I Still Want A Toyota 86

The Toyota 86 brings fun into the an automotive enthusiast’s hands.

Fun.  What is fun?  How do you define it as a driver?  For a lot of drivers, fun equates to lots of speed.  Sure, speed is a factor, but there are other elements to having fun in a car.  Some people want to join a demolition derby.  Some want to go off-roading.  Some equate fun to a pleasant, relaxed drive.  Some equate fun to a highly responsive car.  Sadly, the American public thinks more of speed and less of responsiveness, and it has hurt Scion FR-S sales.

Paulo Acoba pointed out that the latest Toyota 86 comes with a refreshed front end with an extra 5 horsepower and 5-lb.ft. of torque.  Most drivers can’t feel the difference.  I mean, who can actually feel a 2.5% increase in horsepower?  Admittedly, not me.

But man, I enjoyed every minute I’ve ever spent in the FR-S/BRZ/86.

It always starts with the seating position.  The seating position is what sets the posture for the driving style.  Are you in a luxury car or a mid-size car?  Chances are, you’ll have a more relaxed position.  Are you in an SUV or a truck?  I have a hunch you may sit a bit more upright.  In a sports car, it’s always a little bit more forward, and a little lower to the chassis.  That is a posture that maximizes a driver’s inputs and turns them into immediate responses on the road.

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The seat seems perfectly contoured to me.  The shifter?  It’s the perfect amount of notchy.  Throws are short, but you always know you’re completely into each gate for every gear.  The automatic drives better than expected.  What most don’t know is, once the automatic is placed into manual mode, the shift knob is directly vertical, like a rally shifter.

Pedal feel is solid, with response coming nearly immediately.

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I like how the car looks.  I love that the backseat can accomodate an extra pair of tires.  I love the square set up, so that the front and rear wheels are interchangeable.  I love the subtle bubble roof that allows for a bit of helmet space for racing.  I love how easy it is to modify, and make it become the car you really want.

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In the end, it’s a highly responsive platform.  If you want to add speed, there are turbochargers and superchargers available.  Different states may allow for complete engine swaps.  Personally?  I’ll take the direct steering feel, driving position, and quick-reacting chassis every time.  It’s one of the few times it puts the driver in complete control throughout the rev range and personally, nothing brings me more enjoyment than knowing I can maximize the abilities of the chassis.

Before my interests went to a Mazda2, Mazda6, and Honda Civic, it was cars like the the MR2 and Scion FR-S that won me over.  Deep down, I still have a soft spot for it.

Sure, it’s roughly $5,000 more than the Scion TC.  But, isn’t that $5,000 absolutely worth it?