THE 2021 Toyota 86 GTS is the latest in the Toyota family to undergo some much needed love, which correlates to updates for 2021. Well sort of, but not really. You see, we’re all waiting for the second generation to be launched at the end of this year.
Save for alterations to a few odd bits and pieces, the small sports car has not changed its general layout and style since its beginnings, seven years ago. The overall look remains low and sleek.
The exterior combination of colour, blackouts, wheels and dark tinted windows, brings the 86 together, but it’s tired. The interior hasn’t changed either since the car was first released. The dash area is dated, and there is a slight miss-match of elements.
Even the slightly newish 6.1-inch colour touchscreen looks out of place and added on. One thing that does remain good though is the front leather accented seats, with silver stitching, and seat heating.
It’s still got a real classic race car feel about it. The boot space is adequate for a weekend away for two, and the rear seats drop down, should you need more space. You’ll be unlikely to sit in them anyway, as there’s very limited legroom and ventilation back there.
Toyota has stepped up their game though, and finally included Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, with the infotainment system also including inbuilt navigation, radio and Bluetooth connectivity.
The phone connection is quick to setup and simple to use, and even offers Siri compatibility for the iPhone users among us. We found a vast improvement in the inbuilt microphone too. It’s clear and does a better job of filtering out road noise too.
The heating and air conditioning system are effective too, with quick heat up and cool down, but we suppose the cabin size comes into play a little here. It is definitely more than adequate though. There’s dual zone climate control here too.
Under the bonnet remains the 2.0-litre horizontally opposed boxer engine (sourced from Subaru), which puts out a respectable 152kW and 212Nm, which makes the 86 hurtle along quite briskly.
Fuel consumption is documented by Toyota to be 8.4-litres/100km, and in a week of driving in all conditions, we produced 9.2-litres/100km. The Toyota sourced 6-speed manual gearbox feels solid and has a great notchy feel through the gears too.
When climbing through the revs, the engine produces a distinctive growl, that’s a little smile inducing. Toyota has gone a step further and fitted the 2-door sports car with a limited-slip differential.
If you are not feeling a manual, you can opt for an automatic for an additional $2,370 on top of the purchase price. We prefer the manual though as you get to feel and drive the car more.
Sitting in the driver’s seat, your met with a nice, large white-faced tacho and speedo, showing a redline at 7,500rpm and the speedo topping out at 260km/h. It does give you a mindset that you can push it hard, and it really doesn’t feel like it minds it either.
To the right of instrument cluster is the multi-information display. This has all the vehicle temperatures and levels, including average speed and range. It also includes a diagram of the car showing ajar doors and boot, and a G-Force monitor.
Our Ignition Red test car was fitted with the optional Dynamic Performance Pack (DPP) which includes the eye-catching shadow chrome 17-inch alloys, SACHS suspension and large red Brembo brakes peeking through the spokes.
The braking performance was incredible and makes the 86 stop on a dime, not to the point where it wants to spit you out the windscreen mind you, but provides the right feel. It’s definitely reassuring.
At night the road is lit by LED headlights and fog lamps, while during the day, daytime running lamps greet passing motorists. Mind you, in a car painted in Ignition red, you won’t be missed anyway.
The 86 GTS feels composed and tight through the twisty stuff. It has a little body roll at times, and the rear can get a little squirrely when pushing hard, but overall it’s a quiet achiever. A car that can be used on-track, and as a daily driver.
The rear end also receives a black spoiler as part of the add-on package. It finishes off the look of the tail end of the car, but does feel a little cheap.
The 2021 Toyota 86 GTS is priced from $41,164 plus on-roads, with the optional performance pack adding around $2,600 to that price. It comes with a 5-year unlimited kilometre warranty, with an additional two years on the power train.
It has a 5-star ANCAP safety rating and is available in White Liquid, Ice Silver Metallic, Storm Black, Blue Pearl, Gravity Blue, Magnetic Grey, and of course, Ignition Red.
Our test vehicle was provided by Toyota Australia. To find out more about the 2021 Toyota 86 GTS, contact your local Toyota dealer.