Toyota Adopts a Time-honored Strategy for the 86 - Bring on the Special Edition!

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
toyota adopts a time honored strategy for the 86 bring on the special edition

With so much online page space taken up by the RAV4, Corolla, Camry, Tacoma and other practical, high-volume Toyota products, it’s often easy to forget that the staid and sensible automaker sells an entry-level, rear-drive sports car.

February marked a significant milestone for the Toyota 86 (née Scion FR-S), sibling to the Subaru BRZ, in that it was the first month since 2013 that didn’t see a year-over-year sales decline. That year was also the high water mark for sales.

No doubt aware of the rebranded coupe’s lagging fortunes, Toyota has adopted a time-honored method of drawing eyes back to its 86. Offer a slightly enhanced version, raise the price, and cap production numbers.

Enter the 2017 Toyota 86 860 Special Edition, which should reach customers by the end of March.

Aglow in Supernova Orange paint bisected by black racing stripes, the new variant carries the 860 moniker for a reason. And yes, you’ve probably already (correctly) guessed why. Toyota plans to sell 860 examples of the orange coupe, and another 860 decked out in Halo White.

Unlike its sister model, the 86 has only been offered in a single trim level. Until now. Basically, the newfound equipment brings the 86 860 Special Edition into the territory occupied by the BRZ Limited. No, there’s no extra horsepower, so 205 hp (in manual transmission guise) is all you’ll get to ferry around the new kit.

That radiant orange finds its way into the interior, where it can be found everywhere in the form of stitching. Joining the new threadwork are such niceties as a push-button ignition, dual zone automatic climate control, heated seats, and a new multi-function display in the gauge cluster that displays performance data. Outside, a black rear spoiler joins black chrome 17-inch wheels to dial up the contrast on this Japanese pumpkin.

Naturally, a small, numbered plaque will inform all occupants that the buyer isn’t faking this special edition.

All of this gear means a sticker price that tops a stock 86 by just under $3,000. Including delivery, a Special Edition will cost you $30,040. Add $720 to that if you’re eager to receive an automatic transmission and five fewer horses under the hood.

[Images: Toyota Motor Corporation]

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  • Spike_in_Brisbane Spike_in_Brisbane on Mar 12, 2017

    If you are eager to receive an automatic transmission, this is not the car for you. It is fun with the row your own six speed but it is as dull as dishwater with the poorly matched slush box.

  • MrIcky MrIcky on Mar 13, 2017

    Is it just the convertible that makes the Miata the answer to everything vs this which gets so much hate heaped upon it? I'm serious- I don't understand. Seems like the same people who appreciate a Miata would appreciate this for about the same reasons.

    • Caboose Caboose on Mar 13, 2017

      There are many who think they want a Miata but end up buying a coupe from another maker. I'd argue that what makes Miata "The Answer" is the low weight. That allows good handling and great driver involvement. The BRZ/FRS make about the same torque and a good deal more power (at the peak, anyway) but they are also ~400 pounds heavier than the Miata. The Miata offers a really compliant ride for what it is. A lot of reviewers call it soft. Either way, it's designed for crappy country roads in off-the-shelf form. The FRS, OTOH, feels flinty and just... gross. More than just sports-car stiff; it's crashy and yucky. I test-drove the FRS three times in a six-month period in late-'13/early-'14. I drove it again last year. I loved the looks and the interior didn't bother me. I wanted to love it, but I just couldn't pull the trigger because the engine *felt* slow unless you stayed over 4k revs All. The. Time. and the ride was sh177y. I'd've preferred a coupe, but I ended up in a Miata, too. I thought I'd miss the back seat; I don't. I'm not a fan of the super-loud cabin at highway speeds with the top up, but it handles SOOO much better while maintaining a nice ride, too. Nothing I'm saying is new, but I think the 86 would benefit from a rear-seat delete, a lot of weight loss, and the I-4 from the Camry or Corolla (or the WRX engine), if they can make one of those fit. If Toyota insists on having the 86 compete price-wise with the V6 pony cars, it'll have to go like them, too, which means a sub-5.0s 0-60.

  • Denis Jeep have other cars?!?
  • Darren Mertz In 2000, after reading the glowing reviews from c/d in 1998, I decided that was the car for me (yep, it took me 2 years to make up my mind). I found a 1999 with 24k on the clock at a local Volvo dealership. I think the salesman was more impressed with it than I was. It was everything I had hoped for. Comfortable, stylish, roomy, refined, efficient, flexible, ... I can't think of more superlatives right now but there are likely more. I had that car until just last year at this time. A red light runner t-boned me and my partner who was in the passenger seat. The cops estimate the other driver hit us at about 50 mph - on a city street. My partner wasn't visibly injured (when the seat air bag went off it shoved him out of the way of the intruding car) but his hip was rather tweaked. My car, though, was gone. I cried like a baby when they towed it away. I ruminated for months trying to decide how to replace it. Luckily, we had my 1998 SAAB 9000 as a spare car to use. I decided early on that there would be no new car considered. I loathe touch screens. I'm also not a fan of climate control. Months went by. I decided to keep looking for another B5 Passat. As the author wrote, the B5.5 just looked 'over done'. October this past year I found my Cinderella slipper - an early 2001. Same silver color. Same black leather interior. Same 1.8T engine. Same 5 speed manual transmission. I was happier than a pig in sh!t. But a little sad also. I had replaced my baby. But life goes on. I drive it every day to work which takes me over some rather twisty freeway ramps. I love the light snarel as I charge up some steep hills on my way home. So, I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Passat guy.
  • Paul Mezhir As awful as the styling was on these cars, they were beautifully assembled and extremely well finished for the day. The doors closed solidly, the ride was extremely quiet and the absence of squeaks and rattles was commendable. As for styling? Everything's beautiful in it's own way.....except for the VI's proportions were just odd: the passenger compartment and wheelbase seemed to be way too short, especially compared to the VI sedan. Even the short-lived Town Coupe had much better proportions. None of the fox-body Lincolns could compare to the beautiful proportions of the Mark was the epitome of long, low, sleek and elegant. The proportions were just about perfect from every angle.
  • ToolGuy Silhouetting yourself on a ridge like that is an excellent way to get yourself shot ( Skylining)."Don't you know there's a special military operation on?"
  • ToolGuy When Farley says “like the Millennium Falcon” he means "fully updatable" and "constantly improving" -- it's right there in the Car and Driver article (and makes perfect sense).