22 July 2012| Images by: Nishaam Ebrahim | Review by: RaceMasteR J.

Since there was so much talk of the new Toyota 86, especially between myself and some friends, I personally wanted to see what all the fuss was about. I met up with a generous owner of one recently to do a quick inspection and shoot of the car, but at the end of the night, I never got to drive the car like Nadeem did in his review, so we rescheduled another appointment for me to put the car through its paces.

Sunday morning came and I finally got to drive the car how I wanted to… sideways! I mean, that’s what everyone’s talking about? Isn’t it? It’s supposedly the new Hachi Roku is it not? This car supposed to go sideways pretty well, but nowhere locally have I found anyone mentioning anything about that. I had to see for myself. Now I’m not going to tell you about how good the driving position is, or how it looks in the metal or even about its fuel economy. You can go to your local dealership for that. I’ll give you my view on how it drives… in a bit.

In all honesty, this new model does stay true to the original 86’s personality; it’s an “underpowered” drift car. But in today’s time, why do you want to release an underpowered car? Well, Toyota is marketing it as a “fun” car, and by all means, you most certainly can and will have a lot of fun driving it. But it all comes down to what your definition of fun is? If you’re an Initial D fan, never owned a rear wheeled drive car before and have the budget to own this car but still drive it every day to work and back, this car is for you. Why? Personally I feel it’s a good tool for novice “wana be” drifters (like me). It doesn’t have enough power to kill you, which is a good thing. You will be able to throw the car into a corner, kick the tail out and still be able to control it. End result – a huge smile on your face! Guaranteed! You won’t be able to do long continuous drifts, but a little “ass kicking” action is all a novice needs. This car will be loads of fun on a track day. Pushing it past its limit and then catching it without crashing is great to build confidence.

What about more powerful cars for the same price? You might be able to pick up an e46 M3. It’s more powerful and we all know it can drift. But it’s old and for someone who’s a noob at tail sliding, an M3 would be somewhat intimidating. Plus you don’t know how long the motor plan is going to last or if it even has one still? So maintenance would be an issue eventually. Putting it in a nutshell, if you are used to drifting rear wheeled drive power plants, this car is not for you.

So, how did it drive you ask? Well, I had to ring its neck to get it to slide. I did have fun doing it, but I had to work hard to get it. After playing around with the Raceweb RX7, with almost double the power on low boost, this session in the 86 became somewhat of a gym workout. It might not look it, but I know I put more effort in. Which brings me back to it being true to its “86 underpowered personality”. Yes it’s very light, but it should have had just a little more power. I would have gone Turbo with this. Because with a turbo set up there’s plenty of room for improvement. Yes turbos can be laggy, but a small turbo would spool before you even asked it to. And turning up the boost is so simple now days on stock motors, which offer you different power packages. Look at the Golf 6 GTi. Minimal upgrades on that car and you can run low 13’s. Pity it’s a front wheel drive.

So in conclusion, this base car is good, but not great. It does have the potential to be great, but I guess we have to see what the aftermarket industry has on offer to us because the 86, in my opinion, has not earned its stripes… yet!

Watch the on board video of me sliding it around below...

RaceMasteR J


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