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2023 Toyota GR86 Assessment: The Optimal Everyday Sports Car

Should you be on the lookout for a straightforward and entertaining sports car, the increasingly limited availability can be noticed. With SUVs and EVs gaining in popularity, many mainstream car manufacturers have ceased the production of coupes. Nevertheless, there are still a few superb options obtainable that are affordable, with the 2023 Toyota GR86 being one of them. Developed in partnership with Subaru, this rear-wheel-drive marvel delivers an authentic driving experience and is fitted with a 4-cylinder Boxer engine.

Knowledgeable enthusiasts will find exhilaration in comparing the GR86 with its near-twin, the Subaru BRZ, as well as the iconic Mazda MX-5 Miata. The GR86 stands out in terms of handling, value, and style.

While the exterior styling of the 2023 Toyota GR86 may not be the most daring, its neat and sleek design perfectly complements its intended role as a refined handling machine. The latest model boasts a refined look with an elongated front end, a low-profile roofline, and a sporty rear – paying homage to the classic sports car aesthetic. Its proportions are a work of art, and practical elements such as the mesh grille and vertical air intakes behind the rear wheels serve both form and function.

[See image gallery at www.thetorquereport.com]

However, let’s direct our attention to what truly distinguishes the GR86 – its exceptional handling. It outperforms sports cars that cost two, three, or even four times as much. The GR86’s appeal primarily lies in its flawless handling and precise steering. While the power may not be overwhelming, it gets the job done. These cars embody rear-wheel drive excellence, equipped with a Torsen limited-slip rear differential to optimize every twist and turn.

Beneath the hood, a Subaru 2.4-liter flat-4 engine is housed, generating 228 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque, and is paired with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. The manual variant enables the car to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 6.1 seconds, while the automatic model adds just half a second. With a torque peak at a low 3,700 rpm, which is atypical for a non-turbocharged vehicle, the GR86 delivers ample excitement to conquer any track. The manual transmission provides an exceptional driving experience, although it lacks driver-assistance technology. Opting for the automatic transmission rewards drivers with precise gear shifts and convenient paddle shifters to sustain the enjoyment.

Naturally, it would be preferable to have a bit more power under the hood, but the GR86 is not solely about 0-60 mph sprints or quarter-mile challenges. The engine supplies just enough power to make city driving effortless and offers an agile coupe experience when tackling winding roads.

Nevertheless, power is only one aspect of the equation; the true allure lies in the handling. Thanks to its strut/multi-link suspension and narrow tires, the GR86 exudes graceful composure. Base models provide a marginally smoother ride in comparison to their 18-inch tire-equipped counterparts, but all models elegantly transition into controlled oversteer with a flick of the steering wheel. The responsive and swift steering fosters a complete connection with the GR86, all without putting a strain on your finances.

Safety is crucial, but it varies based on your transmission choice. Those opting for the automatic transmission will benefit from advanced safety features such as automatic emergency braking, active lane control, automatic high-beam headlights, and adaptive cruise control. The Premium trim, regardless of the transmission, adds blind-spot monitors to the mix.

The 2023 Toyota GR86 is undoubtedly compact, with two doors, a shallow roofline, and a moderate trunk lid. Upon entering, you will encounter a cabin that is uncomplicated yet practical, with stylish touches of metallic trim that enhance the overall atmosphere.

The front seats are exceptional, providing exceptional support, ample legroom, and even sufficient headroom to accommodate a driver wearing a helmet. This is by design. In the base model, the resilient cloth seats are a bonus for track enthusiasts, albeit they lack heating.

As for the rear seats, they are best suited for additional storage, as there isn’t much legroom behind the front seats. Given the small trunk size of only 6.3 cubic feet, it’s likely that the rear seats will be utilized for additional storage space.

When it comes to pricing, the 2023 Toyota GR86 offers an appealing combination of excitement and features, all for under $30,000. Priced at $29,495, including destination charges, it comes equipped with a leather-trimmed shift boot and steering wheel, a 7.0-inch digital instrument cluster, an 8.0-inch touchscreen with seamless smartphone compatibility, power windows and locks, and comfortable cloth bucket seats. Opting for the automatic transmission adds an additional $1,500. The touchscreen and overall value each receive a strong endorsement. However, it is worth noting that the manual variant does not include the driver-assist features that are standard with the automatic.

The $32,095 GR86 Premium trim features 18-inch wheels fitted with Michelin Pilot Sport 4 summer tires. It also comes with heated front seats, synthetic leather upholstery, an enhanced eight-speaker sound system, a rear spoiler, and the convenience of blind-spot monitors.

The 2023 Toyota GR86 is a rare find. Thanks to the harmonious cooperation between Toyota and Subaru, the driving experience of the GR86 has been elevated to razor-sharp track performance, complemented by increased power, predictable and electrifying handling, and technology that encourages drivers to unleash their inner driving enthusiasts. In the broader scope of things, the Subaru-Toyota partnership represents a harmonious fusion of automotive excellence, from which we, the fortunate enthusiasts, reap the outstanding benefits. So fasten your seatbelt and relish the symphony of power, precision, and performance delivered by the 2023 Toyota GR86!

Image Source: Miro Vrlik Photography / Shutterstock


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