standard. Options include the new handling package, and GT and Hakone models get improved interior and exterior features.
The 86 gets average crash test scores for categories it’s been tested in, but no active safety features are standard or available. Fuel economy is mediocre for a small, light sports car, at 24 mpg combined with the manual transmission and 27 mpg combined with the automatic.