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Review of the Toyota GR86 2022: A Powerful SUV

Image Source: Miro Vrlik Photography / Shutterstock

Today, electric vehicles and SUVs are hogging the limelight in the automotive world. Despite the dominance of SUVs and EVs, some sports cars, like the Toyota GR86, are still holding their ground. The 2022 GR86 is a budget-friendly compact coupe designed for driving enthusiasts looking to inject some extra fun into their daily drive.

The 2022 GR86 builds upon the success of its predecessor, the Scion FR-S/Toyota 86, by incorporating a larger engine to deliver more power and a revised chassis for an even more exhilarating driving experience. While the GR86 shares its platform with the outgoing 86, the exterior boasts significant styling enhancements such as a sleeker roofline and a more sculpted body. To reduce weight, the GR86 features an aluminum roof, fenders, and hood.

Beneath the hood lies a new 2.4-liter flat-four engine, replacing the previous 2.0-liter one. Toyota has answered the call for more power by boosting the GR86’s horsepower to 228, up from 200 in the previous automatic version and 205 in the manual. The available torque of 184 pound-feet kicks in at 3,700 rpm, a noticeable improvement over the previous engine’s 156 lb-ft that engaged at 5,400 rpm.

The GR86 achieves a fuel efficiency rating of 20 mpg city, 27 mpg highway, and 22 mpg combined with the six-speed manual transmission, and 21/31/25 mpg with the automatic transmission.

While 228 horsepower may not seem overly impressive, the increased power and improved torque curve make the GR86 more enjoyable to drive. The engine is more responsive, allowing for spirited driving without constantly revving the engine high. An internal speaker enhances the engine sound based on the selected drive mode.

With the manual transmission, the GR86 accelerates from 0-60 mph in 6.1 seconds, compared to 6.6 seconds with the automatic. The manual has a top speed of 140 mph, while the automatic tops out at 134 mph.

Available with a six-speed manual or automatic transmission featuring steering wheel paddle shifters, the GR86 underwent enhancements in the automatic transmission with a new torque converter and extra clutch discs. Although the manual transmission is preferred, the automatic transmission does not disappoint. The GR86 comes equipped with a Torsen limited-slip differential as standard.

Toyota’s engineers dedicated efforts to enhance the GR86’s chassis for improved performance on winding roads. The revised damper tuning strikes a balance between ride comfort and body roll control, resulting in reduced body roll compared to its predecessor. The new electronic power steering system is responsive and well-weighted, enhancing the driving experience.

While some sports car enthusiasts might find the GR86’s power figures underwhelming, the GR86 is more than just horsepower. Similar to the Mazda MX-5 Miata, the GR86 is a lively and fun compact sports car that eagerly tackles corners. The upgraded steering and suspension make the GR86 an ideal companion for spirited driving on the track.

Braking performance is reliable with 11.6-inch discs at the front and 11.4-inch discs at the rear. The brakes exhibit minimal fade and deliver strong stopping power. Opting for the Premium trim level provides better Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires compared to the standard Michelin HP Primacy all-season tires on the base GR86.

Shifting focus to the interior, notable updates include the new 8-inch infotainment system, which now looks more modern and integrates Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The 7-inch digital gauge cluster adjusts its layout based on Normal, Sport, and Track modes. The interior materials have been upgraded, and the Premium trim offers an eight-speaker audio system.

Given its compact size akin to the old 86, the interior of the GR86 feels somewhat cramped. The rear seats are more decorative, as fitting even the smallest friend in the back may prove challenging.

An area of improvement over the outgoing 86 is the availability of driver-assistance features. The GR86 offers features like automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and lane-departure warning, but these are only accessible with the automatic transmission.

The 2022 Toyota GR86 is attractively priced, starting at $28,725, including destination charges for the base model, while the GR86 Premium begins at $31,325. The Premium trim adds a duckbill rear spoiler, heated ultrasuede and leather front seats, an eight-speaker audio system, and a blind-spot monitor. There are rumors of a special 10th Anniversary edition for the 2023 GR86.

In conclusion, Toyota has preserved the essence of the FR-S and 86 while addressing many of the previous shortcomings. The increased power, improved handling, and enhanced tech features make the GR86 a compelling choice for enthusiasts.

Image Source: Miro Vrlik Photography / Shutterstock

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