In the midst of the GR Corolla reveal online last week, Toyota dropped off one of the new GR86s for us to review. It was a good week lol. BUT – in the mist of that GR Corolla reveal heralding the authenticity & purity of Toyota’s GR line… our GR86 press car came with a total slushy-box automatic transmission. Wtf seriously?

red GR86

So we’re calling this the GR43… because with an auto, it’s half of an 86.

It’s like a GR86 playing through of those cheap bluetooth speakers you get right near the checkout line at TJ Maxx. Driving a GR86 with an automatic transmission, is like opening the box of taco shells & half of ’em are already broken. And I’m sure the only reason Toyota even has the auto in their press fleet, is because most ‘automotive media’ doesn’t even know how to drive stick anymore. So I blame the nerdy media more than Toyota honestly. Welcome to the future boys it’s awesome here. 

tint GR86

But looking past the auto…

Chassis-wise, the GR86 is everything you’d want it to be. It’s every bit as good as the MX-5. Maybe better (you’d reeeeally have to drive them back-to-back to even begin making a call). I think in the real world, it really comes down to personal preference. The main factors being whether or not you want a drop-top. And whether or not you need the backseat. Anyway, getting back to the drive… 

The GR86 is very well sorted… pretty much love at first drive.

There is nothing remotely bad to say here. Steering is direct & precise, and at approximately 2,800lbs, the car feels light, eager, & agile. The more you push the GR86, the better it feels… and the more it locks in. I loved it. Suspension is responsive, yet also forgiving. The boxer engine really helps to keep the GR86’s center of gravity low. And the upgraded 2.4 liters of displacement nicely fills in that torque dip/void that’s often criticized in the first generation FRS/BRZ/86. They’re claiming 228hp. I don’t quite feel that much in the seat of an automatic, but simply put, the GR86 has more oomph. And it comes alive higher in the RPMs… around 4,500 & beyond. Keep the revs up, and it’s a ton of fun AND surprisingly quick.

GR86 review

The interior is clean & minimalistic…

As if you’re looking out from the cockpit of a race car. It’s been spruced-up a little bit from the last model, but it’s not overdone or overcomplicated. The GR86’s interior gives you everything you want, and nothing you don’t. Well that’s not entirely true. Because I do wish the steering wheel was just a lil bit thicker. And a targa/t-tops would be super neat. But I’m dreaming at this point. 

Our advice – you should 100% keep the GR86 on your radar.

If you’re in the market for a fun, attractive sports car that you can really enjoy within the limits of the law… go test-drive this car. But not this one. Not the automatic lol. Look I’m speaking as your friend here: If you like the idea of the GR86 & you can’t drive a stick… learn. It’s not an impossible task. Just ask Youtube. Or ask literally any of your car enthusiast friends; they’d love to teach you in your new GR86, trust me. I know everyone has their excuses, but you’re just not buying the whole car when you buy the automatic here.