By on June 16, 2017

2017 Toyota 86 sunset - Image: ToyotaFive years have passed since the Scion FR-S — known elsewhere as the Toyota GT86 and known now in America as the Toyota 86 (and at Subaru as the BRZ) — arrived in America. Buyers, never particularly numerous to begin with, are few and far between. Toyota now sells 62 percent fewer Toyota 86s in America than the Scion FR-S managed during its first year.

You expect to see sports cars peak early and then gradually fade. The degree to which the Toyota 86 née Scion FR-S has faded, however, has been more than a little striking. FR-S/86 sales have fallen so far, so fast, that U.S. car buyers are now ten times more likely to acquire a new Chevrolet Camaro, three times more likely to acquire a new Volkswagen Golf GTI, and twice as likely to acquire a new Mazda MX-5.

But is the Toyota 86 deserving of such rejection? Not according to a just-completed CAR Magazine comparison test in which the five-year-old Toyota claimed victory — ahead of the Mazda MX-5 RF and BMW 2 Series.

Even in victory, CAR hands the Toyota GT86 a fair helping of criticism.

“You’d better be willing to get manic if you want to get anywhere,” Chris Chilton writes. “It never quite manages to feel fast.”

The Mazda’s gearbox, “makes the GT86’s feel clumsy and agricultural.”

“If you hated it before, a bunch of LEDs isn’t going to make a difference,” Chilton says in CAR’s verdict.2017 Toyota 86 front - Image: ToyotaBut the GT86 — or 86 as we now know it on this side of the Atlantic — won CAR’s comparison for three reasons. First, the MX-5 RF didn’t live up to expectations, failing “to deliver a properly resolved convertible experience while not matching the refinement of a proper coupe either.” CAR complained about the lack of coupe-like characteristics in the Mazda, especially since it lacks the full top-down benefits of the soft-top MX-5.

Second, the BMW, tested by CAR in a 182-horsepower 220i spec not sold in the U.S., lost despite its refinement and practicality and leaseability; despite quite obviously being the best car in the test. The BMW, Chilton writes, “fails to deliver that final level of interaction.”

Finally, the Toyota won on merit. “If you’re serious about buying a coupe because of the way it drives and not merely the way it looks, this is your car.”

Problem is, there aren’t many people who are that serious about driving. Toyota found 2,684 excited U.S. buyers for the Scion FR-S in its first full month on the market: June 2012. Yet never since has demand risen above 2,000/month. In fact, Toyota hasn’t sold more than 1,000 copies of the FR-S/86 since July 2015. Year-over-year, FR-S/86 volume has declined 44 times in the last 48 months.

CAR recognizes the victory handed to the Toyota GT86 is not in keeping with the way of the automotive world at the moment. Naturally aspirated? Rear-wheel drive? Narrow tires? In this world of grippy, all-wheel drive crossovers with small displacement turbos, the Scion FR-S has become a Toyota 86 that’s entirely not what 99.9 percent of car buyers want.

“Collectively, we’ve been asking for cars like this,” Chilton says, “and when they disappear because we didn’t fill our garages with them, we’ll only have ourselves to blame.”

[Images: Toyota]

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor of GoodCarBadCar.net. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.

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79 Comments on “Five Years on, Scion FR-S/Toyota 86 Has Few Buyers Left, But Still There’s a Comparison Test Win up Its Sleeve...”


  • avatar
    ttaclogin

    SAD!

  • avatar
    nels0300

    Need to ditch the Subaru engine.

    If it would fit, this car would be absolutely fantastic with a 2GR-FE.

    It would get the same or better gas mileage, be more reliable, not burn oil, sound good, and would finally be able to beat a V6 Camry.

    • 0 avatar
      brenschluss

      Oh, it fits.

      http://www.turbofast.com.au/GT86.html

      • 0 avatar
        nels0300

        Oh man, that’s even the fancier version of the 2GR with direct injection. Interesting they didn’t utilize the DI with their build.

        So, it fits.

        It’s kind of tragedy that they used that Subaru engine.

        Given the economies of scale advantage the 2GR-FE has over the specialized Subaru FB engine, I wouldn’t be surprised if the the Toyota V6 was actually cheaper to produce than the Subaru flat 4. It’s not like the Subaru flat 4 has the manufacturing advantages of an inline 4, they still need to manufacture two cylinder heads and 4 cams just like a V6.

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      So, what you really want is a Nissan 370Z?

      Because there aren’t many people buying those either.

      • 0 avatar
        nels0300

        BRZ is lighter, even if it had a V6.

        • 0 avatar
          Maymar

          Maybe, but at a minimum, it’d be safe to say it’d push it over 3000lbs, provided they didn’t have to make a ton of stuff sturdier to cope with the extra power.

          And, the bulk of the extra weight would be up front, and higher. Again, it’d make more sense just to flatten out the screwy powerband (even less weight wouldn’t hurt either), and anyone who’s disappointed the Toyobaru wasn’t built to spin the tires in third can head to their local Nissan or Ford dealer.

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        I don’t want a Nissan anything, nor do I want a Subaru. I’d have bought an all-Toyota analog sports coupe in an instant.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      In a perfect world the 86 would be RWD with a V6, the BRZ would be AWD with a turbo boxer, the RC coupe would weigh 300 fewer pounds, and there would be a V8 RC500 for $10K less than the RC-F.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Poor man’s TT?

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        The whole point of the 86, was to provide traditional, sporty rear drive dynamics, obvious and accessible for as much of the time behind the wheel as possible. The idea being, rwd cars is disappearing fast, leaving very few alternatives for those who want to experience the special driving pleasures only they can provide. And another concern was to make the car trackable. As in, reasonably cheap; and not requiring a degree in auto mechanics or dedicated staff, to be viably tracked on the weekends.

        AWD would make zero sense. A V6 would be either a front heavy, one trick burnout pony; or require fitting of tires so grippy that you rarely notice which end of the car is the driven one. And on track, where you would notice; the added grip and power, would go through tires and brakes at a rate much higher than the 86 as designed. While putting much more stress on every other component. Making tracking it a much more expensive and laborious proposition.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          I want the cars to be fundamentally different then because I find none of that Jinba Ittai stuff in your comment appealing.

          I thank AWD on the BRZ would makes sense because Subaru’s entire brand identity is AWD and it would serve to differentiate it from the Toyota version.

          Also, going off your post, I’d say they largely failed at their main goals because the vast majority seem to prefer the Miata as the accessible sports and track car.

          They are the Japanese Sky and Solstice.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            “I’d say they largely failed at their main goals because the vast majority seem to prefer the Miata as the accessible sports and track car.”

            This. And the Miata has been the undisputed heavyweight champion of this class of car for around 25 years now. So, it was a tough market to crack in the first place, and Toyota/Subaru didn’t give it their best shot. I’m mystified as to why it wasn’t turbocharged from the word go. If it had been, then it’d have been a far better competitor to the Miata.

          • 0 avatar
            stuki

            What’s wrong with the M235/240 then? Or a whole plethora of other choices out there? Largeish, fastish engines, huge tires with infinite grip….? Many with awd. And perhaps even “Formula 1 style paddle shifters…” All perfectly adequate performers along the all important “beat grandma in a Camry from a stoplight” metric. While looking “sporty” and “enthusiast” to cubicle dwellers and imaginary Asian girlfriends.

            I agree Toyota could conceivably have sold more cars if they jumped right into the middle of that much larger pool with a “Celica.” Heck, they may still do just that.

            But it won’t be an 86. Nor a Miata competitor. Nor a VolksTrackCar, keeping that particular flame alive in an age of undifferentiated bland. Nor particularly fun to drive in a dynamic sense; the way most of the target market drives, the overwhelming majority of the time.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “What’s wrong with the M235/240 then? Or a whole plethora of other choices out there?”

            Toyota doesn’t build it. The closest they got is the RC and you need to go for the ~$70K version to get one much faster than a V6 Camcord.
            __________________________

            “While looking “sporty” and “enthusiast” to cubicle dwellers and imaginary Asian girlfriends.”

            Well, that escalated quickly. Anyway, it is *real* Ukrainian ‘strippers’, not imaginary Asian girlfriends.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      You don’t even need to do some kind of V-6 engine swap – the flat four would have been fine with a turbo. Subaru makes such an engine, and you can get it…in a Forester?

      WTF?

      • 0 avatar
        nels0300

        The 268 hp Toyota 3.5L V6 is a better engine than the 268 hp Suburu 2.0L turbo flat four.

        Both are in the parts bin. I’d wager the Toyota engine is both cheaper to build and more reliable.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          You’re right, but I’d have to think the bigger, heavier V-6 would have a negative impact on handling, which is this car’s strong suit. Overall, I’d argue the turbo boxer was the better way to go. At a minimum, it should have been offered as an extra-cost option.

          • 0 avatar
            nels0300

            The turbo 4 has weird turbo power deliver.

            I think the NA Toyota V6 is more in spirit with the current car, just with more power. It builds power progressively and pulls all the way to redline.

            And…is the turbo 4 really lighter? Both engines are all aluminum, the V6 obviously has 2 more cylinders, but the turbo 4 has…a turbo and all it’s plumbing.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Meh, turbo power delivery depends on how you tune it. My Jetta 1.4T has peak torque at 1800 rpm, so lag is minimal. It just feels like a far bigger four cylinder engine.

            The old days of turbos that kick in like a JATO rocket – think Omni GLH turbos – are over, unless that’s how you choose to tune them.

            As far as the V-6’s weight…compare how much a V-6 and four cylinder Camry weigh. I looked it up – looks like the difference is around 150 pounds. No one would care on a Camry, but they would on the BRZ, seeing as the 150 pounds would all be in the front of the car, messing up the handling balance.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            The Camry 4-cylinder doesn’t use a turbo though. I don’t know the weight on the WRX engine but the Lexus website says the IS350 is only 10 pounds heavier than the IS200t and and Car and Driver tests of the two F-Sport versions put the V6 as slightly *lighter* (although this was different model years and I’m not exactly sure on C/D’s weighing process).

          • 0 avatar
            nels0300

            Any turbo that’s tuned for low rpm torque runs out of breath in the higher rpms.

            I just sold a 14 Camry V6 and I now have a modern turbocharged car, Elantra Sport.

            The power delivery of a modern turbo 4 is more of a constant thrust that tapers off where the 2GR-FE power builds and pulls hard all the way to redline with awesome throttle response. Sounds 100 times better too.

            The WRX would be a better car with a 2GR-FE.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    Too few buyers with too many good options. Lots of hot hatches for similar money. Lightly used Z4s, Boxsters, WRXs, V-8 Mustangs, C6 Corvettes, etc. can also be had for about the same money but a lot more power and/or prestige/luxury.

  • avatar
    hamish42

    I drove one while my car was in for service. It reminded me very much, believe it or not, of my brother’s toy car: an MGB GT (the 3-door). That’s not an exciting comparison.

  • avatar
    Ubermensch

    Hard to get excited about driving when 90% of it in the US is boring, straight-as-an-arrow highways or clogged and pot-holed city streets. The most excitement I have on my daily commute is the 2 round-abouts I can take at higher than posted speed and trying not to murder the mid-western blob driving some anonymous CUV in front of me on the on-ramp going 45mph trying to merge into 70+mph traffic. I’m starting to just not care about driving excitement anymore because I just don’t see the point.

    • 0 avatar
      Sky_Render

      You need to take the “long way” home a couple times a week. Seriously, that’s what I look forward to. I can take the mindless Interstate on my 30-mile commute, or I can drive about 20 minutes out of my way and take a back road through the mountains.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      This.

      My commute via bus in Puget Sound yesterday was 3-1/2 hours round trip.

      Distance traveled each way?

      13.9 miles.

      There is nowhere around here to enjoy a nice drive.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        Get a motorcycle. Or a bicycle. Or running shoes. Or a commuter boat. Or a Jetski. Or a bullet in the head. All six alternatives vastly superior to 3.5 hours on any bus short of some rockstar’s rolling party palace.

        • 0 avatar
          APaGttH

          Commute by boat might actually be viable and faster.

          Hmmmm…that would mean selling a car or two however.

          • 0 avatar
            stuki

            I’ve been aboard a couple of commuting boats from Bainbridge to Seattle. It’s by far the way to go up there. Instead of suffocating on a nasty bus, you breathe fresh ocean air; get a mild workout stabilizing against the roll; and arrive feeling like a human being, being rather than cattle crammed in as tight as possible, on the way to the slaughterhouse.

            I bet slip space will be the limiting problem, assuming you are OK with keeping a boat fueled and in proper running order. And no doubt slip space is much, much harder to come by now, in the Amazon era, than it was back in the 90s. But you could always bring a (possibly electric assist) bicycle on the boat, for the last stretch into the city from wherever you can get a slip…. Man, anything to avoid 3.5 hours on a bloody bus…..

          • 0 avatar
            stuki

            Or, come to think of it: Uber-B-for-boat! Or perhaps Buber :) Disintermediate the slip space problem…. Then maybe you, too, can be a rich a-hole :)

            No way you can’t find enough takers, among the boat builders, skippers, startuppers and angels around Puget Sound, to get something like that off the ground. Virtually every boat builder and naval architect on the planet, wants nothing more than an excuse to design and build more of the kind of long, sleek, narrow, efficient (power and cost wise) displacement vessels that makes maximum sense as commuter boats, but minimum sense in our pay-per-foot-of-slip-length world. They are the absolute epitome of elegance and grace on the water.

            And even in the existing fleet, there has got to be enough boat owners up there, who wouldn’t mind the ability to offset the cost of boat ownership, by picking up some fares here and there; if there was only a simple, convenient and nonbinding way to do it.

            So, get rid of the need for scarce slip space in the most crowded locales, by ride sharing/boat pooling :) In the beginning, pick up fares when you can; code (and do other work) on off moments. Heck, if you have a cute girlfriend as a co-captain/co-founder, the whole thing sounds almost romantic enough, you may be able to offset some of the cost by selling it as a reality show. And you can talk to that other Seattle institution, Starbucks, about some steaming hot coffee for the brisk morning trip across the sound….. :)

            Eh, maybe I’m rambling. But it sure sounds lots better than rotting away on a bloody bus….

        • 0 avatar
          redmondjp

          Um, it rains here, A LOT . . .

          And the statistics in the Seattle area for commuting motorcyclists are grim: your life expectancy is 5 years. No joke. That’s everyday use, not occasional rides.

          • 0 avatar
            stuki

            That still beats the life expectancy of a bullet in the head. Which, again, still beats 3.5 hours on a bus…..

  • avatar
    manny_c44

    This will always kill the inexpensive sports coupe, a much nicer car one or two years old is the same price so who would ever buy it? Sporty cars feel this effect a lot more than cars people buy just for commuting.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Here’s a puzzler: Subaru makes a turbocharged flat four, which never made its’ way into this model, but you can get it in the Forester.

    Discuss.

    • 0 avatar
      john66ny

      Forester’s engine bay is a lot bigger?

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Could be, but from the post above, it looks like someone managed to stuff a Toyota V-6 into one of these, so I doubt engine bay size is the problem.

        I was wondering if anyone actually knew why they never put a turbo motor in this model.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      It doesn’t fit. Toyota and Subaru have said so multiple times.

      Also the FR-S missed its speculated price target significantly, a turbocharged engine without a weird torque curve, chirpy fuel injectors, and in the first model a year a tendency to spin their bearings, would cost a lot more money.

      The FR-S/86/BRZ/GT-86 isn’t just hobbled by a perceived lack of power and a wonky torque curve. Compared to other cars, including other possible dedicated canyon carvers, the interior is Coleman cooler grade, key options that modern buyers want aren’t even possible to get, and the Scion brand hurt.

      This should have been a Toyota Celica from the word go. Case in point, Scion doesn’t even exist today.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        OK, I’m not doubting you, but…

        A quick google search of “BRZ turbo” returns a ton of aftermarket kits. And apparently you can stuff a Toyota V-6 into one of these cars.

        I think their “it won’t fit” line is bullspit. And interior upgrades aren’t all that difficult to do.

        There must be another reason. I’m thinking it relates to cost on a car that doesn’t sell all that well. But in any case, the decision to make this car naturally aspirated – or not offer a turbo version – mystifies me.

        • 0 avatar
          APaGttH

          Interior upgrades to slabs of black factory plastic are not easy to do.

        • 0 avatar
          bhtooefr

          It may well fit to do an aftermarket installation, but will it fit to Toyota/Subaru’s warranty standards? Will it fit while meeting emissions standards for the full emissions warranty? Will it fit while meeting European pedestrian crash safety regulations?

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    “Problem is, there aren’t many people who are that serious about driving.”

    Or maybe we are, and are well aware of alllll the other options for the same money on the used market. Or maybe some of us already owned some serious driving tools and didn’t find the FRS compelling enough to trade them for it.

    • 0 avatar
      timelesstraveler

      And to those people the Toybaru twins don’t really bring anything new to the game. Sports cars of the 90’s and early 00’s are quicker, better looking, and just as good to drive.

      Government regulations are truly killing the affordable sports car.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      In my experience, most people who consider the 86, end up settling for a less singularly “driving involvement” focused car. Usually a hot hatch, a ‘Stang/Camaro, a Miata, or a Small BMW like the M235. Compared to most other countries, cars are so important utilitarian wise here, that young guys who only have money and space for one car, have a hard time justifying what is almost a covered motorcycle for that only one.

      Those comfortable buying used S2000s and the like, aren’t generally looking for a new car to begin with.

      • 0 avatar
        TMA1

        At this point, a new 86 is probably cheaper than one of the last S2K’s. I routinely see 09 models with low miles going for $30k.

        • 0 avatar
          S2k Chris

          My S2k is probably worth ~1/2-1/3 of an FRS, but I already own it and love it. And I’d have a hard time going backwards in horsepower. My perception is the FRS is a great chassis held back by an only OK (at best) engine, where the S2000 is a great chassis with a fantastic engine (in terms of fun to drive, character, etc, not in terms of power/performance).

  • avatar
    FBS

    The BRZ still intrigues me, because between it and the MX-5 and the 370z, the Toyobaru is the only one I can comfortably sit inside.

    But of course as a value proposition it’s tough to compare a new BRZ to an Ecoboost Mustang or V6 Camaro and be willing to give up more power, more space, and more features in the name of weight savings and handling. I’d like to think that I can make that choice on principle – but in real life, I’m making payments on a Mazda 3.

  • avatar
    Driver8

    There are two possible reasons it doesn’t come with a 6 or turbo. Neither may not fit under that nice, low hood and still meet pedestrian safety regs. The 6 would certainly bump the price out of its market. Perhaps either would make it uninsurable to its target market.

    There are 50 state legal bolt on SC kits for this car. That’s likely to be as good as it gets, bang/buck and I doubt much more expensive than what the factory would sell it for.

    I don’t see the factory going further with this platform.

    • 0 avatar
      nels0300

      “The 6 would certainly bump the price out of its market.”

      Would it?

      Is the engine in the BRZ/FRS cheaper to build than the 2GR-FE that Toyota has been building for over a decade and uses in multiple applications?

      How could Ford afford to sell V6 Mustangs for $20K?

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        “How could Ford afford to sell V6 Mustangs for $20K?”

        Mustang is a high-volume seller, so they can include a loss leader in the lineup. That’s my guess, anyway. But sticker on a Mustang V-6 is actually around $25,000 in any case.

        (And it’s a helluva performance bargain, if you ask me.)

  • avatar
    JMII

    I’ve driven one on track – and its SO easy to drive, its a real joy to toss it about. But yeah its gutless and not fast enough to be exciting. I actually found the steering too light for my taste, you can drive it one handed. Granted my Z is the opposite with heavy steering & clutch so in comparison the 86 is super light. I wasn’t impressed with the gear box – I’ve driven better but I’ve also driven worst. I was expecting a harsher ride, but (at least on track) it was smooth and never felt like it was going to rattle my fillings lose. But once again my baseline is my Z which beats you silly.

    I’ve said from the get go this car needs a turbo. Seems like such a waste of great chassis for it to be under powered. A turbo would fix the torque issue with little change to the weight.

  • avatar

    1) Brand it a Celica – Toyota missed this opportunity AGAIN with the death of Scion, so its clear that they really don’t care about the long term viability of this model.

    2) Load it up as a Limited – Power seats, sunroof, etc. Unlike the 22 year-old demo, the 45-65 year-old demo has money

    3) Introduce a convertible for #2 reason.

    4) Why can’t the Camry’s big 4-cyl fit in this car?

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      A) Does anyone actually remember the Celica?
      B) Do the people who actually remember the Celica actually want one anymore, or have they moved on to Buick Encores?

      (Supra’s a different story, though…that nameplate needs to come back.)

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        Spending time in a number of malaise era forums, the answer is that yes, the 45-65 year old set most definitely remembers the Celica, and get jelly whenever the RWD versions are posted, or an All-Trac comes up for sale.

      • 0 avatar

        Yes, and yes. Here are last 4 ‘hot, cheap sports car’ customers I sold to…
        ’02 Beetle Turbo S – 78 years old
        ’14 Fiesta ST – 65 years old
        ’12 GTI 6MT – 48 years old
        ’13 Cooper S JCW – 49 years old

        Guarantee a 2/2 bungalow or condo here in Florida would be home to an Encore Essence AND a Celica GT convertible more often than you’d think.

        Also. Celica means more than FR-S or 86…which is meaningless other than in irony because the model is going to be 86’d in 2 years anyway.

      • 0 avatar
        hebekiah

        Heck yeah, Celica was great. Had a ’79 GT “Fastback”, the Japanese Mustang, 2.2 L 20R. Also saw the Celica Camry…that got split off as the Camry.
        No, it wasn’t the most exciting car but very predictable. Tried to keep a Celica turbo and a Supra going but they never got fixed all the way, leaking front seals and Supra had electrical ghosts.
        But the ’79 GT! I remember pulling up at the gas station same time as ’85 BMW coupe and all the Mexicans checking out the Celica because they knew it was reliable and cool. I drove it from Santa Cruz, CA to tip of Baja and ferried across to drive it inland to Santa Fe, NM. Never a hiccup even though several vacuum hoses and what not had been disconnected for I don’t know how long.
        It served as our ranch car, was tough enough for long gravel and dirt roads and well balanced not to end up in a ditch, even in the snow.

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    86 the 86/BRZ, replace it with a MX-5 platformed hatchback coupe much like the first generation RX-7. If there are only going to be a limited number of sports cars sold, might as well make them from the same platform.

  • avatar
    Oberkanone

    First year for the Toyota 86.

    Scion was a Chinese manufacturer.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I’d like to know how many were sold for status and a facade.

    I think many of these vehicles fit into my definition of the “hairdresser set” similar to many Wrangler owners.

    Like some Wrangler owners there will be the ones who appreciate what the vehicle can offer.

    My opinion is the 86 isn’t as cool as it once was. The “hairdresser set” have moved on to something new to enhance their facade with.

    • 0 avatar
      doublechili

      I don’t know about the “status” part. In fact, I think maybe an issue with this car is lack of status. The 3 cars in the comparison test are likely often owned as a 2nd car. Someone who owns, say, a BMW sedan as car #1 and wants to buy something fun as car #2 is probably going to go in another direction precisely because of status (or lack thereof) with the Toyobaru.

      I have a TL SH-AWD, and if I ever get a 2nd car the Toyobaru might be the first thing I test drive (the shifter comments are concerning, but otherwise it seems like it would be a great compliment to the Acura). But I’m certainly not going to impress anyone with that car (not my goal, fortunately).

  • avatar
    3800FAN

    comparison tests… HA! ask Mazda if how those help 3 and 6 sales lol.

    Problem with this car is it’s fanbase was ALWAYS young boys who have zero money and were always hoping to buy them used for cheap, if at all. Toyota and subaru listend to the internets too much here. All those forum posters who said they’d buy one if only someone would build it NEVER DID! Nobody has the income to waste on such an impractical car… especially when you can get a practical car with MUCH better performance for the same price in the same showroom, ie the WRX.

    • 0 avatar
      trackratmk1

      You get it. The $25-35k 2-seat sports car segment offers no practical daily value for buyers who only own 1 car. No space, room for passengers, etc. It’s obvious where these shoppers go when they want performance… GTI, WRX, etc.

      And there’s no love for these cars from someone who’s already got a daily driver and the money to burn to fill their 2nd car garage with a sports car. These people have the money to put their extra bank towards a Boxster or a Vette.

      It’s not just the BRZ/86. The 370Z never sold well either. The MX5 does a bit better only because it’s a convertible… which by and large, also don’t sell well in this price range.

  • avatar
    scent tree

    I wanted one of these but ended up buying a Fiesta ST instead. For a $5K price difference, the only things a Toyobaru is really better at are being RWD, and not resembling a child-size shoe. The Fiesta meets or beats it everywhere else, especially at torque and powerband.

    • 0 avatar
      NG5

      I went through the same thought process as scent tree here. The Fiesta ST was impossible to beat for more than 5,000 less at sticker plus a 0% financing deal from Ford. I’m driving a Fiesta ST now after trying a BR-Z before the 86 came out.

      I still really want a RWD car, but the 86 weighs the same and has similar power as the Fiesta ST and I left driving the Fiesta with a bigger smile. I will probably end up in a Miata if I go RWD unless I want to sample a V8 before they are gone.

  • avatar
    matt3319

    I suppose we could still buy a Mitsu Eclipse GT V6. lol

  • avatar
    Subifanz

    Most of you guys talk about driving Ford’s lol. There the biggest pieces of s**t on the Rd. The Subaru is not going to Leave u stranded or be expensive to fix.

  • avatar
    Pete Zaitcev

    Anyone else have a problem in the 2017 BRZ hitting some kind of intrusion in the roof?

  • avatar
    NMGOM

    When these two Toyobaru twins came out, I predicted a limited sales life, because:

    1) They’re underpowered.
    2) They Do Not have a 50/50 weight distribution.
    3) The flat engine has an irritating 10% torque valley at about 4000 RPM.
    4) Mazda was due to offer its redesigned MX5 Miata shortly after introduction of those twins.
    5) Corvette would come out the with C7 Stingray version for $48K, 2x the price for 4x the car.
    7) The redesigned Mustang would also come out in this time period for just a little ($5K) more $$.

    They say timing is everything, and these two were both mistimed and not dramatic enough.

    Is it too late to save them?
    Yes.
    There are many more sporty choices now AND people are gravitating toward small sporty CUV’s, hot hatches, and pickup trucks. Even the ordinary American sedan is on the chopping block: how can a mediocre sports car survive in America?

    ==========================

  • avatar
    Carlo Rossi

    The brz/frs/86 is failing to sell for reasons obvious to everyone but Toyota/Subaru.

    Lack of power

    Ignore those who wax poetic about how it’s not about being fast, it’s about being fun to drive.

    Being fun to drive is fun.
    Being fast is fun.
    Being fun to drive AND fast, well gee golly that’s more fun.

    I test drove a brz. it handled like my old 240sx, and had an engine that felt about as peppy as my single carb 1.8 MGB engine. All three of those cars are better with more power. The two old cars are still more fun than the brz.

    Ever since before it came out everyone has been holding their breath waiting for someone at Subaru to trip over an errant wrx engine, scratch his head and get curious as to what the car would be like. Like a lot of people I got sick of waiting.

    The excuses from toyobaru are weak and pathetic. It doesn’t fit, the car isn’t meant to be fast! Your engineers are great, they’re up to the challenge. Make what your buyers want and you’ll make more of them.

    Sometimes I google brz turbo to see if they’ve wised up yet and get disgusted all over again.

    At the end of the day a 260-300hp BRZ would outshine those huge bulbs awd turbo stablemates that cost more. A turbo brz would rob Subaru of higher profit margin wrx/sti sales.

    The Buick GNX committed the corporate no-no of being faster than a vette.

    Amazing what a turbo did to that g body, and it’s amazing what a turbo won’t do to the brz.

    Sorry for the massive comment.

  • avatar
    Noble713

    IMO, the car wasn’t designed for the American market anyway. Any US sales are an afterthought just meant to offset the development cost of providing the coupe to Japanese customers.

    Japan doesn’t have the sort of performance car options that the US does. There’s no giant stockpile of used C6 Corvettes. The Japanese tax structure makes owning anything with a displacement over ~4.0 Liters prohibitively expensive. The limited proliferation of imported cars and lack of knowledge about repairing them crushes your wallet on maintenance. The roads are narrower and curvy, and parking space is more restricted, rewarding smaller and lighter cars.

    All that said, after-market forced-induction options are proof that the car CAN and SHOULD have more power. They could have kept the JDM N/A cars, but for the US offered a turbocharged BRZ and a supercharged 86, both with ~250whp (I’ve personally always liked the top-mounted twin-scroll superchargers for this car). But I bet the real answer is that the R&D cost wouldn’t be recovered in additional sales volume, and they frankly just didn’t care.

    • 0 avatar
      TonyJZX

      Yeah this. It makes zero sense in the US market. America has heaps of options in the $25k class.

      This car is about a $30-$40k car here and it has little real competition. You can buy a Mazda SP25 (which would be my choice) or any number of lukewarm hatches.

      IMO the interior is about no better than a mid range Camry but I’m ok with that.

      For markets without the relative variety of the US, the 86 fared a lot better, not great mind you.

      As many say, a WRX isnt that far away.

      Toyota have no need to make money on the 86, its the sunk cost thing isnt it?

  • avatar
    BIGDDESIGN

    I was the 1st out the Door with a Red Manual 86 down in Florida. Still have it, and is my Daily Driver. I love the thing. I have 5 other Cars that almost all of them go faster, but the 86 out handles and feels more like a Race Car than my other Track Ready cars. Over in Japan they are still very much a popular car. The point of the car is clearly missed from anyone other than serious drivers that understand that this car was designed to help you not get arrested, and still hoon the living crap out of it all day long. I like it much better than the S2000. Sorry guys, but the 86 is a real Race Car. You just don’t realize it. I’m just putting in a ten thousand dollar upgrade to mine. After 5 years, it’s time for some more goodies. There aren’t any parts available for these cars at all. LOL.

  • avatar
    hebekiah

    BIGDDESIGN, love your enthusiasm. Don’t know about $10K upgrade, I thought the point was that it was inexpensive? Well, till I saw one all luxuried out at a dealers. It was sweet but not what I’d imagined.

    What I had imagined was a Datsun 240Z. Even the 280Z. Enough zip to get you into interesting situations, excellent at high speed, with an ass you can wiggle around to make a screeching stop when you didn’t realize you were going triple the speed limit because it was smooth. Indeed, maybe because it was one of my first cars I have fond memories of how it fit me, sitting in it, and the car would disappear, it was just driving. Know what I mean?
    Got to regularly drive a Boss 302 and Shelby Mach 1 (shop owner’s cars that he liked to have driven) but they put the focus on them, the vehicle.

    The Datsun Zs were different and was hoping for that feeling again, realizing that it would have to be somewhat updated to be translated to this time. But the one I saw, probably a special TRD something, was way too busy interior to ever “disappear”.


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