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2017 Toyota 86 Sports Coupe Review by Larry Nutson +VIDEO

2017 Toyota 86 Sports Coupe  (select to view enlarged photo)

2017 Toyota 86
A Closer Look

By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel

If the Toyota 86 sports coupe looks a bit familiar, well, it should. It once was known as the Scion FR-S. The Scion brand has been “eighty-sixed” and most of its models have been rebadged has Toyotas.

The “86” name is kind of curious, at least to me, and I was hoping that any winter snow in the forecast would be eighty-sixed for my late December drive with this sports coupe from Toyota.

But, what’s in a name? The 2+2 Toyota 86 is a very fun car to drive. The media-loan test car in its Hot Lava orange color happened to be an automatic, but that didn’t take too much of the driving engagement away. However, if I were buying I would go for the manual.

2017 Toyota 86 Sports Coupe  (select to view enlarged photo)

The 2017 Toyota 86 is priced to start at $26,255 with the six-speed manual. That’s pretty affordable. The 86 with the six-speed automatic is $720 more at $26,975.

The 86 got some design changes on the outside, revised lighting, new wheels, and interior material changes in its transition from being a Scion along with 86 badging here and there.

A 200 HP, 2.0-liter flat-four powers you down the road and drive is through the rear wheels. Acceleration is not overwhelming but once the engine revs it delivers adequately pushing this 2800 lb. Toyota down the road. Paddle shifters enable manual control of the automatic trans. Zero to 60 mph is in the mid-six second range. The chassis is plenty stiff, the suspension re-tuned for fun and powering through corners and the rear drive lets you kick-out the back end while carving a turn. Michelin Primacy HP 215/45 tires mounted on 7X17 wheels are standard in summer grade or optional in all-season grade.

Note that with manual transmission the engine is rated at 205 HP and puts out 5 lb.-ft. more torque….156 lb.-ft. v. 151 lb.-ft. for the automatic.

As soon as I got in the 86 I lowered the seat as far down as possible to get my butt down close to the CG so I could feel all that the 86 wanted to do. As you might expect, getting in and out of a low sports car is not something you do very quickly with its smaller door opening and the need to lift your legs over the doorsill. Once inside there’s adequate sight lines and I was able to maneuver tight spaces with a good sense of where the front of the car ends, and with the aid of a rear-view camera out back.

2017 Toyota 86 Sports Coupe  (select to view enlarged photo)

2017 Toyota 86 Sports Coupe  (select to view enlarged photo)

There’s an optional navigation system, and a Pioneer audio system with knobs, buttons and eight-speakers. And, the HVAC is easy to manage with three knobs. There’s keyless entry for the doors and trunk but you need to insert and twist the key to start the engine. The 86 is simply a get in and drive car. The 2+2 seating makes for some rear storage and the 6.9 cuft trunk is OK for two person’s luggage or hauling some groceries. The rear seat is really only for the young ones but the backrest folds for expanded cargo use.

2017 Toyota 86 Sports Coupe

One touch of tech is the ability to switch between normal, sport, snow, and track modes using the console-mounted controls. The old-tech console mounted hand brake lever is actually nice to have for that occasional moment you want to pull it to help fling the back end around.

Most sport car buyers don’t put high fuel economy way up on the list of must-haves. The Toyota 86 has a 13.2 gallon fuel tank which should be good for about 400 miles of cruising. The better EPA test-cycle ratings are with the automatic at 27 mpg combined with 24 city mpg and 32 highway mpg.

2017 Toyota 86 Sports Coupe  (select to view enlarged photo)

You can find more information, specs and feature details at Take a look at other sport-coupes or convertibles right here at The Auto Channel.

The newest driver-assistance safety features like blind spot monitoring and forward emergency braking are not offered on the Toyota 86 but I expect we’ll see them in upcoming model years.

By the way here’s the backstory on the 86 name, as provided by Toyota. “It is a happy coincidence that the 86’s 2.0-liter boxer-type four-cylinder engine has 86mm bore and stroke dimensions. For ardent Toyota fans, ‘86’ is a revered badge, indeed. They know ‘AE86’ as the global name for the Toyota Corolla GT-S that sold here in the mid-1980s. It was an affordable, tossable, rear-drive sports coupe with a high-revving 1.6-liter engine and was simply a blast to drive. (And it looked so ’80s with those big ‘Twin Cam 16’ decals on its doors.) In Japan, it was known as “hachi-roku,” meaning 8-6.”

Twists and turns are the Toyota 86’s forte. With this car a weekend drive out to the countryside will often be a must-do.

If needed, you can google the origin of the term “eighty-six.”

© 2017 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy

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