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Toyota GT86 review

Andrew Unsworth
5 Apr 2013

The GT86 is a fantastic combination of useful high-technology, excellent handling and exciting looks

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We’ve longed for a genuinely exciting and desirable Toyota ever since the demise of the iconic Celica, so when it announced the rear-wheel drive, 197BHP GT86, a product of a collaboration between Toyota and Subaru that also resulted in the Subaru BRZ, we had to drive it. The car’s visually striking, having a clean, modern look that somehow harks back to the Japanese sports cars of the early 90s, and it’s difficult to decide from which angle it looks best: the side, front on, rear or rear 3/4s. We’ll settle for the side view and let you decide for yourself.

GT86 Side Shot

DRIVER-FOCUSED COCKPIT

This 2+2 coupe is nice inside, too, and we like the clean, uncluttered dashboard and centre console. Toyota’s intention was to create a driver-focused cockpit, and it’s certainly achieved that goal, with the instruments being easy to see and handle but not comically large.

The driver’s instrument cluster is dominated by a white RPM dial that’s inset with LED panels displaying information such as speed, fuel economy and the currently selected gear. You can see pretty much see everything you need to know at a glance.

To the left of the steering wheel is a centre console that contains dual-climate temperature controls, the engine start-and-stop button and one of two in-car entertainment systems: Toyota Touch and Toyota Touch & Go. Both systems provide touchscreen control over audio and Bluetooth connectivity, but Touch & Go gives you a satellite navigation system and access to Google Local Search, which provides live information on parking and fuel pricing, to give two examples. There’s also a USB socket, so you can charge your phone and playback music.

GT86 Interior

The small steering wheel feels great and is perfect for a sporty car such as this. Sadly, it lacks multifunction controls such as volume, track select and call answer buttons, which makes answering phone calls and changing tracks more awkward than it should be. A multifunction steering wheel doesn’t seem to be an option, either, which is a great shame.

GT86 Steering Wheel

There’s a lot of room for both the driver and front passenger, and the seats are comfortable, even over long distances, but the rear seats are seemingly present for cosmetic purposes only. Even with the driver’s seat configured for our relatively short 5ft 8in frame, we couldn’t see how a small child could occupy the seat behind it, never mind an adult. The rear seats are great for extra, easy-to-reach luggage space, but are otherwise pretty much superfluous.
There isn't much room in the cabin for items such as glasses cases and CDs, either. There’s a removable cupholder that sits in the centre console, but drinks are easily nudged if you use the handbrake.

GT86 Rear Seats

We’d prefer a hatchback, and the GT86 looks as if it should have one, but the boot feels more spacious than its 243-litre capacity suggests, and we had no trouble loading it with the weekly shopping. Should you need more space, you can fold down the rear seats.

GT86 Rear Seats Folded Down

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