Price (as tested) 💲: $31,463
Powertrain ⚙️: 2.4-liter Boxer 4-Cylinder
Output 💪: 228 hp/184 lb-ft of torque
Transmission 🕹: 6-speed Manual
0-60 MPH 🚦: 6.1 seconds
Top Speed 💥: 140 mph
MPG (as tested) ⛽️: 20 city/27 hwy/22 combined
Curb weight ⚖️: 2,833 lbs


Two weeks prior to my loan of the GR86, Toyota invited me to Irwindale Speedway for some drifting lessons with Formula D pro’s.

Our instruments included the GR Corolla, Supra, and 86.

Predictably, the AWD Corolla was toughest to pitch sideways and sustain power slides, the Supra required delicate finesse to settle into a donut (I managed 5 revolutions at the end before Toyota asked me to spare the tires), and then there was the 86.

Perched on its Prius-grade Michelin Primacy rubber, the 86 could initiate rotation with a simple stab of the throttle, a yank of the wheel, or a pull of the hand brake. From there, maintaining a drift felt incredibly natural – as if the 86 was happier pointed sideways than it was in a straight line.

When my loaner arrived, I slipped back into a rhythm behind the wheel instantly. The Boxer 4-cylinder develops the perfect amount of power (228 hp and 184 lb-ft) to usher the GR86’s 2,800 pounds up to speed or between corners with both haste and control.

A sweet-shifting 6-speed is the best pairing for this rear-drive delight, with short throws, clear gates, and natural clutch operation.

The joy of every drive is coupled with a sleek presentation – best in white paint with the Premium package (my grey/non-Premium tester was less enticing).

Inside, the cozy cabin has limited item storage, and the rear seats might as well be decorative (unless folded flat to accommodate spare tires for the track), yet the stellar driving position and user-friendly tech leave a favorable impression.

Priced from just under $30K (or $33K in the more desirable Premium trim), the GR86 is the kind of affordable fun that makes me wish parking in SoCal was abundant, cuz I’d plop one amidst my personal fleet quicker than those Primacies become ice skates.