The Toyota 86 hasn't changed much over the years. Sure, the car got a new badge and an updated nose for 2017, but for all intents and purposes, it's still the same awesome entry-level two-door we saw debut as a Scion back in 2012. We've raved on and on about how fantastic the 86 and its siblings are to drive, but there's a few things the car world still hasn't really mentioned about everyone's favorite Japanese sports coupe. Here they are.
The Gearing is Extremely Short
Gearing is something that can make or break a car. A longer final-drive ratio lends itself for more fuel efficient operation, but sacrifices off-the-line performance. A shorter ratio means hitting the redline more often, but suffering on the highway. It's the latter with the Toyota 86, with a final gear ratio suited to reaching the top of the tachometer as fast as possible over and over again. There's only one problem-the motor sits at over 3500 rpm at 75 mph. When you're in a car equipped with a droney TRD exhaust-like the one installed on our tester-that can get tiring. But the trade off is worth it on a back road.
The Gauge Cluster has Two Speedometers for Some Reason
One of the nicer features that complements the driver-focused interior of the Toyota 86 is its center-mounted tachometer and digital speedometer. Each read-out is clearly visible, even when you're going all-out through your favorite back road. Why then, does Toyota choose to include a second analog speedometer on the left-most gauge of the cluster? It takes up valuable real estate that could be used for things like oil temperature or oil pressure, but provides no additional information. Weird.
It Still Comes Standard With those HP Primacy Tires
Perhaps the most infamous feature of the 86 is the type of rubber Toyota chose to use. Instead of going for some performance-oriented summers like Bridgestone Potenzas or Pirelli P Zeros, engineers opted for low rolling resistance all-seasons with less grip. On the surface buyers may feel betrayed they've been robbed of some performance, but in reality, these tires are what make the car. If the rubber were any grippier, the 86 wouldn't be nearly as exciting at its easy-to-reach limit. Upgrading to higher quality tires may increase performance, but they'll surely decrease the fun.
It Has an Absurdly Light Clutch Pedal
In a world of high-horsepower vehicles with enough torque to pull an elephant, it's hard to come by a performance car with a clutch as light as the 86. Because its 2.0-liter boxer engine makes relatively little twist (156 lb.-ft. for 2017), the clutch doesn't have to work too hard to connect the power to the transmission. That means Toyota doesn't have to put a heavy-duty clutch in, instead giving us an extremely light pedal. It's a little strange at first, but once you get used to it, you'll be grabbing gears and rev-matching like there's no tomorrow.
The Interior Has Some Quirks
Since Toyota had to keep the price down when building the 86, it had to leave out a few things from the interior you might expect from a performance coupe. The steering wheel is a nice small size, but you can only adjust the tilt, not the telescope. The vertical seat adjustment isn't too forgiving either, it wouldn't travel far enough down for my liking-and I'm not even six feet tall. Perhaps the strangest part of the interior isn't the infotainment system or the abysmal rear seating though, it's the surprisingly large sun visors.
The cloth-covered flip-down pieces seem like they were taken straight from a car with twice the windshield surface area, covering a good portion of the view when deployed. Great for blocking the sun from your eyes, but no so great when you're trying to see where you're going.
So, now you have an idea of some of the lesser-known features present on the Toyota 86. These things might not be an issue for some, but for people looking to drive this car on a regular basis, they could be a dealbreaker. Either way, the 86 is one hell of a driver's car. Just make sure you drive one before you buy it.
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