By Asian Journal Auto reporter

2017-toyota-86There is a new Toyota Sports coupe in town. Well, not exactly as Toyota’s off shoot Scion brands FR-S sport coupe now becomes the coolly-named Toyota 86 for the 2017 model year. The small streetfighter- like FR-S was always a hot looking car and as the now renamed 86 has some changes to keep it in the running. Revisions include a restyled front fascia, revised suspension settings, an engine power increase, and an upgraded interior with new materials.  Looks wise, the 86 is one of my favourite sports coupe with it classic long nose, shot rear deck proportions and tense, sleek aerodynamics profile.  It looks all business and purposeful, rather than fussy and over styled. This is a classic front engined, rear- wheel drive sport car in both looks, layout and feel.

Power for the 2017 Toyota 86 is via a rev-happy 2.0-liter horizontally opposed 4-cylinder engine. For 2017 there is a choice of either a six speed auto transmission with dynamic Rev Management or a six speed manual transmission that offers a modest extra five horsepower and 5 pound-feet of torque for totals of 205 hp and 156 lbs ft torque. We tested a beautifully painted 2017 orange Hot Lava model 86 that came well equipped- but not overly luxurious – remember this is a more purist sports car. Standard equipment included 17- inch aluminum wheels, four wheel disc brakes, keyless entry3 spoke tilt steering wheel with audio controls, shark fin antenna, AM/FM radio with Bluetooth capability, audio display screen, climate control, and automatic sound levelizer system. Six airbags, anti-lock brakes, stability control, and traction control are all among the standard safety equipment, as is a rearview camera. Options are few and include a navigation system and apps capability. Note, however as was the Scion FR-S was heavily modified and accessorized by buyers, so Toyota dealers will also probably offer accessories to improve performance for the 86.

Our tester rang in at a base price of $30,780 plus AC tax, freight and PDI at $1,790 for a total MSPR OF $32,598. Not bad for a car of this performance and quality!

The interior of the 2017 Toyota 86 proved to be driver focused, but not total Spartan. The front seats are where the interior really shines. Well-bolstered, comfortable and providing lots of later al grip when cornering hard. The front cabin is spacious with plenty of leg room and the cockpit is a snug, but not an overly tight place with a comprehensive slew of instrumentation and well made, nicely designed details. The rear seat is best reserved for children or luggage with tiny legroom, but the trunk is of a decent size.

On the road, acceleration is fast and satisfying due the 86’s four cylinder engine which remains basically the same as in the previous model FR-S, namely a Subaru-derived 2-liter flat four block fitted with Toyota’s D-4S fuel injection system.

Toyota tightened the 86’s suspension, giving it a stiffer rear anti-sway bar as one improvement, so the ride remains comfortable and not too harsh with a well damped compliant feel. Steering is tactile, with a precise and well-weighted electric power assist and overall the 86 remains a delightfully well balanced car to drive hard. The 2017 Toyota 86 is a hoot to drive, well made and very affordable for its specification and looks fantastic. It’s a Toyota – so obviously quality, safety, resale and build quality is top notch. Highly recommended as a fast, exciting practical sports coupe.

2017 Toyota 86 MRSP priced from $30,780

Price as tested$32,598