If a true driver-centric sports car is what you’re after, at an attainable price point, do I have a two-door for you. It’s the 2020 Toyota 86. I’ve driven it before, and after a second go at it, it holds up as the fun to drive, engaging sports car I remember. The Hakone Edition I’m reviewing this week only adds to its appeal, and it’s a ride that can be had for just under $33,000.
What It Is and Isn’t
The rear-wheel drive Toyota 86 is in my opinion a fundamentally great sports car. I think it’s the best-looking, most affordable and engaging sportster on the road today for the price with what I consider to be the easiest to drive 6-speed manual out there. It’s low to the ground, rides on a great chassis and looks great thanks to its design proportions.
That said, the 86 is not the most tech-forward sports car out there, lacking a huge modern infotainment screen and mind-blowing audio system. It features an 8-speaker system and to be fair, with its great exhaust sound, anything more would really be lost on its occupants. It’s simply not what this vehicle is about. It’s also not loaded to the gills with driver assist features if that’s important to you.
86 vs Supra
I’ve reviewed the 86 and the 2020 Supra and both are exceptional, yet very different sports cars in terms of power, features and of course price. Obvious exterior styling differences aside, a few key differences are:
- The 86 is roughly $20,000 less than the Supra, so the Supra nets more bells and whistles as expected.
- The 86 offers a 6-speed manual, the Supra does not.
- The 86 shares its power train with Subaru BRZ, the Supra with the BMW Z4.
- The 86 M/T delivers 205-horses, the Supra 3.0 Premium I reviewed delivers 335. (The Supra offers a lot more torque too.)
- The Supra sees heavy BMW influence in its interior design, materials and technology.
The 86’s 2.0-liter four-cylinder Boxer engine delivers 205-horsepower and 156 lb-ft of torque. We’ll have to wait and see if a turbocharged engine arrives with the next-generation redesign. Love its 6-speed manual - shifting is as smooth as butter. Acceleration was confident as was braking. Steering is responsive. A MacPherson sport-tuned suspension is designed to sharpen turn-in and enhance grip over uneven surfaces. Though I experienced some occasional rear-wheel slippage on wet roads during turns.
The 86 Hakone Edition is based on the GT grade which I reviewed last year. The limited edition Hakone package is named after the famed Hakone Turnpike southwest of Tokyo. I’m really impressed with what Toyota delivers here for an affordable price.
You’ll get the exclusive Hakone Green paint that looks terrific along with exclusive, sharp-looking bronze 17-inch alloy wheels. That’s on top of the GT’s matte black rear wing, aerodynamic underbody panel, LED headlights/daytime running lights/fog lights and LED rear combo tail lights. The entire lineup comes with dual chrome-tipped exhaust.
Open the door and you’ll be wowed with the Hakone Edition’s impressive tan leather-trimmed, alcantara insert front sport seats that look like they belong in a much pricier sports car. The leather-trimmed tilt/telescopic steering wheel and leather-wrapped parking brake handle feature tan contrast stitching as does the black sliding armrest.
The cabin sports a suede-like material on top of the instrument cluster hood, black stitching and tan stitched "86" logo embroidered on the passenger-side.
The Hakone Edition also comes with an exclusive trunk mat with tan "86" embossing and contrast stitching. Hakone Edition owners also receive a pair of tan key gloves and folio cover with a debossed 86 logo and black stitching.
The back seat is snug and the rear seat folds down.
Driving fun aside, technology could use an update in the 86. The 7-inch infotainment screen looks after-market, though the system offers Bluetooth and both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. You’ll find the backup camera displayed in the rearview mirror and it delivers a high quality, if small, image.
A 4.2-inch driver display gives vehicle data like lap times, horsepower/torque curves, and a G-force friction circle.
A USB and 12-volt are located up front.
Standard and Optional Equipment
Standard equipment includes dual-zone automatic climate control, heated seats, anti-theft system, cruise control, push button start, and remote keyless entry.
My test vehicle is optionally equipped with a TRD Exhaust System ($1,100), TRD Sway Bar ($550) and TRD Air Filter ($75) along with All Weather floor mats ($169) and an Emergency Kit ($59).
The Toyota 86 lacks Toyota’s Safety Sense suite of driver assistance technology, since it was developed in partnership with a Subaru. Instead, it has the Star Safety System which includes: Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC), Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution, Brake Assist (BA) and Smart Stop Technology® (SST).
Blind Spot Monitoring really should be standard on this vehicle.
The 2020 Toyota 86 is as fun to drive as advertised. A sports car in the truest sense of the word, it’s focused most on engaging driving. For just under $33,000, the Hakone Edition delivers exclusive style that ups the GT’s game while still keeping it at a great price point.
2020 Toyota 86 Hakone Edition
- What I liked most: Aside from being flat out fun to drive and its 6-speed manual, the impressive tan leather-trimmed sport bucket seats that elevate the cabin far beyond its price tag.
- What I would change: Needs an infotainment update.
- MSRP: $29,870; as equipped $32,778.
- Fuel economy: 21 city/28 highway/24 combined (requires Premium Fuel)
- Official color: Hakone Green.
- Odometer reading when tested: 176 miles.
- Weight: 2,799 lbs.
- Length-width-height: 166.7” long/ 69.9” wide/52” tall
- Fuel-tank capacity: 13.2 gallons.
- Towing capacity: N/A.
- Spare tire: Temporary spare.
- 2020 Toyota 86 Hakone Edition in a few words: A limited edition that makes the 86 even more appealing for the purist sports car that it is.
- Warranty: 3-year/36,000-mile Comprehensive Basic, 5-year/60,000-mile Powertrain, 5-year/unlimited-mileage corrosion perforation.
- Final assembly location: Ota, Gunma, Japan.
- Manufacturer’s website: Toyota