New for 2017
The 86 is the car previously known as the Scion FR-S. In addition to switching to the main Toyota brand, this small sports car gets some styling, mechanical, and content updates for 2017.
New Name, Same Great Sports Car
The 2017 Toyota 86 should look familiar to anyone who knows about cars. It debuted as the Scion FR-S, giving buyers the small nimble sports car they’ve craved since models like the Celica and MR-2 were discontinued. Scion will cease to exist in August, but the FR-S was just too good of car not to save.
So for the new model year, this Scion sports car will become a Toyota. It takes the name “86” in reference to the AE86-model Toyota Corolla, one of the company’s most iconic affordable performance cars. The change in brand name brings updated styling and some mechanical tweaks, but the fundamentals remain the same. Everything that was great about the Scion FR-S carries over to the new Toyota 86.
This car may have a new identity, but retains all of the quantities that made it a great driver’s car back when it was wearing a Scion badge. The 86 rides on a dedicated rear-wheel drive platform that was co-developed with the Subaru BRZ, which is why car fans sometimes call it the “Toyobaru.”
It also means the 86 boasts a Subaru-derived 2.0-liter “boxer” four-cylinder engine. The name comes from the way the pistons oppose each other, like boxers in a ring. This configuration lowers the height of the engine, allowing it to be mounted lower in the chassis and helping the car’s center of gravity. In the 86, this engine produces 205 horsepower and 156 pound-feet of torque, both increases over the FR-S.
Toyota will continue to offer six-speed manual (which gets revised gear ratios) and six-speed automatic transmissions. The 86 also has a Torsen limited-slip differential to make the most effective use of its power, along with revised shock tuning and spring rates. This car is all about balance and fun, rather than outright speed of lap times. It’s enjoyable to drive no matter what the speed, and no matter where you are.
The relatively small engine and the 86’s tidy proportions should also yield fairly good fuel economy for a sports car. EPA fuel-economy ratings will be published closer to the 86’s on-sale this date this summer.
The 2017 Toyota 86 is a two-door, four-seat coupe. Full details and trim levels and pricing will be released closer to launch.
Expect the 86 to feature a similar level of standard equipment to the FR-S. That version is currently available with standard features like a multifunction steering wheel, 17-inch alloy wheels, one-piece folding rear seatback, aluminum sport pedals and scuff plates, 7.0-inch touchscreen display, eight-speaker Pioneer audio system, and Bluetooth.
Besides the name change, the most significant updates to the 2017 Toyota 86 are in the area of styling. The exterior gets a facelift, while the interior gets numerous tweaks and higher-quality materials. Not that Toyota needed to make sweeping changes: with its long-hood, short-rear-deck proportions, the 86 already looks exactly like a sports car should.
Exterior styling is now much more aggressive. A large center air intake is meant to emphasize the 86’s low and wide stance. The nose has also been reshaped, giving the appearance that the car is leaning forward a bit. Completing the redesigned front end are new LED headlights and turn signals. The rear end now sports LED taillights and a new rear bumper. Toyota also added some Easter eggs in the form of “86” logos in the wheels and headlights.
The interior features new “Grandlux” material on the instrument panel surround and door trim for a soft-touch feel. The seats also get new material with silver stitching, and there are even more “86” logos sprinkled throughout the cockpit. The focus is still on driving, so the 86 doesn’t feature any flashy tech gimmicks, just well-bolstered seats, clear gauges, and a sporty steering wheel.
It may be a two-door coupe, but the 86 is more practical than you might think. EPA-rated passenger volume probably won’t shrink from the FR-S’ 76.5 cubic feet. The rear bench seat offers seating for two, or can be folded down to expand the cargo area.
Expect safety equipment on the 2017 Toyota 86 to be comparable to the Scion FR-S. That model comes standard with anti-lock brakes, stability and traction controls, rearview camera, and six airbags.
Whatever its called, the 2017 Toyota 86 is a great sports car for drivers looking to inject some serious style and fun into their commute.
Image Credit: Toyota