Ace of Base: 2017 Toyota 86
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 [s]Scion FR-S[/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.
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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!
heh, Toyota jettisons Scion and renames this the "86". The perfect marriage of Toyota heritage and American slang.