What's in a name? Not much if we're discussing the 2017 Toyota 86. That's because this car is simply a rebadged Scion FR-S, the rear-wheel-drive compact sport coupe that debuted four years ago. Toyota dropped its youth-focused Scion subbrand last year and has gathered some of its models under the Toyota flag, the 86 among them. There's some full-circle symmetry to the name, however, as the 86 draws inspiration from an iconic mid-1980s Toyota Corolla widely known by its internal code name, AE86. Maybe there's more in a name after all.
Like the AE86 before it, the 86 is a back-to-basics sports car, a lightweight two-door with rear-wheel drive and an emphasis on handling over power. Designed as a joint project with Subaru, which sells its own version (the Subaru BRZ), the car shows obvious Subaru cues, including a horizontally opposed (a.k.a. "boxer") engine and liberal use of Subaru switchgear throughout the cabin. The differences between the two are primarily equipment offerings and suspension tuning.
The 2017 Toyota 86 remains largely the same as the 2016 FR-S, with no significant changes to the engine, transmission or chassis. The 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is spiffed with 5 more horsepower (205 hp total) when you choose the six-speed manual transmission. Models with the six-speed automatic transmission remain at 200 hp. The manual transmission also has revised gearing that Toyota says should improve acceleration. We have yet to test this year's 86, but we don't expect it to be dramatically quicker than before.
The 86's lack of substantial change from its Scion predecessor isn't a bad thing. On the contrary, the FR-S' light and nimble nature made it one of our favorites, a car that made you find excuses to take it for an aimless spin. Power output is modest, but the 86's handling is excellent, especially with light modifications such as stickier performance tires (the 86's from-the-factory tires are only modestly grippy). A second-generation 86 model could arrive for 2019, so it's likely any comprehensive changes — like more engine power — will have to wait until then.
trim levels & features
The 2017 Toyota 86 comes in two trim levels: base and the new 860 Special Edition. Power comes from a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 205 horsepower and 156 pound-feet of torque when paired to a six-speed manual transmission. Power dips slightly to 200 hp and 151 lb-ft when equipped with the automatic transmission. The 86 is rear-wheel-drive only.
Standard equipment on base models includes 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic LED headlights, air-conditioning, keyless entry, a height-adjustable driver seat, a leather-wrapped, tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, cruise control and a rearview camera. Tech features include Bluetooth connectivity, a 7-inch touchscreen, voice commands and an eight-speaker sound system with HD radio, an auxiliary audio jack and a USB interface.
Toyota offers more than a dozen optional dealer-installed accessories for the base 86, including larger wheels, upgraded braking and suspension components, and a navigation system.
The 860 Special Edition is distinguished by two exclusive colors (orange or white), body stripes, unique 17-inch wheels, a rear spoiler, LED foglights, an aerodynamic underbody panel, heated leather front seats with contrast stitching, push-button ignition, dual-zone automatic climate control and a 4.2-inch display that monitors performance driving parameters such as real-time engine power usage and cornering force. Only 860 units of each color will be made.
Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our Full Test of the 2013 Scion FR-S (2.0L flat-4 | 6-speed manual | RWD), the mechanically identical predecessor to the Toyota 86.
NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the Toyota 86/FR-S has received some revisions, including a slight power increase, revised suspension tuning, and significant improvements in infotainment and connected technology. Our findings on performance, handling, comfort and overall driving experience remain broadly applicable to this year's 86, however.
noise & vibration
ease of use
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edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
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