With Toyota’s decision to end the Scion brand, the company also had to decide which Scion models to continue as rebadged Toyotas. Fortunately, they decided to keep the Scion FR-S, an affordable sports car that we tested in 2015. The FR-S has been rebadged as the Toyota 86 in the US to match its global name and I had the opportunity to drive it through the mountain roads just north of Los Angeles.
As you can see from the photos, not much has changed from the Scion-badged model other than some minor tweaks. That certainly works for me, as I love the understated design and low stance. The 86 is a sharp-looking sports car with a sleek, compact design that should appeal to a wide range of consumers.
The interior has some new touches with the 86 logo on the new “Granlux” material used on the instrument panel surround. This material also adds a new, soft feel to the door trim. The new seating material with silver stitching and a revised steering wheel with integrated audio controls and an 86 logo on the center hub.
While the new 86 offers some cosmetic changes, the raw, stripped-down sports car feel of the interior remains the same. The 86 isn’t designed for comfort and luxury. It’s all about driving.
The 86 is a blast to drive, and I certainly enjoyed those winding SoCal roads. With so many sports cars ditching true manual transmissions, the 86 remains as an outlet for those desiring a true driving experience.
The 2.0-liter aluminum boxer engine delivers 205 horsepower at 7,000 rpm and 156 lb.-ft. of peak torque at 6,400 rpm. The 86 is light at 2,758 lbs. with the six-speed manual transmission, making it one of the lightest sports cars on the market. You can feel the low center of gravity as well as you push the 86 through turns.
Fuel economy for the 86 registers at an impressive EPA-estimated 24 mpg city and 32 mpg highway with the six-speed automatic transmission and 21 city/28 highway with the six-speed manual.
For the price, consumers will get a cool-looking sports car that’s fun to drive. This simplicity makes the 86 a welcome addition to the Toyota lineup. Give it a test drive and you’ll come away impressed.