Toyota GT 86 coupe

Price  £22,700 - £28,650

Toyota GT 86 coupe

reviewed by Carbuyer

  • Huge fun to drive
  • Great value for money
  • Good standard equipment
  • Cramped rear seats
  • Dated interior design
  • Engine sluggish at low revs

At a glance

The greenest
2.0 Boxer D-4S GT86 Auto 2dr £25,995
The cheapest
2.0 Boxer D-4S GT86 Primo 2dr £22,700
The fastest
2.0 Boxer D-4S GT86 2dr £25,000
Top of the range
2.0 Boxer D-4S GT86 Blanco 2dr £28,650

"The Toyota GT 86 is a stylish, back-to-basics coupe that overcomes most of its shortcomings by being brilliant to drive."

The Toyota GT 86 is a sleek coupe that’s even more enjoyable to drive than it is to look at. With a 197bhp 2.0-litre petrol engine, precise and engaging handling, responsive brakes and traditional rear-wheel drive, the GT 86 is almost perfect for the driving enthusiast. It may not be the quickest car in its class but its superb balance inspires confidence and makes it a sports car you never feel afraid to drive quickly. We like it enough that the car won Carbuyer's Best Coupe award in 2014.

Toyota is keen to shake off its reputation for making cars that are reliable but bland, so worked in partnership with Subaru to develop a sporty coupe – that car became the GT 86. As well as being great to drive, the GT 86 is also very good value for money.

It starts at around £22,000 and is intended to tempt buyers away primarily from the Audi TT. While the TT is arguably more stylish and the better all-rounder, the GT 86 has its own niche appeal and is a great alternative if you’re non-plussed by the more popular Audi. The Nissan 370Z is more powerful and more muscular than the GT 86 but we still prefer the Toyota as an overall package. The GT 86 may not boast the best interior or most cutting-edge design but it’s solidly built and comes with plenty of standard equipment.

When buying a GT 86, it’s also worth considering the Subaru BRZ, which is virtually identical mechanically and offers a little more equipment as standard. If you decide you prefer the Toyota brand and dealership, you have the choice of a GT 86 with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic gearbox.

The GT 86’s main area of weakness is its interior, which lags behind the Volkswagen Scirocco and is put firmly in the shade by the latest Audi TT in terms of design and quality of materials. The other minor drawbacks worth mentioning are a lack of practicality relative to rivals and the fact that the 2.0-litre petrol engine, the only one available in the GT 86, isn’t as efficient as those available in other coupes.

Despite these criticisms, the GT 86 is still a hugely fun and enjoyable car to own and is a rarer sight on the road than more common choices like the Scirocco and the TT.

If you’re buying a coupe and like the look of the GT 86, we recommend the mid-range trim that’s known simply as GT 86. It comes with almost all the standard equipment you could ever really want or need. The car is quicker and more involving to drive if you stick with the manual gearbox, so we’d advise against paying extra for the automatic.

MPG, running costs & CO2

3.1 / 5

The Toyota GT 86 is not as fuel-efficient as its rivals

Engines, drive & performance

4.8 / 5

The Toyota GT 86 is most at home on a twisty back road

Interior & comfort

2.9 / 5

The Toyota GT 86 is quite well suited to everyday use, but the Audi TT is more refined

Practicality & boot space

2.2 / 5

The Toyota GT 86 is not ideal for carrying larger items, and the rear seats are almost useless

Reliability & safety

4.8 / 5

Toyota is well known for making very reliable cars

What the others say

4.7 / 5
based on 3 reviews
4 / 5
"Get the revs above 4,000rpm, however, and the Toyota pulls strongly all the way to its 7,400rpm red line – although this relatively narrow powerband means that you will have to make plenty of use of the precise, but slightly clunky, six-speed manual gearbox. The star of the show is the Toyota’s chassis. Engineers have worked hard to achieve near-perfect weight distribution, with the result that the GT 86 is beautifully poised when threaded through a series of bends."
5 / 5
"The GT 86 is that now-rare concoction, a simple, affordable, rear-drive coupé designed for pure driving amusement without being burdened by excessive technology – a sort of faster, sharper MX-5 with a coupe body. It uses Subaru-flavoured componentry, specifically a 1998cc flat-four engine and a platform derived from that of the just-launched new Impreza, but the idea of a front engine and rear-wheel drive is a welcome return to what used to work so well."
5 / 5
"See it in the pictures and the GT-86 looks a long way from epochal. You'd be forgiven for wondering what all the fuss is about. The style is sports-coupé ubiquity, nice nose, but derivative tail treatment, although the front wing bulges are a nice touch. It also looks bigger than it is, although in reality, the GT 86 is quite a small car at just 14ft long and weighing just over a ton (1,188kg)."
What owners say 
4.8 /5 based on 13 reviews
 of people would recommend this car to a friend

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Last updated 
18 Feb 2016
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