Have you always wanted a little red sports car of your very own? Well, you may have just found it in the 2015 Toyota 86.
The 2015 edition of the Toyota 86 is distinguished for its light handling rather than pure power, which makes it an ideal choice for drivers that like to go tearing through hairpins. You may wish it had a bit more power when charging down a straight track, but you’ll love the way it handles corners. It has a back wheel drive, front engine, and a low center that makes driving almost intuitive.
The modifications of the 2015 over the 2012 model are subtle but welcome. The long bee-sting antenna was swapped out for a discreet shark fin, which makes it a tad sleeker without affecting radio reception. It also makes the car look more aerodynamic, although that isn’t really true.
Interior changes are also slight, chief among which is the new matte carbon fiber dashboard in lieu of “Space Invaders.” Red accents here and there alleviates the switch to a more conservative look is alleviated by the, such as in the gear knob and door handles.
The OEM radio was switched out for a Kenwood 2-DIN system, but with buttons instead of a touch screen. This makes perfect sense, as you don’t want to have to look at a touch screen to change stations or control the volume while doing 100 km/h or more! It has Bluetooth, so you can hook up your smart phone and do audio streaming or take calls. The only weird thing is that the mic is a bit too low for some people (it is where the USB jack used to be), so you may have to raise your voice to be heard clearly.
That said, everything else about the Toyota 86 remains the same. The four-cylinder drive train is still the Subaru horizontally-opposed FA20 with 205 Nm (Newton meter) of torque and 200 HP (horsepower). It still emits that low, compelling engine growl that is felt by other motorists rather than heard, so driving in traffic is not overly attention seeking. It behaves well in traffic, and consumes a reasonable 10.52 km/L. However, if you really want to feel its power, you need to go up its 6-speed gearbox an achieve a higher rpm (up to 7,500). The clutch is a bit high, but not so much to create discomfort. If you feel you need it, you can program the shift to remind you by sight or sound when you need to up the ante.
The suspension has been modified slightly to make it feel more stable, dialing down the tail-happy attitude at high speeds of the previous model. It has better damping and friction control with the new rear shock absorbers, and a stronger front sub-frame, letting you take corners without flipping out in mid-turn. The modified suspension makes it easier for the driver to “feel’ when the car is reaching its limits.
The changes are slight but definitely an improvement on what many aficionados consider an already perfect sports car. They in no way change the basic appeal of the Toyota 86, the precise and civilized performance of which puts a smile on the driver’s face.