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2023 Toyota GR86 Review - Sports Coupe Perfection At A Crazy Low Price

If you are looking for an ideal sports coupe and have a budget under $35K, the 2023 Toyota GR86 is the answer.

The 2023 Toyota GR86 is a rear-drive sports coupe at a price nearly any enthusiast can afford. With a sticker price just a smidge over $34K, this car comes with all the go-fast bits that sports car enthusiasts want. Best of all, it offers the same driving satisfaction and excitement that of most sports coupes costing twice its price.

Image of 2023 Toyota GR86 interior courtesy of Toyota2023 Toyota GR86 - What Is It?
The GR86 is a compact sports coupe. It has a rear-wheel drive layout, offers a six-speed manual transmission, a powerful engine that loves to play, and a limited-slip differential. Our tester had microfiber cloth sports seats, a dual sport exhaust, and the look, feel, and excitement of a classic sports car.

2023 Toyota GR86 - What Powers It?
The GR68 has a four-cylinder, normally-aspirated (non-turbo), horizontally-opposed 2.4-liter gas engine. Peak power is 228 hp, and unlike nearly all road-going cars, we guarantee you will use it. Often.

The engine is the perfect balance of raspy, playful, and linear. Linear means the power builds gradually. You don't have to wait for 5,500 RPM like in older Honda sporty cars for the power to be satisfying. On the contrary, the power and gearing are perfectly tuned to offer ideal levels of torque and thrust in pretty much every imaginable situation.

How Does the 2023 Toyota GR86 Drive?
The GR86 is so quick off the line that its rear tires could not handle much more power. Especially when turning like from a stop sign. Once Underway, the engine speaks to you subliminally and says, “Go faster!” You do. With every shift, you go deeply into the rev band. The only problem with the GR86 is that public roads are just not enough for it to run.

We’ve tracked the GR86 in prior generations when it had a different name. It is an ideal racetrack day car. You can easily drive it, slide it neutrally sideways in corners, predict the braking points, and heel-toe your way to nirvana on any closed course.

Back to braking. Like the Miata, the GR86 offers pretty much perfect brakes. The best pedal feel on the market. Couple that with race tires, which is what the car normally comes with, and you are in the best possible vehicle for back road blast you can buy, At any price.

Is the 2023 Toyota GR86 With the Six-Speed Manual A Hassle In Normal Traffic?
If you’ve had the benefit/punishment of owning a six-speed sports car as a daily driver like I have (twice), you know that some sports cars simply make you miserable in traffic. This one is tolerable.

There is so much torque you can shift 1-3 or 1-2-4 and still arrive at your destination able to walk. Our colleague, George Kennedy of Car Gurus and other outlets, said of this car, “If you're into carving corners on your commute, the Toyota GR 86 is the ultimate daily driver.”

How Is the GR86 On the Highway?
The GR86 is acceptable for highway use. At 70 MPH in sixth gear, the tach is at exactly 3,000 RPM. So it won't drive you nuts if you are in it on the highway for 30 minutes or so. Our tester had the optional sport exhaust. It was fine for around-town use with windows open but droning inside on the highway.

Is the Toyota GR86 a Good Cruiser and Touring Vehicle?
With both of the side glass windows down, the GR86 does not have any buffeting or booming. So it’s nice. However, it really needs a sunroof or convertible top. We would think hard about convertible options for a weekend car, and this one doesn't come with one.

Is the Toyota GR86 Big Enough?
Sadly, many full-size male humans can’t fit comfortably (or at all) in a Mazda Miata. The GR86 is big enough for those six-foot-three inches tall. Even those weighing in at over 225 pounds can still find comfort in the seats. So, if you tried the Miata and didn’t fit, try the GR86. It’s meaningfully larger.

Can I drive the GR86 In Winter?
Nope, you cannot safely drive the GR86 in temperatures below freezing, in snow, or on ice as it ships from the dealer. The car comes equipped with Michelin Pilot Sport 4 Max Performance, Summer Only rubber. You will need dedicated winter rubber for use in cold climates.

Image of 2023 Toyota GR86 interior courtesy of ToyotaDoes The GR86 Have Back Seats and a Usable Trunk?
The GR86 has small back seats, and when you use the front seats, they come so close to the rear ones that you cannot really fit adults in the back. However, you can fit children if you move up. If you have one child to fit, let’s say you pick up a child daily at school, etc., you can pull up the front passenger seat, and the child has ample room to be comfortable in the passenger-side rear seat.

The trunk in the GR86 is actually decent-sized. More than ample for a full load of groceries, a pair of weekend luggage kits for adults, or a beach day’s load of stuff for two.

2023 GR86 - What Does It Cost?
Before dealer markups, doc fees, and added dealer options, the GR86 starts at just under $30K. Our GR86 was a “Premium.” It came with $2K in options we would skip. The $1,700 sport exhaust and the $295 black lug nuts and wheel locks. Including the options, ours had a sticker price of $34,123.

Should I Get a Supra or a GR86?
Are you considering the GR86 as a substitute for the Supra due to budget reasons? If so, rejoice! We would pick the GR86 over the Supra even if the Supra were the same price. And for the record, your author is a former Supra owner.

2023 Toyota GR86 Conclusion
We give the 2023 Toyota GR86 two thumbs up. If you want a coupe (instead of a convertible), this is the absolute best vehicle of the type you can buy at any price. And we mean that for both public roads and on-track use.

John Goreham is an experienced New England Motor Press Association member and expert vehicle tester. John completed an engineering program with a focus on electric vehicles, followed by two decades of work in high-tech, biopharma, and the automotive supply chain before becoming a news contributor. In addition to his ten years of work at Torque News, John has published thousands of articles and reviews at American news outlets. He is known for offering unfiltered opinions on vehicle topics. You can follow John on Twitter, and TikTok @ToknCars, and view his credentials at Linkedin

2023 Toyota GR86 side view image by John Goreham. Image of 2023 Toyota GR86 interior courtesy of Toyota. Image of 2023 Toyota GR86 interior courtesy of Toyota.