10 Reasons Why the 2022 Toyota GR86 Is the Perfect Sports Car for Beginners

The Toyota GR86 is a fantastic sports car, and here are 10 reasons why it should be in your list if you are on the look out for a budget sports car

The Toyota GR86 was recently unveiled as the successor to the highly successful GT86. This continues to be a collaboration with Subaru which brings the best of what these Japanese brands have to offer in one well-rounded package. The enhancements to the GR86 make for a significant step up from its predecessor with improvements across the board, ultimately making it one the best value sports cars currently on sale. Here are 10 reasons why you should consider the GR86 if you are on the lookout for your first sportscar.

Easy on the Wallet

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The entry-level sports car market is sparsely populated at the moment, but the cars that do occupy that space, primarily the Mazda MX-5 Miata, an excellent sports car, don’t offer as much car for the money as the GR86 does. Prices for the Toyota GR86 range start at $28,725 (including destination) while the range-topping GR86 Premium with all options and better tech comes in just shy of $33,000. To put this into perspective, a base Mini Countryman starts at $29,100 and isn’t half as exciting in any respect. The Miata, which starts at $27,650 and goes over $40,000 for the range-topping MX5 RF with the retractable hard top, is still not as practical due to its smaller boot and a significantly tighter cabin.

Extreme Reliability

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Japanese cars have been offering segment-leading reliability for decades, and the GR86 is no exception to this norm. The 2022 Toyota GR86 makes use of Subaru’s tried and tested Boxer-4 engine which, in this updated form, displaces 2.4 liters - up from the previous generation’s 2.0-liter displacement. This is courtesy of a bigger bore which lends it the extra displacement and more linear power distribution that resolves the flat spot issue in the RPM band.

This engine produces 228 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque, which is a great amount of power for an entry-level sports car. The fact that it delivers it all so reliably and is more abuse friendly than its German and Italian counterparts, makes it a must-have trait in a sports car for a beginner. You also get an option to pick between a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission.

Two Gearboxes To Choose From

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It’s fun to learn in a manual car, but to truly master a three-pedal ’box, you need a light and precise clutch accompanied by a slick shift lever, or maybe you just need a nice automatic option. Luckily for you, the Toyota GR86 ticks both these boxes. The GR86 range is offered with either a manual or an automatic transmission. The six-speed manual is our pick of the lot for its well-weighted clutch and reassuring shifter feel, while the automatic is a well-calibrated six-speed auto that does justice to the engine’s potential. The automatic is a sensible option if you plan to use your GR86 for daily commutes. In addition, the car’s relatively compact dimensions, combined with the slim A-pillars, result in excellent all-round visibility, while the stock backup camera and sensors have you covered while backing up.

Fine-Tuned Driving Dynamics

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It all boils down to this, the last GT86 from Toyota was a car with great fundamentals, but it suffered from certain glaring issues, most of which have been resolved with this new version. For starters, the improved monocoque structure has increased lateral rigidity, thanks to diagonal braces added between the front suspension cross member and frame, and other structural improvements which make it significantly sharper than its predecessor. The 2022 GR86 packs some serious equipment for the price like a Torsen LSD, quicker steering rack, and multilink rear suspension, all of which come together to make the GR86 a well-rounded sports car.

Track and Street-ready Suspension

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A beginner’s sports car needs to be well-rounded and forgiving with a good suspension setup that suits daily driving, yet is still capable enough to handle those occasional track days. Toyota seems to have taken care of that with the 2022 GR86. The front suspension features rebound springs added to shock absorbers with optimized spring rates and damping, whereas the rear comes with a more rigid subframe with revised spring rates and damping just like the front to create a suspension setup that is more refined than its predecessor which helps improve on limit handling. Even the new aluminum engine mount brackets improve refinement by isolating unwanted engine vibrations, and these qualities are crucial in a beginner’s daily driven sports car.

The Ideal Daily Driver

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A good sports car is defined by its all-round capabilities, especially for beginners who might be looking at the 2022 GR86 as their only car, and it’s safe to say that this little Toyota is as good as they get. For starters, it comes with a frugal 2.4-liter H-4 engine that manages nearly 20 miles to the gallon in city traffic. It also comes with 6.3-cubic feet of boot capacity which is a usable amount for small trips, weekend getaways, and grocery runs. More importantly, it is a significant improvement over its closest rival, the Miata which offers just 4.6-cubic feet. Even the rear seats can be used as storage, and unlike the Miata, the GR86’s cabin can comfortably accommodate larger individuals.

High stiffness and Lightweight

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The 2022 Toyota GR86 makes features significant amounts of aluminum in the doors, roof, fenders, and hood which not only helps bring the overall weight down, but also add to the vehicle’s overall stiffness. The lighter seats, muffler, and driveshaft, combined with the redesigned rear bumper, all help reduce the center of gravity by 1.6mm and help improve overall weight distribution. As a result, despite all these additions and improvements over its predecessor, the GR86 has only gained 88 pounds in the process with the 2022 version tipping the scales at 2,811 pounds.

Clean and Purposeful Interior

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The Toyota GR86 is a very purposeful little sports car, and to appeal to its key demographic, which is ideally young beginners, it needs to be a practical allrounder, which the GR86 is. It features a roomy cabin that can easily seat two with plenty of head and shoulder room and comes with good quality materials like Alcantara in major touch spots to uplift the cabin feel. In addition, the Shift lever and clutch have a reassuring feel and there’s a good old manual E-brake. The manual option comes with aluminum finished pedals that are well spaced and make for a great setup for beginners to learn basics like heel-toe shifting.

The range-topping versions also come with a whole lot of equipment, such as heated seats, an upgraded stereo, and things like a digital instrument cluster and proper phone connectivity with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to cater to the everyday driver.

Clean and Improved Design

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The original GT86’s design was perhaps the least offensive part of the entire car and plenty of automakers in the past have managed to screw up great design, but in the case of the 2022 GR86, Toyota has managed to give it a well-suited overhaul that makes the car look more mature. The Toyota GR86 has clean lines and a very clutter-free design with a front facia and rear profile that look somewhat toned down from the previous model, making for a very sedate and grown-up aesthetic that certainly going to appeal to a broader demographic.

Easy to Maintain

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Japanese engines like the Subaru-sourced 2.4-liter Boxer-four powering the GR86 are very robust engines that should prove to be reliable and not very maintenance-heavy, so expect to pay around $1,500 on routine annual maintenance. In addition, the Toyota/Subaru collaboration also means that replacement parts are also fairly affordable, which makes this an excellent car for beginners who aren’t looking to spend a ton on maintenance.

The 2.4-liter Boxer engine powering the GR86 is quite frugal, too, with real-world test figures of 19 city / 26 highway / 21 combined for the three-pedal variant, while the six-speed automatic does even better with 20 city / 30 highway / 24 combined, which is pretty respectable for a proper little sports car.

Bhavik Sreenath
Bhavik Sreenath
A keen automotive enthusiast with a love for anything with engines. He loves discovering the world of cars and technology to explore new boundaries in the field of modern-day journalism.  Read full bio
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