Dave Conole road tests and reviews the 2015 Toyota 86 GTS.
Toyota and Subaru saw an opportunity, teamed up and now have a vehicle that delivers a sporty look and feel with anything but a prohibitive price tag.
The Subaru version of the two-door sports coupe is known as the BRZ, I got a drive of that one last year (catch my 2014 Subaru BRZ review here), the Toyota badged version is known as the 86 and it was great to kick off the New Year checking out the GTS grade with auto transmission.
All variants of the 2015 Toyota 86/Subaru BRZ share the same 2.0 litre Subaru non-turbo boxer engine that produces 147kW and 205Nm. Those figures are fairly mild, though with the 86/BRZ being a relatively light and compact vehicle it’s enough to get the coupe moving along respectably.
Expect to use around 9.5 litres of unleaded per 100kms in the city, the Toyota 86 auto has a claimed combined usage of 7.1L/100kms.
The free-revving engine is nicely compatible with the six-speed auto, though you can also manipulate the transmission like a manual gearbox via the nicely positioned, stubby, transmission lever – best of both worlds in a sense!
It was interesting to note that the Toyota and Subaru versions did have a slightly different feel out on the roads. To me, I would have to say that the Toyota version feels a little more ‘planted’ on the road with the Subaru variant having a distinctly more ‘skatey’ feel at the rear.
Both versions do boast really nicely weighted and sharp steering and while the ride is definitely handling-focussed neither the Toyota 86 nor Subaru BRZ are unreasonably uncomfortable.
The cabin clearly has a retro focus and works quite well. The toggle switches, suede covered seats and faux carbon fibre treatment on the dash and other areas add to the sporty feel of the coupe.
The touchscreen audio and navigation system is simple to use and quite well integrated in the Toyota 86 GTS, though volume control is on the left, necessitating a reach across for the driver.
The front seats are very snug but generally comfortable enough for most ‘average’ sized people, though the rear seat is really only going to be accessible and usable for smallish children!
Both the Toyota 86 and the Subaru BRZ boast full five-star ANCAP safety ratings.
Summing it up; after driving both the Toyota and Subaru variants, and checking out both the manual and automatic versions of the 86/BRZ twins, I’m impressed with the end result here.
Toyota has needed something genuinely sporty in the range for a long time and now has it in the 86, and with prices starting at just $29,990, it’s hard not to be really impressed!
NUTS and BOLTS – 2015 Toyota 86 GTS
Engine: 2.0 litre petrol producing 147kW and 205Nm
Transmission: Six-speed manual or six-speed auto
Safety: Five stars
Price: GT from $29,990, GTS from $36,490
Dave Conole owns and writes the independent vehicle review and news website – A Wheel Thing.
With over 15 years of automotive journalism and reviewing experience, plus front line experience in vehicle sales, Dave is proud to be aligned with Behind the Wheel.