Nearly new buying guide: Toyota GT86

The GT86 sports car is a fun and engaging vehicle with everyday appeal. We investigate

Although sports cars can be appealing in principle, it is difficult to justify buying one used. They can be expensive to operate, difficult to drive in daily traffic, and have a uncouth ride.

Toyota is a company that has a long history of producing fun, affordable, and reliable performance cars. The GT86 was the result of a partnership with Subaru in 2012.

The Subaru BRZ’s 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine, which produces 197bhp, was used in the GT86. Although some hot hatches are more powerful than this, the GT86 had just enough power to allow its performance potential to be fully utilised. Because it lacks turbocharged low-down torque, the engine needs to be revved hard to achieve any acceleration.

The GT86 is an enjoyable car to drive in the dry. It has a direct steering feel, well-weighted chassis dynamics, and sufficient grip to keep you on the straights and narrows. The GT86 is meant to be playful and push the limits. You may notice the rear end slipping in damp conditions. It is very gradual and the standard stability system will help.

It is as comfortable as any sports car, and can absorb large shocks from potholes, speed bumps, and motorway expansion joints. It isn’t too soft to allow the car to bend a lot.

The Blue Edition joined a number of Club Sport special editions in 2018. You can get the optional performance pack if you find one that has black-painted 17in alloys. This will give you uprated Sachs dampers for better handling and larger Brembo brakes for greater performance. There is also more road noise.

Interior quality is another problem. The plastics used are brittle and hollow, and the switches feel like they came from a car 30 years ago. There is plenty of standard kit available, such as alloys, climate control, cruise controls, and xenon lights. The interior felt a little more luxurious with heated Alcantara seats, Alcantara inserts on door cards and dash, and later models of the Pro, Orange, and Blue Edition.

It is fine to have some space in the front. Although the front seats are very low to the ground, they are well-shaped and comfortable. This allows you to take long drives without feeling backache. The rear seats are not very spacious and can only be used for short trips.

The boot is spacious and folds down to allow for longer items. The boot opening is small, so you cannot load larger items. The Volkswagen Golf R is the best choice for those who want maximum performance and practicality. It can carry five people and their luggage.

You can find GT86s that have been repaired or damaged in an accident for as low as PS8000. However, it is better to pay between PS10,000 and PS11,000. Many 2013 and 2014 cars are in excellent condition with average mileage.

BUYER BEWARE

Engine Misfires can be fixed by ECU remap. It could be a defective coil pack in pre-2014 vehicles. Listen for a loud fuel pump and check for oil leaks in the right-hand side cylinder head gasket.

Battery Verify that the battery is of the uprated 65 Ah type.

Check that the second gear engages easily. When it is cold, the triple-cone synchros may be slower to work and cause a grunchy change. Owners recommend that you stop in neutral after the first gear shift, and then engage second with a firm shove. Technicians recommend using fresh fluid.

Tires Some owners may have replaced the slidy Michelin Primacy tires with 225-section rubber, which offers better grip. You can disengage the Vehicle Stability Control partially, but to turn it off completely, you must follow the complex procedure outlined at FT86club.com.

Body Owner forums abound with tales of tail-light lenses that have become cloudy. Replacements will be provided for cars still under warranty. Corrosion around the base of the quarter-light pillar is also reported. You should inspect for damage from crashes and poor repairs, as well as corrosion at the base and near the mirrors. You should also inspect the front bonnet weather sealing for rust.

Interior GT86ownersclub.co.uk has a thread that collects feedback. Lower dash, trim and rear seats are all major culprits. Twitterer covers, dashboard brackets and engine covers are also criticized. An early car’s gearlever rattled above 4000rpm, which was considered a warranty problem. Verify that the rear mirror is not deteriorating and the condition of front seat side cushions bolsters. Make sure that the rear seats are folded correctly and that the release buttons don’t have any problems.

You need to be familiar with

The combined NEDC fuel efficiency figure for the GT86 is 36.2mpg or 33.2mpg according to the WLTP tests. Automatics get 39.8mpg/32.9mpg, respectively. You’ll get a lot more if you drive it as intended.

Two recalls were issued for valve springs in early models and problems with power steering for cars manufactured before March 2015. Ask your Toyota dealer to find out if these recalls apply to your GT86.

Toyota is often near the top in What Car? Reliability surveys. It was last placed in the third spot out of 31 brands.

Our choice

Toyota GT86 We aren’t fussy so we would choose a car starting in 2017. A slight increase in power, but noticeable improvements in low-end torque, was the result of an engine update.

Wildcard

Litchfield tuned GT86: The GT86 was not a high-performance model, so it’s best to get this service from a trusted tuner. Litchfield designed, among other upgrades, a supercharger modification that increased power to 280bhp.

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