Several decades of car production have proven Toyota needs no help in developing successful vehicles. But part of success is knowing where your weaknesses lie, and so when Toyota wanted to add a small sports coupe to its lineup, it turned to Subaru, a partnership that five years ago spawned the Scion FR-S. Following Scion's demise, that car was last year reborn as the Toyota 86.
For 2018, the 86 returns with a new GT trim level that marks the only change to this diminutive four-seater.
While Toyota was responsible for the look of this car (sold by Subaru as the BRZ), Subie looked after the mechanicals, which explains the horizontally-opposed four-cylinder engine under the hood, a Subaru hallmark. As before, that 2.0L engine makes 205 hp and 156 lb-ft of torque with a standard six-speed manual transmission or 200 hp and 151 lb-ft with the optional six-speed automatic. Enthusiasts have been clamoring for more power since the FR-S's introduction in 2013, but the engineers behind the car say its platform won't allow for turbocharging.
That's a bummer, but let's not forget the 86 is still a fine little sports car in its own right. One of the upsides of its modest power is that you can drive the car flat out and not have to worry about instantly breaking speed laws as you would in more potent cars. As they say, it's more fun to drive a slow car quickly than a fast car slowly.
Toyota's closest competition here (aside from the BRZ, of course) is Mazda's MX-5. That car rides a bit softer, comes with less power and lacks a back seat, but it is still a formidable foe in the handling arena. To find other cars to cross-shop, you have to look at used Porsche Boxsters and BMW Z4s.
This year's new GT trim adds some tech, styling and convenience features, including passive keyless entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, leather upholstery, fog lights, a rear spoiler and a 4.2-inch vehicle performance display.
A base model returns with an eight-speaker sound system, 7.0-inch infotainment touchscreen, automatic single-zone A/C, cruise control and keyless entry.
Fuel consumption estimates for the 2018 Toyota 86 are 11.3/8.3 L/100 km (city/highway) with the stickshift and 9.9/7.3 with the automatic.
This vehicle has not yet been reviewed