2022 Toyota GR86 Premium Review – Same as It Ever Was, Thankfully

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

Fast Facts

2022 Toyota GR86 Premium Fast Facts

2.4-liter four-cylinder (228 horsepower @ 7,000 RPM, 184 lb-ft @ 3,700 RPM)
Transmission/Drive Layout
Six-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Fuel Economy (U.S., MPG).
20 city / 27 highway / 22 combined (EPA Rating)
Fuel Economy (Canada, L/100km)
11.9 city / 8.7 highway / 10.5 combined (NRCan Rating)
Base Price
$30,300 (U.S.) / $37,704.50 (Canada)
Price As-Tested
$32,975 (U.S.) / $38,288.67 (Canada)
Prices include $1,025 destination charge in the United States and $1,960 for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and, because of cross-border equipment differences, can’t be directly compared.
2022 toyota gr86 premium review same as it ever was thankfully

Cheap speed is almost always welcome, even if there are sacrifices made.

Such is the case with the 2022 Toyota GR86 – it’s a blast to drive, but you make sacrifices for the sake of fun.

The backseat, for example, isn’t really usable for most adults. The ride is stiff and entry and exit into this low-slung coupe can be a pain for the taller set or those dealing with health issues that make bending challenging. Long highway stints are noisy, thanks mostly to engine drone.

Not only that, but the interior is, uh, a bit downmarket. And a little outdated, despite being a key component of a refresh.

On the other hand, the steering is heavy, precise, and direct. The tail is tossable. And while acceleration from the new 2.4-liter horizontally-opposed “boxer” engine (228 horsepower, 184 lb-ft of torque) isn’t ass-kicking, it’s swift enough. Oh, and the shifter and clutch for the six-speed manual work well together – the shifter is a pleasure to operate.

This is a car that needs to be tracked, preferably at a slower, more technical track than one with long straightaways. But it’s still fun to drive around town.

Again, to an extent. As noted above, there are compromises, and they make themselves known. It would probably be a bit annoying to daily a GR86, even if you never used the backseat and your local roads were made of smooth pavement. Even if you never dealt with rain or snow and the effects inclement weather tends to have on a lightweight rear-drive coupe.

But as a weekend or track-day toy, for relatively cheap – a tick over 30 grand – the GR86 shines.

It always has done that, yet Toyota set out to improve the car’s flaws. The changes aren’t a perfect success – as noted above, the interior feels a bit outdated, despite having a new infotainment system and a new digital display.

A more important change is the 2.4-liter engine that replaces the previous 2.0-liter four. The bump in power does drop 0.9 seconds off the claimed 0-60 time for the manual and 1.4 from the automatic, but it’s hard to notice the difference during seat-of-the-pants testing.

There are only two trims available – base and Premium, and my Premium test unit came with 18-inch wheels, Torsen limited-slip differential (the suspension is MacPherson strut in front and multi-link in the rear), blind-spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert, color-matching duckbill spoiler, keyless entry and starting, functional bumper inlets and fender vents, dual-zone climate control, LED lighting, adaptive front lighting, chrome-tipped dual exhaust, heated front seats, Bluetooth, USB port, Android Auto, Apple Carplay, and satellite radio.

Options included the paint job, GR-specific shift knob and air filter, an accessory package, rear-bumper applique, auto-dimming rearview mirror, door edge guards, and carpeted floor and cargo mats. That and freight took this car’s price from $30,300 to $32,975.

That’s a relative bargain.

Toyota – with help from Subaru, of course – has cooked up a fun-to-drive little run about. Boosting the power gives the car a bit more verve, though, again, pure power isn’t the GR86’s reason for existence. This a car meant for the curves, and that hasn’t changed.

There are tradeoffs involved in driving a car like this. But hit a corner the right way, and they’re worth it.

What’s New for 2022

The engine gets a displacement bump from 2.0 liters to 2.4. The infotainment system is updated and there are some other minor changes.

Who Should Buy It

The weekend warrior and those in pursuit of cheap fun.

[Images © 2023 Tim Healey/TTAC, Toyota]

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4 of 22 comments
  • ToolGuy ToolGuy on May 03, 2023

    22 MPG combined. 🙃

    • Analoggrotto Analoggrotto on May 03, 2023

      Depends how it's driven. Otherwise who cares, the Tesla Model 3 Long Range is back for them.

  • Kosmo Kosmo on May 03, 2023

    I've aged out of a car like this, but thrilled it still exists.

    Rumor is the Subaru has a bit more pleasant ride?

    • N N on May 03, 2023

      You NEVER 'age out' of a car like this. I'm 65, and absolutely love mine. It's a retro throwback to the sports cars of the 1960's/1970's I drove back in the day, a modern version of a MGB-GT, Fiat 124, Opel GT. Except with twice the power, more comfort, and much better safety and heating/AC. Driving one puts a smile on my face every time.

  • SCE to AUX 1000 miles/month still works out to $30/month, similar to my cost in PA.The real effect of this gimmick is to show how cheap it is to operate an EV. But I guess even $30-ish/month for a year ends up saving maybe 1% off the effective price of the car.Other EV mfrs can't even build batteries yet, let alone think of clever ideas like this.
  • MRF 95 T-Bird In 1986 the Yugo was listed as $3990, which was the lowest priced car in America at the time. The base Hyundai Excel was listed at $1k more at $4995. I knew someone at the time who purchased a base Excel hatchback in red with a four speed. I think he added an aftermarket stereo. He was trading in a Renault Alliance that he purchased a few years earlier for about $5k.
  • SCE to AUX Good summary.I still think autonomous driving should be banned until some brave mfr claims Level 5 capability, and other distractions like games and videos should only be available for stationary vehicles.As for the A/C, I just turn a knob in my Hyundai EV.
  • MrIcky My bet is flood.
  • Lou_BC "A Stellantis employee recommended the change after they had a near-miss with an emergency vehicle they couldn’t hear."I was at a traffic light and the car next to me had the stereo cranked. My whole truck was vibrating. A firetruck was approaching lights and sirens. They should have seen it since it was approaching from their side. Light changed and they went. It was almost a full on broad-side. People are stupid. A green light at an intersection does not mean it is safe to go. You still have to look especially at a "fresh" green. Idiots run the light, an emergency vehicle is coming, or it's icy and vehicles can't stop.