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The FREE Complete Bay Area Auto Enthusiast Guide
SPORTS COUPE ENTHUSIASTS WILL DIG TOYOTA 86

By NITISH S. RELE – motoringtampabay@gmail.com
Before you wonder what the heck a Toyota 86 is, here are the answers. It is a sports car equipped with an 86 mm bore and stroke. Also, AE86 was the global name for the Corolla GT-S, which was sold in the mid-80s. And that is how the now-defunct Scion FR-S adopted the 86 identity, now passed on to Toyota.

Developed jointly with Subaru (BRZ for one!), the rear-wheel-drive sporty coupe is equipped with a 2.0-liter inline-4 horizontally opposed DOHC engine cranking out 205 horsepower @ 7000 rpm and 156 pounds-feet of torque @ 6400 rpm. The lively 6-speed manual gearbox is fun to shift. A MacPherson strut front and double-wishbone suspension lends nimbleness and significant body control to the ride, whether it is in city or cruising the highway. And the standard Torsen limited slip differential keeps the coupe in control at sharp corners and turns.

Portraying a low and a wide stance, the boldly-styled 86 is equipped with projector-beam LED headlights, fog lamps and tail lights, flanking a mesh grille. That this is an 86 is evident only from a closer look at the embossed logo on the front fenders. Or if you step into the cabin, the insignia is once again visible on the center cap of the leather tilt/telescopic steering column. Carbon fiber dash and door trim, as well as aluminum sport pedals and scuff plates, enhance the already sophisticated appearance. The 4.2-inch instrument panel shows off a large center-mounted tachometer with a digital speedometer and programmable rev indicator, flanked by another analog speedo and temp/fuel readings. The easy-to operate toggle switches for heat/ac are a nice touch amid the redundant controls of today. Other eye-catching goodies include push-button start, 7-inch infotainment touchscreen, six-way height-adjustable driver and four-way front-passenger seats, cruise control, dual auto a/c, and power doors and windows,

Safety features include dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag, hill start assist, rearview camera, vehicle stability and traction control, four-wheel antilock brakes with brake assist, remote keyless entry, three-point seatbelts for all, smart stop technology, tire pressure monitoring system and daytime running lights.

Push the starter button to summon the 4-cylinder boxer engine and the rev-happy 86 emits an exhaust roar that will delight any sports coupe buff. Stout and gorgeous-looking from any angle, the four-seater is by no means a speedster but it justifiably earns a report card full of good marks.

TOYOTA 86 GT
Tires: 215/45R17
Wheelbase: 101.2 inches
Length: 166.7 inches
Width: 69.9 inches
Height: 50.6 inches
Steering: electric-power assist 
Weight: 2,776 pounds
Fuel capacity: 13.2 gallons
City: 21 mpg
Highway: 28 mpg
Base price: $28,585
Price as tested: $30,800
Web site: www.toyota.com

CALLING ALL TOYOTA DEALERS IN THE WEST CENTRAL AREA: if you would like to be listed here as one of the test-drive dealerships, e-mail us at motoringtampabay@gmail.com