The Scion brand is no more, but the Scion FR-S sports coupe lives on for 2017 as the Toyota 86. It’s “everyman’s sports car” – a sporty little number that is affordable, nimble and oh so fun to drive.
The 86 is a lightweight (2,758 pounds) sports car with a sleek, sexy profile that turned heads during my test week. Lots of folks wanted to know what it was that I was driving because the 86 logo isn’t instantly recognizable.
With the “eight-six” now in the Toyota stable, there’s bad news and there’s good news for this sporty little ride. First the bad news: the 86 is not as fast as it looks. But the good news is that it’s also less expensive than it looks. Our little 2-door coupe had an MSRP of just $26,255, making it a super affordable way for drivers to get into a fun little rear-drive sports car.
Powered by a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder boxer engine that develops 205 horsepower and 156 lb.-ft. of torque (MT), the 86 doesn’t have overpowering speed. During my test week with the 86, the little coupe proved to be nimble, quick and stable in the turns. And that – turning – is what the 86 does best. The 86 has a sports car heritage, evolving from the Toyota Sports 800 (mid-1960s) and the 2000 GT (late 60s). This little car likes the long and winding road.
The transmission is either a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic. I was pretty happy to find that Toyota sent the manual version for this week’s test drive. With short throws and a smooth clutch, I had a ball pushing the little coupe around Baton Rouge streets.
The inside of the 86 cabin is pure sports car. The front cloth seats in my test 86 were well bolstered and comfortable. Synthetic suede on the dash and doors is an upscale touch. Just about all of the interior room in the 86 is in front. Like those in most cars in this segment, the tiny rear seats are impractical for anything but groceries and or other small items.
The 86 is a driver’s car. Instrumentation and gauges are simple and intuitive and there are few distractions inside the 86. The driver’s info center has a large center-mounted tachometer and a speedometer along with fuel and temperature gauges. The center stack has but three things: the touchscreen infotainment system, the climate control system and a clock. The USB and AUX ports are grouped at the bottom of the stack.
Standard equipment includes automatic climate control, manual seats, a leather trimmed tilt/telescoping steering wheel, cruise control, a rearview camera, LED taillights, aluminum sport pedals and 17-inch wheels.
The 7-inch touchscreen governs most all vehicle functions, including the Pioneer audio system and HD radio. Features include standard Bluetooth phone and music streaming, and the optional navigation package includes Aha, Yelp and TripAdvisor among other apps.
Safety tests are not yet complete, but in initial testing by the government the 2017 86 had gotten four out of five stars in frontal crash tests and five stars in rollovers. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2017 Toyota 86 its top score of “good” in every category except the difficult front overlap test, in which the 86 was “acceptable.”
The 86 has six airbags, Toyota’s STAR safety system, stability and traction control, anti-lock brakes and a hill-start assist feature.
If you’re looking to have some spring and summer fun with a sporty little number from Toyota, you’d be smart to give the 2017 86 a good, long look.
2017 Toyota 86
2.0-liter boxer 4-cylinder
6-speed manual (or 6-speed automatic)
$26,255 plus freight
EPA mileage estimates:
21 mpg city/28 mpg highway/24 mpg combined