Ace of Base: 2019 Toyota 86

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

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]

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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  • 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?

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  • Rust-MyEnemy Whoa, what the hell is wrong with Jalop1991 and his condescension? It's as if he's employed by Big Plug-In or something."I've seen plenty of your types on the forums....."Dunno what that means, but I'm not dead keen on being regarded as "A type" by a complete stranger"" I'm guessing you've never actually calculated by hand the miles you've driven against the quantity of gas used--which is your actual miles per gallon."Guess again. Why the hell would you even say that? Yes, I worked it out. Fill-to-fill, based on gas station receipts. And it showed me that a Vauxhall Astra PHEV, starting out with a fully charged PHEV battery, in Hybrid mode, on my long (234-mile) daily motorway daily commute, never, over several months, ever matched or beat the economy of the regular hybrid Honda Civic that I ran for a similar amount of time (circa 5000 miles)."You don't use gasoline at all for 30-40 miles as you use exclusively battery power, then your vehicle is a pure hybrid. Over 234 miles, you will have used whatever gas the engine used for 200 of those miles."At least you're right on that. In hybrid mode, though, the Astra was using battery power when it wasn't at all appropriate. The petrol engine very rarely chimed in when battery power was on tap, and as a result, the EV-mode range quickly disappeared. The regular hybrid Civic, though, deployed its very small electric reserves (which are used up quickly but restore themselves promptly), much more wisely. Such as when on a trailing throttle or on a downward grade, or when in stop-start traffic. As a result, at the end of my 234 miles, the Civic had used less gas than the Astra. Moreover, I hadn't had to pay for the electricity in its battery.I look forward to you arguing that what actually happened isn't what actually happened, but I was there and you were not."Regardless, that you don't understand it appears not to have stopped you from pontificating on it. Please, do us all a favor--don't vote."You really are quite unpleasant, aren't you. But thanks for the advice.
  • Tassos Jong-iL Electric vehicles are mandated by 2020 in One Korea. We are ahead of the time.
  • 1995_SC Can you still get some of the tax credits under the new program?
  • Analoggrotto HyundaiGenesisKia saw this coming a long time ago and are poised for hybrid and plug-in hybrid segment leadership:[list=1][*] The most extensive range of hybrids[/*][*]Highest hybrid sales proportion over any other model [/*][*]Best YouTube reviews [/*][*]Highest number of consumer reports best picks [/*][*]Class leading ATPs among all hybrid vehicles and PHEVs enjoy segment bearing eATPs[/*][/list=1]While some brands like Toyota have invested and wasted untold fortunes into full range electric lineups HyundaiKiaGenesis has taken the right approach here.