Our Cars

Toyota 86 review long-term – update 4

if you’re going to enjoy any car you need to trust it.   You need to be able to rely on the car to be there when you need it.  Otherwise, plans go awry, people get let down, things don’t get done.

Reliability first, fun second.
 
As my Toyota 86 has just rolled past 52,000km I thought I’d report on the reliability to date.  Why 52 and not 50?  The car was bought as a dealer-demo with 1200km on the clock, so that’s 50,000 of my kilometers!   And things started badly, because shortly after delivery the car had an complete engine swap to rectify an idling problem.  Toyota actually wanted to the engine for diagnosis which is why they swapped it, as distinct from the usual method of replacing specific components.   But with that done, here’s a complete list of problems with the car between 2000 and 52,000km:
 
” “
 
Yep, nothing at all.  And my car gets well and truly used…it’s probably in the top 10 most used daily-driver 86s for grassroots motorsports in the country.  Trackdays, autocrosses, drifts…this car’s Sunday does not start with a loving polish then a parade to the coffee shop (but only if not raining).  Instead, it’s more likely to be loaded with gear, have stickers slapped on the side and driven hard on some track.  Yet it just works, every day, every time.  Where others have got their cars up on jacks between sessions skinning knuckles as they pull parts off, I’m sipping coffee, chatting with mates.
 
Now it’s true not everyone will be in to motorsports.  But the point is that if the 86 can stand up to that sort of full-throttle, tyre squealing driving then chances are your 86 is going to be just fine for daily driving.  Sure makes me smile at the end of a hard day. 
 
I should also mention that my car has had more changes of fluids like oil, brake, and differentials that some cars have had tanks of petrol.  The more you use a car and the harder the use, the greater the maintenance cost and you either pay up front to prevent, or pay double later to fix.   I’ve gone through four sets of brakes and five sets of tyres, so the consumable cost is high, but such is the price of fun!

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Robert Pepper

Robert Pepper

Robert Pepper is a freelance journalist, driver trainer and photographer interested in anything with wings, sails or wheels. He is the author of four books on offroading, and owns a modified Ford Ranger PX which he uses for offroad touring. His other car is a Toyota 86 which exists purely to drive in circles on racetracks. Visit his website: http://www.l2sfbc.com/