While it would look pretty totally different from its forebear, the 2022 Toyota GR86 retains a contented face. I like the way in which the brand new coupe appears to be like, particularly slathered in Toyota’s Track bRed paint (look, I did not give you the identify), a $425 choice. It performs effectively in opposition to the darkish parts within the entrance bumper, window trim and 18-inch alloy wheels. My tester’s Premium trim additionally features a somewhat distinguished wing, giving the rear some additional aggression.The exterior was by no means anybody’s main supply of criticism with the unique 86, however the inside was, and Toyota made good strides in beefing up its high quality. The 2022 GR86 has a way more engaging cabin, with a layered dashboard that eliminates the unique’s over-reliance on flat, ineffective surfaces.Material selections are higher, particularly in Premium trim, the place microfiber suede combines with leather-based within the seats, steering wheel and shifter for a extra grownup cockpit. This is an reasonably priced sports activities automotive, although, so exhausting plastics are nonetheless in every single place. Other than the odd occasional creak throughout driving, I’m an enormous fan of what Toyota’s achieved contained in the GR86.The Toyota GR86 can be a bit simpler to stay with than its main competitor, the Mazda MX-5 Miata. The door panels have storage pockets, albeit small ones. But they pair effectively with a surprisingly capacious cubby below the middle armrest’s clamshell door, which has cup holders vast sufficient for medium-size Nalgenes. The trunk is strong, too, providing 6.3 cubic toes of house: That might not seem to be a lot, however it’s much better than the Miata’s 4.6-cubic-foot boot.But you are not contemplating the Toyota GR86 as a result of it is sensible. You’re right here for enjoyable, and also you’re in luck, as a result of the GR86 provides it in spades. Under the hood is a 2.4-liter naturally aspirated flat-4 engine, and it eliminates the previous mannequin’s want for extra energy. 228 horsepower and 184 pound-feet might not appear like a lot on paper, however it appears like an enormous bump when driving, due to the torque arriving at a way more acceptable 3,700 rpm as a substitute of the earlier technology’s 6,400 rpm. Pulling and passing are potential in practically any gear at any velocity, decreasing the necessity for pointless shifting, however I nonetheless discover myself letting the revs climb, because the GR86’s engine notice retains getting louder and higher because the tach needle rises.A six-speed computerized transmission is out there, however my tester sports activities a six-speed handbook. It’s an excellent setup, however it’s not good. The clutch is properly weighted, however the chunk level is a bit too excessive for my style, stopping some shifts from feeling as clean as they may in any other case. Throttle modulation is straightforward when the automotive is in gear, however the by-wire system appears to react inconsistently when beginning off and when blipping for downshifts, resulting in some awkward lurches. There’s additionally a good bit of rev dangle, requiring some quick pauses throughout upshifts for the smoothest engagement. The stick itself is exact, however the throws are a bit lengthy, and first gear sometimes requires some finesse to enter the gate utterly.
The inside is a lot nicer than earlier than. Andrew Krok/CNETAs you would possibly anticipate from a compact sports activities automotive that hugs the bottom, the experience high quality is not precisely pillowy. The GR86 rides extra stiffly than the common Miata, however some physique roll exists to speak limits earlier than issues get actually foolish. But by means of the corners of Michigan’s winding forest roads, the GR86 feels nice, making me need to take each flip a bit quicker than earlier than. 215/40R18 Michelin Pilot 4 summer time tires present greater than sufficient grip, and leaning on the fuel too early will get the rear finish squirming a bit. Just a little theater retains issues vigorous. The solely actual bummer right here is highway noise, which creeps into the cabin from seemingly each angle.The Environmental Protection Agency charges the handbook GR86 at 20 mpg metropolis and 27 mpg freeway, numbers that I really feel are literally on the low aspect. My metropolis mileage is nearer to 22 or 23, and I’m recurrently seeing freeway stretches in extra of 30 mpg, so a lightweight foot can go a great distance.Tech was one other main shortcoming within the first-generation 86, however Toyota has you coated there, too. Replacing the previous infotainment system is an 8-inch touchscreen operating a bare-bones model of Subaru’s Starlink software program — a reminder that this automotive and the BRZ coupe are kissin’ cousins. It’s not precisely fairly, or heavy on options, however it provides Apple CarPlay and Android Auto by means of its 2.1-amp USB-A ports, and responsiveness is excessive sufficient for every day use with out frustration. A brand new 7-inch digital gauge cluster does not have the flashiest graphics on the block, however all of the pertinent info on show is straightforward to learn at a look, and who does not love an enormous ol’ tachometer entrance and middle?
Who does not love a enjoyable, reasonably priced sports activities automotive? Andrew Krok/CNETThe GR86 is a blended bag on the protection entrance. Premium-trim handbook fashions are restricted to blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, and base fashions get neither. If you need to step as much as the package deal that features computerized emergency braking, adaptive cruise management and lane-departure warning, it’s essential go for the automated transmission. That’s an enormous bummer, as different automakers have included these programs into stick-shift automobiles with little problem.Even although the 2022 Toyota GR86 picks up plenty of main upgrades, its value stays reasonably priced. A base GR86 will set you again $28,725 together with $1,025 in vacation spot costs, whereas the Premium trim brings that as much as $31,325 by including fancier inside surfaces and higher tech. My tester rings in at an inexpensive $32,432, due to the flamboyant pink paint, some varied equipment and carpeted ground mats. That places it proper in rivalry with the Mazda MX-5 Miata, a convertible with comparable pricing and a barely softer method to the sports-car way of life.Toyota answered the desires of many lovers with the 2022 GR86. It rides a bit extra like a sports activities automotive, the inside now not feels extraordinarily low-cost and the powertrain picked up a bunch of get-up-and-go. It’s an enormous enchancment that is each bit as enjoyable.