The Toyota GR Corolla may be the latest fan favorite on the Toyota shelf of the Gaju Racing Performance Car, but it won’t let you be distracted by the brand new and already sold 2022 Toyota GR86. Of course, you’ll eventually be able to give a gonzo markup for a rally-breed, turbocharged Corolla hot hatch. And it may well be worth the wait. That said, the GR86 is already in the dealership; It’s beyond pleasure to drive, and the price is higher than agreed.
From the moment you open the door and enter, there is no doubt that the GR86 is a car designed for driving enthusiasts. The seat is located under the car, low enough that it will annoy anyone who does not value the low H-point. You drop, and everything is spot on ergonomics. The steering wheel has enough adjustment to make anyone comfortable. My right hand is lying happily and comfortably across the center console, and the shift knob will happen right there. This is much more satisfying than sitting next to a proper, manual handbrake shifter and pressing a small button every time you park or take off. Even the paddles are perfectly positioned, and while the clutch is light, it provides all the feel and response you need.
The GR86 won’t win any prizes for having the most beautiful or feature-packed cabin, but the offer to buy is good for it. Instead of pumping it up with modern technologies like multi-color ambient lighting, huge touch control displays and exterior materials, the GR86 prefers simplicity. Fantastic extra items like them that are great Oh And Ahhh A, but they’re not going to slam through gear or flow through your favorite street.
There is beauty in a car with Only 228 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. I know, it’s weird to be happy that a car isn’t more powerful than that, but in the case of the GR86, more power won’t necessarily be associated with more fun. Toyota says the new 2.4-liter naturally ambitious Boxer-Four is enough to inspire a two-door coupe at 0-60 miles per hour in just 6.1 seconds. So, you’re still fast enough to get back in the seat, but not so fast that full throttle applications are just a Stabbed and out Before you grossly break the speed limit.
You may feel the same way about the previous 86, but the new engine has fixed its biggest flaw: a mid-range torque dip is so obvious that it will forever serve as the ultimate example of a “mid-range torque dip.” The strangeness of that engine throughout the entire run of the previous generation was enough to leave a sour taste in my mouth, but now it’s gone, and the new Boxer-Four delivers a beautiful crescent of torque up to the redline. The pipe-in-but-real-eating sound is matched by the fake sound played on the speakers – if we had druids, we’d stop the fake nonsense – working overtime to smooth out the discomfort of this high-rising engine. It’s still a buzzing and vibrating Subaru four-cylinder, but there’s a layer of refinement that takes it one step further from the old 2.0-liter. This, combined with fixing that annoying torque dip, transforms the Toyobaru twins from exceptional handling machines with sophisticated engines to complete the sports car experience. No asterisks required.
The chassis combines joy with this new engine. It’s easy to control (and with it being a hooligan) as it gets for rear-drive sports cars. Much of this feeling is due to it being so light – our premium manual transmission tester points the scales at just 2,833 pounds.
The GR86 enters every corner with interest and desire. Relatively small brakes – you don’t need much to stop this car – clamp with authority whenever you step on hard pedals and the mass around you will never feel heavy. Haste speeds up and then you can taste how nicely balanced the car is through a corner. Enter, and as long as you care you can dance in the side-shenanigan with the edge of confidence-inspiring neutrality and throttle. Seeing a hairpin on a lonely street? Just kick the throttle, and the back please set yourself on a controllable and comfortable slide.
Now, keep in mind that this version of the GR86 made it easy to swing the rear end with the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S summer tires. Get the base model with Prius-spec rubber, and it requires even less effort. If your main inspiration goes sideways, though, I’m still in favor of premium trim and its performance tires. They’re skinny with 215-section-width patches on the four corners, and they’re eager to make you happy. If you want to hold the car and stick it in a fast corner, they are happy to force the speed. Meanwhile, they don’t take too far away from the restless lust for car availability and slip angles.
You can learn a lot about car control with GR86. Its steering rack is one of the most felt in the business – one of the few electric racks. The low gravity – thanks to the Boxer engine – brings you closer to the car’s balance and grip level. Also, the traction control and stability control systems are seemingly tuned to the minds of tire-smoke-happy enthusiasts. You can easily turn it off, play with ESC track mode, or keep all systems on to direct the car straight forward. Choose your personality.
As some new enthusiast-oriented vehicles have shown us, small things like climate and audio control should not be taken for granted. GR86 does this test with some controls that are easy to use (and read) in business. Combine the bevel of the knob and the switch with Subaru’s basic-but-user-friendly infotainment system and make the cabin a model for maximum functionality and simplicity. If the job is just going from A to B, there is no hassle to get in your way.
Of course, the ride isn’t going to be cuddle, and the result of Toyota’s higher rear spring rate vs. BRZ is a ride with more rigidity than just a Smidgen felt from the rear of the car. That said, spending a long time on the highway is a little more peaceful than previous generations of cars because of the secluded cabin. Although, don’t expect any amount of luxury here. The premium trim has heated Alcantara and leather-covered seats and has a respectable-sounding JBL audio system for enjoyment inside. Stop at the door more than those expectations.
The GR86 is a budget sports car, and it works well with this formula as well as anything else on the market today. If you’re open to the convertible, the Miata is a small bundle of its own pleasure, but nothing else with a fixed roof offers the same level of fun and engagement as the GR86 (and Subaru BRZ) for the price.
I would even bet that it is the lowest price on the fan-per-dollar scale for the performance cars available for purchase in 2022. Even when you compare the GR86 with a similarly driven front-drive performance car, it looks like a burning deal. A GTI starts at $ 31,270 these days. The Civic C isn’t exactly much cheaper at $ 28,315, and the Elantra N $ 33,195. My GR86 Premium Tester (with some minor add-ons) came in at an agreed 32,432. Of course, if you want a few of these small, sporty cars right now, you’re probably more likely to go for the markup, but if you have to pay more for any of them, the GR86 is one. If you like its styling, choose Subi, but I’d rather look at the GR86 on the driveway.