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2022 Toyota GR86: It’s back, it’s flawed, it’s fun

The 2022 Toyota GR86 is fun to drive.

If the criteria for purchasing a new car is driving fun but without supreme acceleration, carrying cargo or children, environmental concerns, the latest technology, comfort or a quiet, serene ride, buy a 2022 Toyota GR86.

Its seemingly sole purpose is pure joy. The GR86 scoots around in city driving with ease and it deftly maneuvers along country roads because that’s what it does best. For all practical purposes, the pleasure can be shared with no more than one passenger.

The 2022 Toyota GR86 is back and it's a flawed sports car.
The 2022 Toyota GR88 is back and it’s a flawed but fun sports car. All images by Gretchen Gaither/2022

With a re-shaped exterior, the GR86 is handsome and attracts plenty of attention. It’s the debut of the car’s second generation and arrives after the vehicle took a one-year hiatus.

2022 Toyota GR86: driving pleasure, small package

Little is embellished. Like the Mazda MX5 Miata and the defunct Honda S2000, the little Toyota coupe thrives on driving pleasure in a small package. It’s likewise also similar to Subaru BRZ and Scion FRS and is only available in a hardtop.

Offered in Base ($28,635) and Premium trims ($31,325), the GR86 is a two-door, four-seat sports car with a 2.4-liter horizontally opposed DOHC four-cylinder, 16-valve engine with 228 horsepower. A six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission are offered. The little Toyota is boosted from 200 horsepower in the previous automatic version and 205 in the manual transmission trim. A digital gauge display is reconfigurable with Normal, Sport and Track modes.

The 2022 GR86 has been restyled inside and and outside.
The 2022 GR86 has been restyled inside and and outside.

With its bigger engine, the GR86 accelerates from zero to 60 miles per hour in 5.4 seconds. It reaches a quarter-mile in 14 seconds at 101 mph. For those impressed by such frivolity, a speaker amplifies the engine sound. Gas mileage averages are 21 miles per gallon in city driving, 31 mpg on the highway.

2022 Toyota GR86: Lots of standard stuff

One keen touch: The GR86 includes a one-year membership to the National Auto Sport Association, a performance-driving class and two years of no-cost maintenance.

New standard features include front and rear LED lights, a digital instrument cluster that changes depending on drive mode, and an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system. The straightforward-designed interior gets top marks for presentation. It’s like the attraction of tiny house — less is more.

The 2022 Toyota GR86 is an ideal sports car for purists who like to feel the road – always.
The 2022 Toyota GR86 is an ideal sports car for purists who like to feel the road – always.

The 2022 Toyota GR86 also features a six-speaker audio system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and keyless entry with a push-button start.

2022 Toyota GR86: tight front seats, tighter back seats

The reviewed Premium model’s upgrades: an unnecessary spoiler, aluminum pedals, heated leather seats with suede inserts and 18-inch wheels. An eight or 10-speaker sound system is available.

Adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, automatic high-beam headlights are featured with the automatic transmission.

Fanciers of little sports cars will appreciate the Toyota’s personality and driving dynamics. The driver’s seat and front passenger seats are snug for anyone larger than a jockey. The back seats are afterthoughts.

With its handsome exterior, the 2022 Toyota GR86 attracts a lot of attention.
With its handsome exterior, the 2022 Toyota GR86 attracts a lot of attention.

The ride is rough, particularly at highways speeds. Every bump and all additional road imperfections are felt. The automatic transmission is clunky and difficult to shift.

In conjunction with the upcoming New York International Auto Show, the 2022 Toyota GR86 is among the 10 finalists for World Car-of-the-Year honors. The powerful little machine is exactly what budget sports car owners want.

It’s sharp-handling and athletic. Own one and you’ll always feel like you’re part of the road and whatever it brings.

But a top-10 finalist for World Car of the Year? The GR86 isn’t among the top-20.


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