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Toyota 86 review long-term – update 5

I think I’ve spent enough times extolling the virtues of the 86, so let’s look at the negatives. Life with the Toyota 86.

THESE DOWNSIDES aren’t really criticisms of the car per-se, because the car couldn’t be as good as it is in other areas unless compromises are made.  It’s just a case of owners needing to be aware of what they’re giving up when they opt for an 86 or BRZ instead of a ‘normal’ car, say a small hatchback.
 
First is ride. The 86 is a much stiffer ride, you’ll feel the bumps much more than usual.  Then there’s the height.  It’s a low car, and you do get down into it, not something the less than agile are going to tolerate for long.  There’s also the height of the bumper above the ground, you need to be careful with the potential for grounding the nose.
 
The handling is always a boon..except in the wet when the tendency for rear-drive oversteer means you need to be way more careful than in say a front-drive or all-drive car.  That’s a big difference to the likes of all-drive sportscars such as the WRX and the 86; the former you can just throw around and never worry about traction unless it’s the road is ice, the former requires attention soon as grip levels drop.  And on long drives the car will tire you more than a standard hatch due to the ride and extra noise courtesy of the lower, sports oriented gearing.
 
Storage space in the 86 is good, considering it’s a small coupe, but it’s never going to match a hatch.  Nor can you tow anything with the 86. And it likes expensive 98 RON fuel.  Fuel economy will not be as good as the equivalent hatch either because the engine isn’t optimised for economy.
 
You can take only two passengers, and they’ll be cramped in the back, as will the front seat occupants.  No five-seating in comfort here.  It’s a three-door, so the doors are long and awkward to open in tight spaces.
 
For the price, you don’t get a lot of standard equipment, and the interior is not exactly all plush leather.
 
And that’s it, end of the disadvantages.
 
So why would you buy such a car? Well, if the looks don’t convince you, read the initial review and then drive one on a winding road.  You should understand by the exit of the second corner.
 
Mileage update – 56,000km has ticked by, another few motorsport events, absolutely no problems.  So far, so exciting.

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Robert Pepper

Robert Pepper

Robert Pepper is the editor of PM4x4, an offroad 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: www.l2sfbc.com