2022 Toyota GR86 Review: Sequel's way better than the original

2022 Toyota GR86 Review: Sequel's way better than the original

See Full Image Gallery >>

The 2022 Toyota GR86 might not look that different from the car it replaces, and its underlying platform is carried over. It’s still the result of a joint venture with Subaru, which did the lion’s share of the engineering, right down to the oh-so-Subaru boxer engine. But you know what? Who cares! The GR86 is still a hoot to drive, gracing this planet with something it has a true scarcity of: a relatively inexpensive, rear-wheel-drive sport coupe. Plus, it’s actually massively improved. The engine might still be a boxer, but it’s a substantially better boxer, with greater low- and mid-range power that makes it far more appropriate for a sporty car. The interior has also been given a welcome overhaul in terms of design, materials quality, technology and storage.


So it’s definitely better and definitely a lot of fun. What’s not to love? Well, the Subaru BRZ has a noticeably better ride, for one, and we would recommend it first as a result. Beyond that, the automatic may be superior to a Miata’s, but it still lacks the smarts and responses of a dual-clutch automated manual. You’ll also obviously be sacrificing some practicality compared to similarly priced four-door hot hatches by going with a two-door car with a tiny back seat. Ultimately, though, the GR86 and BRZ twins are two of our favorite cars, and we’re thrilled they’ve lived to see another generation. We wish there were more cars like ’em.

Interior & Technology   |   Passenger & Cargo Space   |   Performance & Fuel Economy

What it's like to drive   |   Pricing & Trim Levels  |   Crash Ratings & Safety Features

What's new for 2022?

The GR86 and its Subaru BRZ sibling were redesigned and thoroughly overhauled for 2022. The key difference is the engine: It displaces 2.4 liters, up from 2.0, resulting in more horsepower and torque everywhere in the power band. You can read more about what’s new in our GR86 first drive review, as well as our BRZ first drive.

What are the GR86 interior and in-car technology like?

For the most part, the GR86 has a Subaru interior with a Toyota badge placed on the steering wheel. All the buttons, switches and even the infotainment system are consistent with what you’d find in a Crosstrek, for example. This is merely a fact rather than a problem. All those buttons and switches are perfectly acceptable, while Subaru’s touchscreen infotainment system is arguably superior to what you’d find in most Toyotas. It’s also a clear upgrade over the last 86’s touchscreen.

The GR86/BRZ has also been given a significant interior storage upgrade. You no longer have to stuff your phone into the too-small bin forward of the shifter as the USB port has been relocated into the center console’s cupholder bin. That bin is also now covered with padded doors, resulting in improved security and greater elbow comfort. Now, putting your phone in there does remove at least one cupholder, but to counter this, Subaru/Toyota redesigned the door’s grab handle, resulting in a more functional cupholder in the door. Unlike most other vehicles, you sit so low in the GR86 that the door cupholder actually falls conveniently at your hand. Automatic cars also gain an additional cupholder between the shifter and storage bin.

How big is the GR86?

The GR86’s wheelbase (101.4 inches), overall length (167.9 inches) and curb weight (2,811-2,868 pounds) are all near-as-makes-no-difference the same as the outgoing model. That’s the result of the carry-over platform.

Compared to most cars, the GR86 is tiny, and its two-door, 2+2 interior is obviously less practical than a similarly priced four-door hot hatch. However, compared to the two-seat Mazda MX-5 Miata and Toyota’s own Supra, the GR86 is actually spacious. Its back seat might be fairly useless for human transport, but its presence grants the cabin extra versatility and storage on longer trips. It’s also pretty good at carrying small- to medium-sized dogs, and for those up front, the lack of a rear bulkhead means it’s more likely for taller folks to find a comfortable seating position (though we do wish there was a way to tilt up the front of the driver seat for longer legs, rather than just the back of it for shorter ones).

Fold down the one-piece seat back, and you also usefully expand cargo capacity as we discovered in our BRZ luggage test. Even with the seat raised, the 6.26-cubic-foot trunk is substantially better than what you’d find in a Miata and is capable of carrying three suitcases.

What are the GR86 fuel economy and performance specs?

The GR86 features a 2.4-liter boxer-four-cylinder supplied by Subaru that produces 228 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. There is then an option of Toyota-sourced transmissions: a six-speed manual and a six-speed automatic that features a Sport mode for sharper responses as well as paddle shifters. Toyota says it’ll go from zero to 60 mph in 6.1 seconds with the manual and 6.6 seconds with the automatic.

EPA fuel economy stands at 22 mpg city, 27 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined with the manual. It goes up to 21/31/25 with the automatic.