2022 Toyota GR86 Premium Review – Same as It Ever Was, Thankfully
2022 Toyota GR86 Premium Fast Facts
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 And a little outdated, despite being a key component of a refresh.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 The changes aren’t a perfect success – as noted above, the interior feels a bit outdated, despite having a new infotainment system and a new digital display.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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Rumor is the Subaru has a bit more pleasant ride?