Friday, February 3, 2023
Reviews 2022 Toyota GR86 Review: Pure and Simple II

2022 Toyota GR86 Review: Pure and Simple II

Toyota (and Subaru) did exactly what they needed to do with the GR86 and that’s tweak but not fix what wasn’t broken

  • The 2022 Toyota GR86 was priced from $31,490 in Canada, and $27,700 in the US.

  • The all-new car is still an absolute driver’s favorite.

  • The GR86 might be on the cusp of a big engine recall.

Let’s get this out of the way now: There have been reports of oil pan silicone (and from other parts) finding its way into the engine oil pick-up. The jamming of the pick-up’s strainer has already caused some engines to fail. As such, if you regularly track your GR86, it might be a very good idea to speak to your Toyota dealer about it.

The 2022 Toyota GR86 has a Big Silicone Problem

Mistakes happen. Even automakers that have built hundreds of millions of cars over decades can sometimes get it wrong. But other than the silicone issue, Toyota (and Subaru) once again nailed the GR86 (and BRZ).

That’s because it remains the ultimate budget-track-ready-ultra-driver’s car. The short of this review is that Toyota did what was necessary to shut the critics up, keep their fans onboard, and attract new customers. I am, of course, referring to more power.

2022 Toyota GR86 Premium | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

Just the right amount of power

The old naturally-aspirated 2.0-litre boxer 4-cylinder was replaced with a larger 2.4-litre unit. The extra 20% in displacement created two scenarios that make an enormous amount of difference and little at the same time. Up from 205 horsepower at 7,000 rpm and 156 lb.-ft. of torque from 6,400-6,600 rpm, the 2.4-litre produces 228 horsepower at 7,000 rpm and 184 lb.-ft. of torque at 3,700 rpm.

The change is loads more torque at lower engine speeds, and it’s immediately noticeable. Gently rolling on the throttle reveals a solid push that was once absent – I kid you not, my head went back into the headrest, something I’d never experienced before in an FR-S, 86, or BRZ. Where there’s no change is wring out the horizontally-opposed engine is still required to get all the power. The grumbly exhaust note inundates the cabin under hard acceleration and serves as a reminder that this car is about driving, about having fun.

2022 Toyota GR86 Premium | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

Thanks to the extra power, the Toyota GR86 will scoot to 100 km/h from a standstill in 6.5 seconds. This works to just over a half second faster than the previous generation cars but because of the early onset of torque, it feels much quicker. The list of “bests” for the car is endless so assume it’s all the best.

All the best from the GR86

In fact, the driving experience is one of the best. The unpolished nature of the car’s controls, yet still an improvement over the outgoing car, is so well executed – it’s good rough.

2022 Toyota GR86 Premium | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

One of the top things about driving the GR86 is the manual transmission. The throws are not smooth, mechanical, but short and satisfying, while the clutch simply obeys with just enough resistance. Compared to a GTI, there’s more work to do, for example. Heel and toeing is easy and ultimately engrossing when nailed.

Another top or best is steering. The electric power steering’s assistance also is rudimentary., but it’s not. In fact, steering is so well tuned that one could be forgiven to guess that it’s unassisted, once underway of course.

2022 Toyota GR86 Premium | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

The Toyota GR86’s chassis also straddles a sweet spot between feeling the impact of a grain of sand on the road and not being punished for opting to daily drive the sports car. Truth be told, I could go so far as to say the 86 is comfortable enough for long hauls. The suspension is however tuned for serious handling, aided in large part by the rear double wishbone configuration and supported by the 215/40R18 Michelin Pilot Sport tires.

The GR86, like the Mazda MX-5, is about balance in the forces. The power won’t overwhelm the amount of grip available unless induced. In other words, the driver must make an effort to upset the car’s staunch stability by, for example, yanking on the physical handbrakes, or doing a clutch kick. Both actions are highly recommended however only on a track.

Exotic car beautiful

2022 Toyota GR86 Premium | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

As I tried to convey in my video, the new GR86 is an ideal evolution from the car it replaces. Physically, the 2022 GR86 creates a shadow that is nearly identical to the old car. But visually, the new sports car dials up the exotic to the point that almost knocks the previous ones down a peg or two.

The 2022 Toyota GR86 is wide, flat, and with extraordinary proportions. The overhangs are tiny, the bonnet is long, and the wheelbase seems to go on forever. Over the base car, the Premium adds 18-inch wheels and a superb duckbill rear spoiler. The jury’s out as to whether the $3,000 premium for this version is worth it. In my opinion, most will not find as nice a set of wheels, tires, and a tasteful rear spoiler for only $3,000.

2022 Toyota GR86 Premium | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

Other inclusions include a leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated leather, and Alcantara-covered front seats, and more – that pretty much settles it.

The best improvement for the 2022 model year is the 86’s cabin. It presents as far more upscale with upgraded fit and finish, not to mention the new far more user-friendly 8-inch touchscreen infotainment display. The toggle switches are easy to access and read, and the same goes for the drive modes – there’s no voodoo to do the things you want to do. Space is ideal upfront, laughable in the rear – this is a 2+2 after all. And the seats are extremely supportive and comfortable.

Dedicated to a specific crowd

Like the Honda Civic Si, the Toyota GR86 (and Subie BRZ) is not for all as can be the Volkswagen GTI and GLI. This means you are less likely to cross a 50-year-old in an 86 than a GTI – for the younger among us, this is a bonus.

I’ve always thoroughly enjoyed my wheel time with the Scion FR-S, Subaru BRZ, and Toyota 86, and it’s only gotten better. It’s just fast enough, every minute at the wheel is time well spent, and the car’s never been more grownup all the while remaining extremely playful. Succinctly put, the new GR86 is pure and simple driving fun V2.

2022 Toyota GR86 Premium | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

2022 Toyota GR86 Premium | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

2022 Toyota GR86 Premium | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

2022 Toyota GR86 Premium | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

2022 Toyota GR86 Premium | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

2022 Toyota GR86 Premium | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

2022 Toyota GR86 Premium | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

2022 Toyota GR86 Premium | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

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Matt St-Pierre
Trained as an Automotive Technician, Matt has two decades of automotive journalism under his belt. He’s done TV, radio, print and this thing called the internet. He’s an avid collector of many 4-wheeled things, all of them under 1,500 kg, holds a recently expired racing license and is a father of two. Life is beautiful. Send Matt an emai


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