By on March 17, 2016

2017 Toyota 86, Image: Toyota

Scion’s slow-selling FR-S rear-wheel-drive coupe is about to become Toyota’s slow-selling rear-wheel-drive coupe, and it will be branded with the same moniker as in many other parts of the world.

That’s right: this is the Toyota 86, also known as what it should have been named here in the first place.

2017 Toyota 86 Rear 3/4, Image: Toyota

The sports coupe gets a mild mid-cycle refresh thanks to some reworked body elements, massaged exterior lighting with LEDs, and new alloy wheels so people hopefully won’t mistake it for a Subaru. Performance gets a bump to 205 horsepower (+5 hp) and 156 pounds-feet of torque (+5 lbs-ft), which is welcomed news, but it still won’t be that Supra you lusted over in that sticky-paged back issue of Super Street.

The 86 isn’t the only former Scion being renamed, but the rest are given the Irish orphan treatment. The single-model-year Scion iM will become the Toyota Corolla iM, and the single-model-year Scion iA — known as the Yaris Sedan in Canada, Yaris R in Mexico, and the Mazda2 Sedan everywhere else — will receive the Toyota Yaris iA nameplate in the United States.

Simple.

Toyota will show off its new Toyota-nee-Scions at the 2016 New York International Auto Show alongside the Toyota C-HR Concept, a subcompact crossover to take on the likes of the Chevrolet Trax, Fiat 500X, Jeep Renegade and — arguably Honda’s worst current product — the Honda HR-V.

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59 Comments on “Toyota 86s Scion FR-S in Name Only, Gets Power Bump...”


  • avatar

    This was supposed to be the “Nissan GT-R” for college-grads paying back student loans from the comfort of mum’s basement.

    Instead, it’s just an overpriced, underpowered small car with reliability issues, lack of features and pizzpoor interior materials.

  • avatar

    The funny thing to me was watching “professional car reviewers” and early adopters try to excuse the lack of power.

    If it had closer to 300HP, all would have been right in the world.

    Instead…the first thought after buying is:

    How much can I add a TURBO for?

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      Anything less than 707 horsepower is INADEQUATE anyway.

      • 0 avatar

        707 is LOL upside down.

      • 0 avatar

        Big truck can be extreme on his power needs. But he does have a point. The lack of power is probably the biggest problem with sales for the 86 (other than being in a dying segment)

        • 0 avatar
          Quentin

          Size and RWD only is why this thing doesn’t sell.

          Size: I’m 5’8″ and 155lbs (athletic build). It is perfect for someone my size. That means that anyone larger in height or girth is going to shoehorn into it. The back seat is comfortable for my 3.5 year old as long as there isn’t anyone in the seat in front of her. Those are some pretty serious compromises. Spacious sells. This is also why the Fiesta ST sells something like 4k units a year despite being a super fun little hatchback for $22k. It is also very, very tight inside despite being a hatchback. The rear seats are basically useless with the Recaro front seats eating up the legroom.

          RWD only: you can argue up and down that the 3 series sells well and is RWD, but 50% of the ones you see on the road are going to be x-drive models. The low ground clearance combined with the twitchy handling and RWD means that this car mostly sits if you don’t have dedicated snow tires. Basically every RWD only model short of the pony cars have terrible sales figures (Miata, Gen Coupe, 370Z, etc). Unless these cars literally become Camaros and Mustangs, they will continue to move under 20k units a year.

          More power would move maybe another 5k units a year that would be a 30% increase. That isn’t enough to justify the cost of a more powerful version and people aren’t exactly chomping at the bit to spend $30k on a car that fits them and 1 friend.

          • 0 avatar
            srh

            6’3″ and 200 pounds here. I actually fit in my Subaru BRZ just fine. With the helmet on, my head does touch the roof, but I’ve done a dozen track days in it quite comfortably.

            Granted I’m slamming the seat all the way back, which leaves literally no leg room back there.

            I loved the RWD for track use, but I agree that AWD would have been better elsewhere. Like for getting out of my driveway, where the stiff chassis caused me to lift two wheels off the ground every morning.

            And yes, more power. 205 won’t cut it. 250? OK. 300? Sold. As long as it’s $30K.

          • 0 avatar
            brenschluss

            It’s a sports car; it’s perfectly fine for a sports car to have a small amount of room and RWD, though I will say it fit my big ass just fine. Nor does anyone expect them to sell in large numbers.

            The problem is that it’s a sports car that feels slow. Of course it’s not worth the effort to revamp it and give it more power now, because it should have come out with more power in the first place and now the ship of sunk costs has sailed. I’m not sure what they would have lost by finding another 50hp (or even a less ridiculous powerband) somewhere while in development, but it seems the consensus is that it probably would have paid off long-term by making it a legitimate competitor to faster cars.

            I would guess that many of the people who bought into the hype (like me,) either bought something else or nothing at all. They lost one sale when I put my foot down and nothing happened. Space and RWD had nothing to do with it.

    • 0 avatar
      derekson

      All it needed was ~240 HP with some tractable torque so that you don’t need to rev to 5000+ RPM every time you want to get up to speed. Okay it’s fun to wind out a high RPM engine, but yo usohuldnt need to wind it out to drive casually in traffic.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        I wonder how Toyota’s new 2.0 turbo would perform in this. It doesn’t look impressive in the Lexus IS and GS, but perhaps in the lighter 86…

        • 0 avatar
          qfrog

          The baxter engine I mean boxer (stupid TMNT flashbacks) is kinda a core part of what makes this car a Toyobaru! I mean unique offering.

        • 0 avatar
          bumpy ii

          I don’t think it would fit. The sloping hood line was tailored around the lower profile of the Subie engine. Bumping the displacement up to 2.5L, keeping the horsepower around 200, and tuning the cams for a healthy midrange would address most of the real-world complaints.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            I was wondering about that. Seems like there should be some alternative if the tiny Miata can fit an inline 2.0 four under its hood, though.

      • 0 avatar
        MrGreenMan

        This is what confused me about the whole thing. I assumed it was the small displacement or the need to have a boxer engine, but 200 hp would have been OK if it had been fun off the line with lots of torque…but my Uglibu was faster than one of these, every time, without trying. It’s not cool boy-racer chic when I’m 3/4 mile beyond the light and they catch me because I’ve been doing the speed limit since before the FR-S was thinking about second gear…any cheap, crappy car can eventually speed. Perhaps something reminiscent of a 3800 Series II with 200 hp with 230 lb-ft of torque would have made it fun?

        • 0 avatar
          qfrog

          One of my co-workers wants a BRZ. He has heard my argument for the GTI which is based on utility, usable performance in real world driving situations and how easily the car can be driven in a relaxed manner (more torque at <2krpm than BRZ has at peak). My co-worker's reasoning is that he just wants it for the looks and just doesn't like how the GTI looks, he has no rebuttal for my logical arguments. It is a case of style over substance for him. To be honest at his age I think I chose a 944 over a MKII 16v GTI so I can't crucify him on every day of the week but I think the GTI covers more bases better than the BRZ does.

          • 0 avatar

            I was one of the first Youtubers to test the BRZ and FRS.

            I just wasn’t impressed.

            #1 UNDERPOWERED – especially in a world where the average car at this price offers close to 300HP.

            #2 LACK OF FEATURES – you don’t even get steering wheel controls for the radio. The FR/S came with even less than the BRZ.

            #3 Too small. Why even offer a backseat if it’s unusable by anyone larger than an amputee?

            GTI is definitely a better choice.

            Hyundai GENESIS COUPE was always my preference – if I was in this market.

            Watching these vehicles underpreform and fail after their initial launch makes me SMH. If only these idiots putting these products out would actually THINK…or at least let me beta test them.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            bigtrucks, you’re more of a straight-line acceleration guy and seem to view the steering wheel as an inconvenient necessity needed for parking the vehicle. That you’d dislike the FR-S is beyond predetermined and some people appreciate the other end of the spectrum.

          • 0 avatar
            bodayguy

            1. UNDERPOWERED. If they’d just had an engine with mid-range, it would be fine. The torque dip is pretty bad at 3500 RPM. At 2,800 pounds, 200 HP might be enough in a better tune.

            2. LACK OF FEATURES. What, you can’t reach over eight inches and turn a freaking volume knob? I loved that it told you it is a drivers car with a no-nonsense wheel.

            3. TOO SMALL. The back seat was a joke, yeah, but it was there for insurance purposes and you could fold it down and get decent cargo in the car. That’s all I wanted, no complaint.

            You prefer a Genesis Coupe? No way, can’t agree with that AT ALL. Not nearly as responsive to drive.

          • 0 avatar
            carlisimo

            qfrog, the GTI makes good numbers but it feels like a minivan compared to the BRZ (or Miata – I daily drive a 2nd-gen). Yes, it covers more bases. It’s a better car in many ways, maybe most ways. But the MK VII’s steering feel is lifeless. The engine is laggy (compared to cars with a particularly quick throttle response, at least). You can feel its weight as it enters and exits a turn. The suspension and the turbo just need too much time when coming out of a turn. It’s not on the same level as the more dedicated sporty cars; it’s only a fun car if you compare it to other practical vehicles.
            He’ll enjoy the BRZ.

          • 0 avatar
            TonyJZX

            btsr for once, isnt wrong here. The FA20 isnt the engine they should have chosen… in the perfect world it should have launched with a 2.0 Toyota inline four like the 3S-GTE.

            I understand Subaru needed a flat four… that’s fine. Subaru have HUGE synergies with turbo flat fours… they pioneered then since the early 90’s… you may have heard of the WRX.

            btsr is right about the lack of features. I can buy cars cheaper than this that have more modern interiors… why are we putting up with red LED segment displays? steering wheel buttons is mandatory these days. I can forgive that they didnt get them right in 2012 but this is the update and its stil not fixed???

            I have owned a number of Japanese import coupes and the 86 is by far one of the less space efficient. There used to be a number of Japanese coupe that have true 2+2 capability. This one doesnt really and its strangely large for that lack of capability.

            To me the 86 felt a tad old on release date. Now in 2016 it feels even more so.

            I also really did LOL when I saw the ‘power bump’ as the click bait title. Yes. 5hp. I’m sure you can get the same from a K&N filter.

          • 0 avatar
            stuki

            I’ve never found it under powered. Keep it spinning, and it’ll pretty much stay with a FiST. And driving at <5000 is best done from the back seat of an Uber anyway.

            Noise on the highway is my biggest gripe. Of course, 1000 mile day highway drones were almost certainly not the designers' goals. I don't mind the wind noise in convertibles, but particularly tire noise does wear me out over time. And the boxer drone isn't the most engaging engine sound, either.

            For a street driven sporty car, though, 45-65hp is where it's at (Ok, 42-65). Anything more just gets you arrested, and wears out your brake pads and tires. While anything less is too impractical. Take the money saved and buy a dedicated track car to accompany it, if power is your thing. And/or a more leisurely, big engine cruiser to idle around in for those rare occasions when you don't feel like being an idiot who refuses to grow up at all. In general, though, there are few things in this world more boring than shifting before redline, and keeping your gas pedal in any other position than on the floor where it belongs.

  • avatar
    qfrog

    The new front bumper cover says Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

  • avatar
    RetroGrouch

    Most OldmoDodges and Toyobarus at NJMP stare at the headlights of a certain manual trans wagon in their rear view mirrors until they give me a point by.

    The faster car is the one in your mirror.

    I will still buy one when they are $5k to $8k on the used market.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    “…it still won’t be that Supra you lusted over in that sticky-paged back issue of Super Street.”

    Well, it’s getting closer since the NA Supra came from the factory with 220hp.
    (and weighed 3,200lbs compared to the 86’s 2,800lbs)

    • 0 avatar
      Noble713

      That’s what I was thinking as well. I own and have enjoyed my NA Supra, even when the other cars in my stable were all turbocharged 280hp+ sedans. The big differences are that the 3.0L 2JZ-GE has plenty of torque, and that normal American driving conditions rarely reveal where the chassis/handling dynamics of the Toyobarus shine.

      That said, I’d love to pick one up….someday. They are just FAR too pricey for what they deliver now. Used MY2012s with ~40,000km are still ~$18-20k in Japan. Ridiculous.

      Get one under $10k as a third or fourth car and slap on a Sprintex twin-screw supercharger? Now that sounds like a plan.

  • avatar
    Quentin

    I like the 86 model name. Good call bringing it in line with the ROW. Wheels are a nice upgrade and it sounds like the interior gets some improvements. I’ll have to see it in person, but the bumper skin doesn’t do much for me.

  • avatar
    dwford

    NO, it shouldn’t have been called the 86 in the first place. Why automakers are obsessed with heritage nameplates that only they remember is beyond me. If the target market for this car is millennials, 86 references a car from 30 years ago that only a tiny fraction of them will have heard about.

  • avatar
    TMA1

    I thought the Yaris name was sufficiently poisoned that they wouldn’t go in that direction for a great little Mazda.

    Maybe the 86 will sell more, now that Scion’s non-negotiable pricing is being killed off.

  • avatar
    Maymar

    Can anyone who claims the Toyobarus are underpowered explain why the Fiesta ST (which is pretty much a dead heat with the the Toyobaru in a straight line) is so beloved?

    It’s not underpowered, it has a wonky power band, they’re two different things.

    • 0 avatar
      Demetri

      Fiesta ST also costs $5,000 less.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      Nope its underpowered. Should have come with a turbo to being with and been called Celica.

      In comparison he Fiesta ST is an economy car that just happens to be a hot hatch as a bonus. The 86 is a sports car so it should at least accelerate like one. Instead it basically a Miata with a wonky power band minus the top down experience. Subbie is known for the turbos, boxer engines and AWD, but the 86 only got one of those traits. Thus its a very niche product. I see plenty of them at the track so people do enjoy them. But count me out until they offer a turbo.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      Ford doesn’t release ST numbers separately of the Fiesta, so that spares it from the “doesn’t sell over 10k units a month, must be garbage” rants around here. Someone with some real insider sales info revealed on here that the Fiesta ST moves less than 5000 a year.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Call me when it comes with 250 hp from the factory.

    Unless you own the entire Fast and Furious series on BluRay the biggest argument against the FR-S was sitting across the showroom as the tC.

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    5 HP won’t save this car.

  • avatar
    John

    Goodness gracious – a 2.5% increase in horsepower – Hellcat owners the world ’round cringe in fear!

  • avatar
    ravenchris

    Dan,
    There was supercharger available for the tC, from Scion (TRD) around 2006.
    It was tested by CR. 161 became 200 hp.
    If applied to the FRS,
    You could become proficient with the lower hp while saving for the supercharger, I think this would work for much of the target market.

  • avatar
    djsyndrome

    Oh look, a parade of “no power!” posts on an FR-S article. I’ve never seen that before!

    You want to go fast? Buy a WRX or Mustang for the same money. This car is aimed at a /very/ narrow slice of the market, and you are not it.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      Yet, a down-on-the-junkyard post about some GM branded midsize sedan from the 80s or a Panther has everyone here waxing nostalgic.

      I 100% agree with your assessment. This isn’t a car that was designed to be everything to everyone, but it is the one that allows me to have a sports car in my life and it is glorious on the right day on the right road. Luckily I can experience that frequently where I live.

  • avatar
    Corollaman

    Torque is still too low, I have driven one and the HP is adequate for its weight, but it desperately needs more torque.

  • avatar
    deanst

    Will they be hiring a don adams look-alike for the commercials?

  • avatar
    frozenman

    And here I thought German management was some of the most intransigent blockheads around, but the Japanese are right up there with them, no wonder they used to get along. To have a 2.0T sitting on the shelf and not offer it at any price is absolutely ridiculous. In the same vane I hope the turbo offered in the Fiat 124 has Mazda suits contemplating seppuku when they realize how obtuse they are.

    • 0 avatar
      djsyndrome

      Remember when this car was first released (2Q 2012) the 2.0T didn’t exist yet. It’s hard to make a business case for adding a second engine halfway through a product cycle (R&D, certifications in the dozens of countries it’s sold in, etc.) – the best you can hope for is a new engine for the 2nd generation. Whether that’s Toyota’s 2.0T or something from Subaru (the 1.6DIT might do nicely), who knows.

      • 0 avatar
        frozenman

        What you say is true but it points to the fact that they do not not give enough consideration for the North American market during the design phase resulting in engine specs too weak to compete here. Then they have the audacity to complain about slow sales and how they may have “lost their mojo”, self absorbed nerds must pull the strings at head office. Oh, and trotting out ‘shooting-brake’ versions to prove that they can design design some interesting stuff and then ditch it pisses me off!

  • avatar
    geozinger

    For some months before and after this car was released, there was so much media proclaiming it better than sliced bread (and much of it appeared on this very blog).

    It appears that in the market, this thing has flopped. Re-naming it the “86” isn’t going to help. In fact, that’s what should be done to the name, 86 it. And possibly the car, too.

  • avatar
    FromaBuick6

    I wondered what Toyota would do with the iA and iM; Rolling them into the Yaris and Corolla nameplates is a smart move and what these cars should have been from the start. I suspect that the “i_” suffixes will disappear after a year or two. I saw a TV commercial last weekend and they’re already advertising the iM as “Scion by Toyota.”

    However, the switch from FR-S to 86 is kinda dumb. Yeah, I get that it’s the JDM name, but it just creates extra confusion in the brand changeover. FR-S was a better name anyway. The 86 badge was already on the fender for the three buyers per year that know what an AE86 is.

    Then again, the I would have hypothetically bought a BRZ over an FR-S just to avoid the stupid Scion nameplate, so Toyota can call this whatever they want and it’s an improvement. Good riddance to a stupid brand. Instead of wasting the last 12 years trying to create a hip youth brand, maybe Toyota could have, oh, I don’t know, made an honest effort at making cars like the Corolla and Yaris appealing to someone besides dorks and grandmas?

  • avatar

    Trax, Rene, and HR-V are still quite big. I wish they came up with a Toyota to match Mazda CX-3. Zoom-zoom.

  • avatar
    White Shadow

    Nothing wrong with this car that a small turbocharger can’t fix. It would then have the power and more importantly, the torque to make it interesting. Imagine how much fun it would be with 250 lb.ft. available at just 1500 rpm. Toyota really dropped the ball on this car.

  • avatar
    buzzyrpm

    I like the revised rear bumper. The front is a bit overdesigned compared to the simple lines of the rest of the car. It will be interesting to see what the BRZ front bumper will look like. My guess is they share the same rear as they do now.


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