- Beautifully smooth, slick and rewarding to drive
- New 2.4L boxer engine gives much better performance
- Very much the RWD performance hero we need in today's world
- Rear seats aren't for transporting people
- It's gotten expensive and isn't the performance bargain it used to be
- Lacking key safety equipment such as AEB in 2023 is a sin
It’s hard to believe that it’s already been 10 years since Toyota shocked the world back in 2012 when it launched the original 86. For 2023, Toyota is celebrating that 10th anniversary in style with the 2023 Toyota GR86 10th Anniversary Edition. Limited to only 86 units, the 10th Anniversary Edition is only available only in orange and is a tribute to the Toyota’s iconic rear-wheel drive coupe that was called the 86 in its first generation, becoming the the GR86 with the second generation model we see here.
The 10th Anniversary Edition takes the brilliance of the normal GR86 GTS and gives it some eye-catching orange paint and some fancy stitching inside. The recipe of a naturally aspirated boxer engine, rear-wheel drive and a six-speed manual (or auto) remain intact for the 2023 GR86 10th Anniversary Edition, meaning it continues to be compact and (reasonably) affordable sports car we know and love. With almost all examples of the GR86 10th Anniversary Edition already sold, we got behind the wheel to see whether this limited edition is a worthy celebration of an epic car.
Price & Equipment: 7.5/10
The 2023 Toyota GR86 range kicks off with the entry-level GT which starts at $43,240 plus on-road costs and steps up to $45,390 plus on-road costs for the GTS. Manual versions cost the same as auto models.
The 2023 Toyota GR86 10th Anniversary Edition comes in at $46,700 plus on-road costs, meaning that it commands a $1,300 premium over the top-spec GTS. An automatic transmission is available as a no-cost extra.
Standard equipment on the GR86 GT includes:
- 17-inch alloy wheels
- Dusk-sensing automatic LED headlights
- Heated and electric-folding mirrors
- Black fabric front seats
- Leather steering wheel and shift knob
- Dual-zone climate control
- 7.0-inch digital instrument cluster
- 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system
- AM/FM/DAB+ digital radio
- Wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
- Six-speaker sound system
- Keyless entry and push button start
- Autonomous emergency braking (AEB – auto only)
- Lane departure warning (auto only)
- Seven airbags
- Tyre pressure monitoring
- Cruise control
The GR86 GTS adds:
- Matte black 18-inch alloy wheels
- Steering responsive adaptive headlights
- Suede and leather interior trim
- Heated front seats
- Aluminium pedals and scuff plates
- Lights for sun visors
- Rear cross-traffic alert
- Blind-spot monitor
The GR86 10th Anniversary adds:
- Solar Orange exterior finish
- Orange contrast stitching inside
- 10th Anniversary stitching on doors
- Black interior highlights instead of silver
Sadly, all manual models in the GR86 range miss out on absolutely critical life-saving safety equipment. AEB and lane departure warning are both missing, though they’re both to be added for the 2024 model year. A big black mark for the GR86 in manual spec, considering the GR86 in automatic has this safety equipment as standard. Lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, auto high beam, rear parking sensors, tyre pressure monitoring system and reverse auto braking are all missing from the manual, but found on the automatic. Safety kit offered on the manual GR86 still includes seven airbags, a hill holder, stability control a reversing camera and an alarm, as well as blind spot monitoring and rear-cross traffic alert.
Rear-wheel drive coupes at this price point are rare and its twin under the skin, the Subaru BRZ 10th Anniversary Edition automatic, is $190 more expensive than GR86 10th Anniversary. The manual BRZ 10th Anniversary Edition undercuts the GR86 10th Anniversary Edition by $3,590.
Performance & Economy: 9/10
The GR86 is one analogue beast in today’s world of digitisation. There’s nothing mechanically different between the 10th Anniversary and the 86 GTS, meaning that under the bonnet of the 10th Anniversary Edition sits a 2.4-litre naturally aspirated boxer four-cylinder petrol producing 174kW of power at 7,000rpm and 250Nm of torque at 3,700rpm.
The original 86 was never about outright performance figures, but the new GR86 will nonetheless do the 0-100km/h sprint time in around 6.5 seconds, bringing miles of driving smiles. The entire drivetrain feels super lively and sufficiently muscular in a way the old car never did. There’s torque to be found throughout the rev range, with a beautifully linear and relaxed feel. It pulls happily from low revs in second or third gear around town, and starts to sing at higher speeds. Sure it won’t propel you into the back of your seat like a GR Corolla, but be willing to row the stubby stick shifter, and the GR86 will put a massive smile on your face.
The manual transmission feels super precise, with a swift and short action. The clutch itself is a little springy feeling, but still feels very natural. Even the pedals are perfectly spaced for some heel and toe action. While an auto is available as a no-cost option, you’d be silly to not choose the manual in such a pure, driver’s car. This is a back to basics sports car hero, and the weapon of choice for many seeking to carve up a backroad through the hills. The GR86’s drivetrain brings out the very best of a car like the GR86. We just wish the manual variant had the same safety features as the automatic.
Luckily, the GR86 is not all that thirsty as claimed fuel economy for the 2023 Toyota GR86 10th Anniversary manual is 9.5L/100km on the combined cycle, with a 50L fuel tank requiring 98 RON premium unleaded fuel. In the real world, the GR86 matches that figure around town, in a world where many hot hatches and heavier cars grossly understate their consumption figures.
Ride & Handling: 9/10
The GR86 has long impressed us with is handling prowess and this 10th Anniversary Edition continues to do so. It’s blessed with a taut, and beautifully balanced chassis, allowing for drivers to have some sublime fun through corners. As a package, it’s hard to fault for keen drivers, turning into tight corners sharply with little body roll with tons of grip through corners too.
The sticky Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres are much better than the ones fitted to the base GR86 GT and allow for some serious speed through corners, with the limited slip differential capable of applying power to the rear wheel with the most grip. This is a car that is sublime fun to drive, and pretty much as good as things get from non supercars.
The suspension tune is also spot on for daily driving, with the ride quality bordering on comfortable. Around town, it rides beautifully over speed bumps and potholes and is super relaxing to drive in traffic. The steering is beautifully weighted and super immediate off centre, while still light enough not to fatigue the driver around town. It feeds information on what the car is doing through the driver’s hands and is an absolute winner.
Sadly, heading out of town with the GR86 won’t be as enjoyable as it could be as there is quite a bit of tyre noise when driving at speed. Tyre roar and wind noise are ever present, but after a few days of driving, it’s nonetheless easy to get used to the levels of noise in the GR86’s cabin. After all, this isn’t a luxury car, but a sportscar. The GR86 very much nails the brief of what it was conceived to do: to be the purest driving experience possible, for an affordable price.
Interior & Practicality: 8/10
Toyota has worked hard to make the GR86’s interior a more inviting place to spend time in and has really focused on getting the basics right for keen drivers. From the driving position to all the key touchpoints, this is an interior designed for driving enthusiasts. It’s cosy sure, but it’s never tight for front occupants with a feeling of decent interior length rather than outright volume. Add in the 2023 GR86 10th Anniversary Edition’s orange trim pieces and the interior has been truly livened up, feeling just that little bit more special.
Up front, the driving position is spot on, with the front seats feeling beautifully supportive for enthusiastic driving. The steering wheel, gear knob, and handbrake lever all trimmed in leather, the armrests are nicely trimmed and soft, with a general feeling of solidity. Sure, it might lack the back-vault feeling of a high-end German car, but this interior is world away from the dark and cheaply built previous generation 86. All the major controls fall nicely too hand, too. The climate control switches and dials look and feel great too.
We’re not sold on the half analogue/half digital instrument cluster, which looks a little dated, without the classiness we would expect from traditional gauges. The 7.0-inch screen offers almost no customisability, but we love that it still manages to display all the key driving parameters we would expect from a sportscar.
Storage spaces are good up front with a large glovebox, a lidded centre console, and some large door bins. Oddly, I found it impossible to close the centre console’s lid with my USB cable plugged in. Rather annoying when Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both wired.
The 8.0-inch touchscreen might is godsend compared to the low resolution screen in the old car. It works well and feels very much in line with the GR86’s ethos of being a purist’s car. It’s simple and easy to use, while the screen quality is a little on the poor side with colours washed out in bright sunlight. The six-speaker sound system is decent too, with punchy bass and some nicely controlled treble.
The GR86 is very much a 2+2 sportscar, meaning that the back seats, while they are there and have seatbelts, are essentially a storage space for the front occupants’ odds and ends. Entry and egress are still an affair for a contortionist sliding, and once in, be prepared to have no legroom. Space is truly at a premium in the rear and the rear bench should only really be reserved for kids.
Opening the boot shows off the GR86’s reasonable 237-litres of cargo space, which is far more capacious than an MX-5. The GR86 will nonetheless never be as practical as a hot hatch, and there is also no spare tyre in the GR86, but a tyre inflation kit in its place. Folding the seats down does yield a nice flat load bay. Think of the GR86 as a practical two-seater, nothing more, and you’ll be pleased with the GR86’s practicality.
Service & Warranty: 8/10
Like other models in the 2023 Toyota range, the 2023 Toyota GR86 10th Anniversary comes with a five-year unlimited kilometre warranty. Sadly, Toyota does not offer any form of roadside assistance as standard. Mazda offers the same five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty with the MX-5, along with five years of roadside assistance as well.
The 2023 Toyota GR86 10th Anniversary needs to visit the dealership for a service every 12 months or 15,000km, whichever comes first with the total servicing cost over five years or 75,000km coming out to be a reasonable $1,500 ($300 per service). By comparison, the Mazda MX-5 needs to be serviced every 12 months or 10,000km and will cost $2,077 over five years/50,000km (or $415 per service).
2023 Toyota GR86 10th Anniversary DiscoverAuto Rating: 8.3/10
While it might be sold out, the 2023 Toyota GR86 10th Anniversary Edition once again proves how fundamentally epic the GR86 is. Toyota (and Subaru who builds the cars) have absolutely nailed this sportscar and luckily, all of the GR86 models in Toyota’s lineup are still very much on sale and not sold out. A mechanically identical GR86 GTS will be very much the same as this 10th Anniversary model, for a little less cash and whole lot less orange.
As a lover of front-wheel drive hot hatches, the GR86 continues to be something new to me. It’s beautifully simple, yet sophisticated and something I could certainly see myself buying. More powerful, better to drive and more usable everyday than its predecessor, the GR86 proves just how right Toyota and Subaru got this car. Sure, it might not be the quietest thing on the road, and not as flashy or as tech laden as some hot hatches, and it certainly deserves more active safety kit, but the GR86, and indeed this 2023 Toyota GR86 10th Anniversary edition is a worthy tribute to one of the most impressive vehicle lineages of the past decade.