2019 Toyota 86 GT Review

2019 Toyota 86 GT - Toyota's 86 GT takes on small coupe competition

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When GT is part of the name of a coupe, more than likely one
thinks of Ford Mustang GT, not Toyota 86 GT.

There are
reasons for this. The iconic Mustang has been around since 1964 and the 86 GT
is relatively new (2017) to the United States market.

The
Mustang GT has a 5-liter, 460-horsepower V8 engine mated to either a 10-speed
automatic or six-s-speed manual transmission. The 86 GT settles for a 2-liter,
205-horsepower four-cylinder engine mated to either a six-speed automatic or
manual transmission.  Guess which performs better.  Then
guess which costs more.  Ford's GT accelerates from 0 to 60 miles per
hour in 4.9 seconds, according to automotive media testing. Toyota's GT settles
for 0 to 60 mph in 7.7 seconds. The Mustang fastback has a starting price of
$35,355 and can quickly skyrocket past the $55,000 mark. The 86 GT begins at
$26,665 and will not surpass $32,500.

There are
similarities. Both engines prefer premium fuel. Both are rear-wheel-drive and
have minimal  leg room behind the front bucket seats for assumed
seating of two passengers in rear buckets. The rear seating area is there for
automobile insurance purposes. A coupe with seating for two presumably is more
expensive to insure than a coupe with seating for four.

Both
offer the same rhythmic road ride in sound and feel. Expect to feel the road's
bumps and imperfections although the ride will be less harsh in the Mustang GT
than in the 86 GT. Soothing and quiet rides are not highlights of low-slung
sport coupes.

Mustang GT and 86 GT are not direct
competitors. The Mustang is in a higher class where primary competitors are the
Chevrolet Camaro, Dodge Challenger and Nissan Z.

Primary
competition for this two-door 86 GT coupe comes from  the Subaru WRX,
which can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 6 seconds. Other rear-wheel-drive subcompact
rivals include  Mazda's convertible, the MX-5 Miata, which does the 0
to 60 routine in 6.7 seconds and its virtual clone, the Fiat 124 Spyder. Prices
are similar and so are powertrains for these small coupes/ roadsters.

Most
recently an 86 GT was tested and the ride was, as expected, sporty. Road
surface noise and feel were prominent. Nevertheless, on a 600-mile jaunt with
one person aboard (the driver) it proved to be an economical ride. The trip was
mostly on Interstates with 70-mile-per-hour speed limits. Naturally, the speed
limit was reached and, for the most part, maintained.  Average fuel
usage was 33.9 miles per gallon.

The flat boxer engine (four
cylinders facing each other, two on each side) sits as far back as possible in
the engine bay to better balance the weight of the vehicle and give as much
traction as possible to the rear wheels. Even so, 53 percent of the weight is
in front allotting 47 percent to the rear.  The 86 GT kept its balance
and flawlessly moved through mild curves as well as tight bends in roadways.

One
comforting thought is that the 86 GT not only has 17-inch Michelin tires
(performance), but that there is a temporary spare in the trunk. Sometimes
these low-slung cars, especially convertibles, do not have storage space for a
spare and opt for runflat tires or an air inflation kit. On a long trip, a
spare stored under the trunk floor is reassuring.

The
infotainment system with a seven-inch color touchscreen is OK but nothing to
brag about. On the tested 86 GT it included eight speakers, Bluetooth, AM-FM
radio, Aha, USB and smartphone port. Podcasts via the smartphone apparatus
should provide adequate entertainment  on short or long drives.

Niceties
included leather trim, power front driver's seat plus power windows, exterior
heated mirrors (front seats also heated) and door locks. Standard are
pushbutton start and stop, smart keyless entry (includes trunk), carpeted floor
mats, folding rear seatback, intermittent wipers, cruise control and air
conditioning.

Safety includes front and side airbags, front
and rear overhead airbags, traction and stability controls, antilock braking
system, tire pressure monitor, seatbelts and headrests, rearview backup camera
and hill-start assist. Especially with a stick shift and less so with an
automatic transmission, hill-start assist is a blessing.

The
86 GT  began as the Scion FR-S, which was sold in the U.S. from 2012
to 2016. Toyota shelved its Scion marque in 2016  but kept the FR-S alive
by renaming it the 86 GT. Sales of the "new" Toyota 86 GT began in
2017 in the U.S.

FAST FACTS

Vehicle:
2019 Toyota 86 GT

Type: two-door, four-occupant,
rear-wheel-drive subcompact coupe

Price: $28,585

Engine:
2-liter, 205-horsepower, boxer four-cylinder

Transmission:
six-speed manual

Fuel: premium

Fuel tank:
13.2 gallons

Tires, wheels: 17-inch, temporary spare

Brakes:
discs, 11.6-inch front, 11.4-inch rear

Suspension: struts
front, multi-link rear, stabilizer bars

Weight: 2,776 pounds

Wheelbase,
length, width, height, ground clearance in inches: 101.2, 166.7, 69.9, 50.6,
4.9

Leg room: 41.9 inches front, 29.9 inches rear

Trunk:
6.9 cubic feet

Turning diameter: 36.1 feet

Warranty:
three years or 36,000 miles, five years or 60,000 miles powertrain

Assembly:
Japan

Information: www.toyota.com/86










Jerry Kuyper

Born on a southwestern Minnesota farm, Jerrold E. Kuyper quickly became familiar with tractors, pickup trucks and related agricultural equipment. He left that behind to graduate from Augsburg College in Minneapolis and attend graduate schools in Evanston and Chicago. He was hired as a reporter for the Kenosha News, a daily newspaper in Kenosha, WI. After a stint of a dozen years at the Kenosha News, he became a columnist, layout, page and sections editor at the Northwest Herald, a daily newspaper based in Crystal Lake, IL serving northwest Chicago suburban communities.

While with the Northwest Herald he helped create, write reviews and opinion columns as well as edit the newspaper's Wheels section, a 16- to 40-page broadsheet that appeared weekly in the newspaper's Friday edition. Wheels was devoted to reviews of new vehicles, looks at automotive history, current trends in the automobile world and columns by automotive enthusiasts. Midwest Automotive Media Association members who contributed to reviews and columns included Mitch Frumkin, Phil Arendt, Matt Joseph and James Flammang as well as photo journalist Doug Begley and dragster specialist Fred Blumenthal.

Kuyper, who lives in Salem Lakes, WI, is a founding member of MAMA, is married, has three children and six grandchildren.