Road Test: 2017 Toyota 86

Road Test: 2017 Toyota 86

Keep On Keepin’ On

2017 Toyota 86Story by Jordan Allan, photos courtesy of Toyota Canada,

The Scion FR-S has been very well received ever since it debuted back in 2012 due largely to the fact that it’s a small, sporty, rear-wheel drive,  2+2 seater that is relatively cheap considering today’s market.  Now that Toyota have discontinued the Scion brand, the FR-S will continue on branded as the Toyota 86 as it had already been in many other markets around the world. To go along with the name change the 86 receives a slight facelift for 2017 that includes a slightly revised front end design along with a small upgrade in power when the standard 6-speed manual transmission is selected.

Front end changes on the 86 include a larger centre intake that further promotes the low, wide stance of the car along with reconfigured LED headlights and turn signals. The rear remains basically the same save for the upgrade to LED tail lamps. Inside new seating material is featured along with a new steering wheel and a new soft touch material found on the instrument panel surround and door trim. These changes, while generally small, appear to have done just enough to slightly elevate the appearance of what was already a fine looking car.

2017 Toyota 86Once again under the hood of the 86 is the 2.0L four-cylinder flat 4 Boxer engine that does see its peak horsepower go to 205 with the six-speed manual transmission but remains the same as previous versions at 200 hp when the six-speed automatic is used. Ditto goes for the torque rating as it’s pushed up to 156 lb-ft with the manual and remains down at 151 lb-ft with the auto.

Being a fan of the few remaining vehicles that currently offer manual transmissions, I was a bit disappointed that our test model came without a third pedal however I wasn’t about to let that ruin my fun. The combination of a peppy 4-cylinder, rear-wheel drive, and a very well-balanced chassis provides you with endless amounts of joy whether you are trying to negotiate some tough curves on a windy road, or just trying to get the rear end to kick out for a bit of sideways fun.

The overall experience of the Toyota 86 can best be described as simple, and I mean that in a completely positive way. It has a simple look, with simple features, and a very simple driving experience. Gone are majority of the bells and whistles found on many of today’s vehicles, leaving you with a car whose sole purpose is drivability which is not something that is easily found in the current automobile industry.

Given the inexpensive price and strong starting point, it really is no surprise that the Toyota 86 is basically the new Honda Civic when it comes to customization. During my trips to many local tuner car shows, FR-S’, BRZ’s, and 86’s were extremely well represented with a many of them showcasing a number of different performance and appearance aftermarket upgrades providing each car with its own individual flair.

2017 Toyota 86Having said all that, I’m not going to sit here and tell you that the Toyota 86 is the perfect car. It could probably use a bit of an interior upgrade and could definitely use more power, however you have to appreciate the fact that they are sticking to their guns. The goal with the original FR-S/BRZ now 86/BRZ was a simple, fun, cheap, 2-door entry level sports car that leaves tons of room for buyers to customize and upgrade. It seems little has changed over the course of its 5-year history and although there have been rumours of a possible performance version; nothing has yet been set in stone. Either way I’m willing to bet that you will not be disappointed with the current offering. Far from it in fact.


  • Base price (MSRP): $29,580
  • Price as tested: $32,040
  • Engine: 2.0L DOHC, 16-valve flat-4 Boxer
  • Power: 200 hp @ 7,000 rpm
  • Torque: 151 lb-ft @ 6,400 rpm
  • Transmission: 6-speed auto
  • Brakes: 4-wheel disc
  • Fuel Consumption (L/100 km): City 9.9 / Highway 7.3
Categories: Driver Plus, Road Tests
Tags: 2017, Toyota