Ace of Base: 2017 Toyota 86

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

Toyota has long been accused of being a purveyor of somnambulant transportation, but amid rumors of a renewed Supra and Lexus finding its Nipponese NASCAR in the RC F GT concept, it appears Japan’s biggest automaker has finally input directions to the racetrack into its corporate navigation system.

Which, of course, neatly brings us to the Scion FR-S Toyota 86.

“Give us an affordable, rear-wheel drive coupe!” the internet masses shouted, before quickly retreating to their stale basements and online forums. Toyota listened, shacking up with Subaru, and working mightily to create it.

A sub-$30,000 rear-drive coupe with a stupid North American name was the first-born of that shotgun marriage, as we all know. They did it! Affordable rear-drive fun! And how did the enthusiast community repay their generosity? Sales last year were roughly half of their 2013 peak amid cries for moar powerrrrr. Ungrateful whelps.

Those who did sign the note on an FR-S (and managed to find a knowledgeable dealer) were rewarded with the rare combination of driving fun and low payments. Even Clarkson liked the thing. For 2017, Toyota ditched their Scion experiment, applied some LED mascara, slapped some 86 badges on the sides, and rummaged through the engine compartment to find an extra five horsepower … so long as buyers choose the manual transmission.

And you should. For a starting MSRP of $26,255, buyers will find a 2.0-liter boxer four-cylinder engine with 205 hp rolling on natty 17” rolling stock. Six airbags satisfy the Naderites while a seven-inch touchscreen provides decent (if not deafening) tuneage. Sadly, Party Mode is not available on this particular Toyota.

Buyers selecting the white ‘Halo’ paint will be dinged for an extra $395 but all other colors, including extrovert-friendly ‘Hot Lava’ and ‘Ablaze,’ are $0 choices. Curiously, slathering your 86 with the blue/purple ‘Oceanic’ hue alerts potential buyers that choosing this color removes the all-season tires. Assuming Toyota stores are not in the practice of delivering cars to customers on bare rims, it’s a safe assumption that — for whatever reason — different and potentially stickier rubber is included with this particular hue. If so, that’s a $0 no-brainer. Ask your dealer.

So, the 2017 Toyota 86, then. Modest increase in power, measured increase in price, cautious changes in styling. Hmm. Modest, measured, and cautious. Those are words used to describe Toyota during the years it forgot about driving fun.

At least they fixed the name.

Not every car at the Mr. Noodles end of the price spectrum has aced it. The ones which have? They help make our automotive landscape a lot better. Naturally, feel free to eviscerate our selections and let us know if there are other models you’d like included in this series.

The model above is shown with American options and is priced in Freedom Dollars. As always, your dealer will probably sell for less.

Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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  • Old Man Pants Old Man Pants on Sep 21, 2016

    All the published heights for the 86 I can find are under 53". One lists 50.6". No month will break four figures. Low threes. But excitement!

  • Russycle Russycle on Sep 21, 2016

    heh, Toyota jettisons Scion and renames this the "86". The perfect marriage of Toyota heritage and American slang.

  • MaintenanceCosts You expect everything on Amazon and eBay to be fake, but it's a shame to see fake stuff on Summit Racing. Glad they pulled it.
  • SCE to AUX 08 Rabbit (college car, 128k miles): Everything is expensive and difficult to repair. Bought it several years ago as a favor to a friend leaving the country. I outsourced the clutch ($1200), but I did all other work. Ignition switch, all calipers, pads, rotors, A/C compressor, blower fan, cooling fan, plugs and coils, belts and tensioners, 3 flat tires (nails), and on and on.19 Ioniq EV (66k miles): 12V battery, wipers, 1 set of tires, cabin air filter, new pads and rotors at 15k miles since the factory ones wore funny, 1 qt of reduction gear oil. Insurance is cheap. It costs me nearly nothing to drive it.22 Santa Fe (22k miles): Nothing yet, except oil changes. I dread having to buy tires.
  • AZFelix 2015 Sonata Limited72k when purchased, 176k miles currentlyI perform all maintenance and repairs except for alignment, tire mounting, tire patching, and glass work (tint and passenger left due to rock hit). Most parts purchased through rockauto.com.Maintenance and repairs during three years of ownership:Front rotors and all brake pads upgraded shortly after purchase.Preparing for 17th oil change (full synthetic plus filter c.$50), one PCV valve.Timing & accessory belts, belt tensioner.Coolant full flush and change.Fibrous plastic material engine under tray replaced by aftermarket solid plastic piece $110.One set of tires (c.$500 +installation) plus two replacements and a number of patches due to nails, etc. Second set coming soon.Hood struts $30.Front struts, rear shocks, plus sway bar links, front ball joints, tie rod ends, right CV axle (large rock on freeway damaged it and I took the opportunity to redo the rest of items on this list).Battery c.$260.Two sets of spark plugs @ $50/set.Three sets of cabin and engine filters.Valve cover gasket (next week).Averages out to c.$1400 per year for the past three years. Minor driver seat bolster wear, front rock chips, and assorted dents & dings but otherwise looks and drives very well.
  • 3-On-The-Tree 2014 Ford F150 Ecoboost 3.5L. By 80,000mi I had to have the rear main oil seal replaced twice. Driver side turbo leaking had to have all hoses replaced. Passenger side turbo had to be completely replaced. Engine timing chain front cover leak had to be replaced. Transmission front pump leak had to be removed and replaced. Ford renewed my faith in Extended warranty’s because luckily I had one and used it to the fullest. Sold that truck on caravan and got me a 2021 Tundra Crewmax 4x4. Not a fan of turbos and I will never own a Ford again much less cars with turbos to include newer Toyotas. And I’m a Toyota guy.
  • Duke Woolworth Weight 4800# as I recall.
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