Review

Toyota GT 86 coupe

£22,700 - £28,650

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.