Ace of Base: 2019 Toyota 86

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
ace of base 2019 toyota 86

Gearheads are never satisfied, are we? After years of carping that no affordable and fun sports cars exist, Toyota deigns to grant our wishes with the FR-S 86 coupe. Lightweight and affordable with just enough power, the lively little scamp seemed to be the magic elixir that cures a case of the common car.

And what did we do? Criticize it, naturally. And then most of us refused to buy it. I sincerely hope the new Supra doesn’t suffer the same fate because – as a statement of intent – these cars are a couple of belters.

Base 86 coupes start at $26,455 for the 2019 model year, a sum exactly equal to that of last year’s car.

That 2.0-liter boxer engine that causes so many arguments at the pub produces 205 horsepower at a heady 7,000 rpm, with torque peaking 600 rpm earlier at 156 lb-ft. Fun fact: Toyota says the engine’s “square “ dimensions (equal bore and stroke) are 86mm. There’s a fact to stump all hands at trivia night. Standard-issue manual transmission models make 5 hp more than their slushbox brethren, further cementing the case for a stick in this car. Toyota does specify premium go-juice, so plan that into your operating budget. Seventeen-inch wheels appear on the base car wrapped in 215/45R17 rubber.

Count your author amongst the cadre of people who think the 86 looks better in person than in photos — one of the reasons why I’m willing to delay final judgement on the new Supra until I see it in person, despite the thing resembling an automotive tribute to the noble lungfish (based on images from the show floor in Detroit). Recall the A80 Supra for which all hands pine today was also crapped upon for its bug-eyed headlights and baseball-sized taillamps when it went on sale 25 years ago.

Color-keyed outside mirrors, dual chrome-tipped exhaust finishers, and LED lamps are all present and accounted for on the cheapest 86. Neato “vortex generators” and a diffuser-style rear bumper are dandy styling flourishes one can brag about at Cars & Coffee. Air conditioning and all that gear makes for a nicely equipped interior, available on the base car in any color you want so long as it’s black.

So appreciate this sporty offering (and its just-introduced brother) while they’re here. If we remain a bunch of ungrateful whelps, Toyota might make like a frustrated parent and send us all to bed without our supper.

[Images: Toyota]

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  • Cantankerous Cantankerous on Jan 17, 2019

    I once owned a car with a steep torque curve that peaked only a few hundred rpm below the engine's 7700 rpm redline. I had to constantly row the gearbox to achieve even halfway acceptable response to depressing the accelerator pedal. Was it fun to drive? Yeah, I guess, but what I wouldn't have given for 50 lb-ft more torque that peaked about 2000 rpm lower. Living near the redline tends to make for ridiculously high oil consumption down the road. I'd buy this car with someone else's money--but not with my own.

  • Jh26036 Jh26036 on Jan 17, 2019

    Has the Subaru WRX ever featured on the AoB?

  • Tassos Now as for the Z specifically, Car and Driver had a comparison test of the new Z400, a car that looks good on paper, with plenty of HP etc, but, despite the fact that the cars that win in those tests are usually brand new models that are more up to date than their aging rivals, the Z finished DEAD LAST in the test, to my ovbious surprise.
  • Arthur Dailey Sorry but compare that spartan interior to the Marks that Corey is writing about. 'A cigarette lighter'. Every Mark had 4 cigarette lighters and ashtrays. And these came standard with 'a 3.4-liter, 182-horsepower straight-six in the engine compartment and a five-speed manual transmission'. Those do not tick off many of the luxury boxes aspired to by 'the greatest generation'.Not sure about the 7 series but one of My Old Man's associates showed up once with a brand new 5 series circa 1977 and they gave him such a bad time that he traded it for a Fleetwood within a week.
  • Tassos I clearly have no sentimental attachment to any cars from the 80s. I myself drove a Dasher (passat) wagon with horrible reliability, and then a Pontiac 2000, very fuel efficient for its time with its 1.8 lt and 5 speed, but a small econobox crudely made, with no luxuries inside. But most other cars of the era were really CRAPPY, unsafe, both in terms of passive AND active safety, had very few options modern cars have, etc etc. The best car I owned then was a 1991 Honda Civic 5-sp hatch, but that was also an 80s design that was on sale from 1987-1991. Not just the domestics were crappy then, but so were m ost of the imports. As you can see, I have ZERO "nostalgia" for any of these, especially not for the unreliable, poorly made JUNK from DATSUN-NISSAN, which is widely reviled overseas as a maker of small pickup trucks that are the favorites of Gypsies selling watermelons from their bed.
  • Tassos While Acura was the first Japanese attempt to sell 'luxury' (or "premium") vehicles in the US market, and despite its original good success in the near-luxury segment with the Legend and the far smaller and less expensive Itegra (a glorified Civic), it later lost its momentum and offered a series of underwhelming vehicles. It sure is not a LUXURY maker, and as long as it offers FWD or AWD and NOT RWD vehicles, it will never be taken seriously as a serious sports cars maker. Infiniti is much worse, and if both of them go under, few will notice. Lexus was more successful, offering pimped up TOyotas for 10,000s more, but there is NO vehicle in their lineup, esp now that they scewed up the only serious entry (the LS), that I would care to consider. AND I say all this as a very satisfied owner of 5-speed Honda coupes and hatchbacks (a 1991 Civic hatch and a 1990 Accord Coupe).
  • Mike Beranek Yet another reason to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles charged with energy from wind & solar with modern, non-Monty Burns nuclear as a backup.