2023 Toyota GR 86

absolutely AUTO REVIEW  |  By Steve Kursar –

The 2023 Toyota GR86 is the second generation of a sports car that is highly affordable, especially considering the fun it provides.  This new GR86 is more powerful with a larger engine than its predecessor along with a platform that’s stiffer to allow for better handling.  This is not a car for a growing family.  No, this is a small car with room for no more than two people who want nothing more than to strap in and enjoy the drive.

The GR86 began as a joint development with Subaru, whose BRZ model is practically a twin of the GR86.  Initially marketed as the Scion FR-S, part of a Toyota sub-brand that was discontinued, the GR86 was designed to be a pure, no-frills sports car.  Built at a Subaru assembly plant in Japan, the little sports car gained a loyal following with drivers who wanted to drive fast and feel the road while shifting with a six-speed manual transmission.

A base 2023 Toyota GR86 comes with a $28,400 MSRP price tag and a naturally aspirated 228 hp, 2.4-liter, horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine. The Toyota engineers tuned the engine so the peak torque arrives far earlier in the powerband at 3700 RPM, versus 6600 RPM on the previous generation, making for a responsive and powerful driving experience, especially when coming out of curves and onto straightaways.  EPA estimated fuel economy ratings for the GR86 equipped with a manual transmission are 20 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway.  A GR86 with an automatic transmission gets slightly better fuel economy, but the fun factor is less.

Get behind the wheel, and you immediately realize this is a driver-focused cockpit with a horizontally configured instrument panel for a clean field of view. Display content varies based on whether drivers are in Normal, Sport, Snow or Track Mode. Sport Mode throws a red ring around the speedometer for an aggressive look. Track Mode was developed with race driver input and prominently displays an RPM-band in the center, oil and water coolant temperatures and lap timer.  Drivers who want even more from their GR 86 can tap into the line of Toyota Gazoo Racing accessories to give their own vehicle an even more aggressive look and feel.

And, as an added bonus, every 2023 Toyota GR86 comes with a complimentary one-year membership to the National Auto Sport Association (NASA). GR 86 owners will enjoy a host of benefits, including one free High Performance Driving Event (HPDE) and discounted admission to NASA-sanctioned events.