Search CarGuide.PH

March 17, 2015

Review: 2015 Toyota 86 M/T

Photos by Ulysses Ang
Out of the box, the Toyota 86 feels like a champ. Yes, there are some people who grumbled that it needs a hundred horsepower more, but consider that the extreme minority. For everyone else, the love affair with the 86 is not found in its straight-line tarmac tearing ability, but in its astute handling. By and large, it’s one of the purest and unadulterated sports cars on the planet. It sticks to the right stuff: lightweight, low center of gravity, engine in front and drive wheels at the back. Show it a tight, hairpin-filled road and it will pretty much oblige while putting a smile on your face.

As the 86 arrives for its mid-cycle refresh, the question beckons: how do you perfect perfection? What can you absolutely tweak to make it better while keeping with the same winning formula as before? Welcome Toyota’s answer. This is the 2015 Toyota 86—a car so subtly modified that you’ll be forgiven for not telling it apart from the 2012 model, unless you put them side-by-side.

Cutting to the chase, the one and only exterior modification done for this year is found near the rear-end, specifically, the roof. Swapping the old bee-sting type antenna, the 2015 Toyota 86 gains a shark-fin antenna. This minor change doesn’t drastically alter the appearance nor does it add power or aerodynamic efficiency, but it does lend a sportier flair.

Personally, I was daydreaming about getting an 86 once and at that time, the only thing I wanted to change was the antenna. I wanted to swap that long pole for something shorter; like one of those aluminum shorty types. It’s something I’ve installed on my Subaru and I know that the added style comes at the expense of radio reception. Toyota’s solution is actually better. It’s sportier and doesn’t compromise radio reception at all. There’s just something satisfying listening to Love Radio while darting in and out of traffic.

Inside, the changes to the 2015 model are equally minor though much more noticeable. The “Space Invaders” pattern on the dashboard is now gone and in its place is a new carbon fiber motif. And it’s not the shiny kind either (I’m referring to you, WRX), but matte. It certainly adds a touch of premium-ness while still keeping some of the racy characteristics such as the red patches on the steering wheel, gear knob, seats, and door handles.

Singlehandedly, the most important change is in the radio system. The Toyota OEM radio system finally bids bye-bye and is replaced by a new Kenwood 2-DIN system.  Thankfully, it forgoes any sort of touchscreen interface and instead relies on good, old-fashioned buttons. They’re small, but at least they can be operated by tactile feel once you get used to the layout. The screen is large and displays audio track names but looks somewhat pixel-starved. And speaking about Bluetooth, yes the 86 finally moves to the modern era by having hands-free. Not only does the Kenwood do audio streaming, it does telephony as well. It can even sync with your phone book if you want it to. An interesting note is that the mic though is located where the USB/Aux jack used to be (it moves to the head unit itself), so shouting may be necessitated at times.

Despite all the rumors, nothing has been changed with the Toyota 86’s drivetrain. It still has the Toyota/Subaru FA20 horizontally-opposed four-cylinder engine with 200 horsepower and 205 Nm of torque. Like before, it produces a nice, throaty note without being overbearing. It feels very civilized whether for traffic or long-distance touring use. The experience is never tiring to say the least. It’s well-behaved in city traffic achieving up to 10.52 km/L. But the engine’s revver too with a 7,500-rpm redline and for more spirited driving, you do need to capitalize on that since it only comes alive at higher engine speeds. Mated to the engine is a 6-speed manual with an easy-to-module clutch and precise throws. The clutch’s engagement point is a bit high, but it’s forgiving to use. There’s even a programmable shift indicator if you wish to be reminded when to upshift, whether by visual or aural cue.

Though everything under the hood is left unchanged, engineers worked to enhance the suspension aspect of the Toyota 86. The old model is known for its tail-happy attitude, especially at the limit. For 2015, this has been dialed down for the sake of improving stability and steering feel. The foundation is actually in the new rear shock absorbers with better damping ability and improved friction control. And to fully exploit this change, the front-end sub-frame is also strengthened.

From memory, this suspension tweak has changed the Toyota 86’s handling compared to three years ago. It’s not a fundamental one since it’s just as pointable and delightful as it was before. However, the tail happy attitude has been somewhat dialed back. Where the rear-end always felt like snapping out mid-corner, the 2015 model just happily digs into them. There’s more understeer going into corners, but is balanced out by a crisper, more linear steering feel and less body lean. There’s also better progressiveness in the way the suspension behaves, giving the driver a much better understanding of the car’s limits. It’s also much more compliant on less-than perfect roads. In other words, it behaves very much like a Subaru BRZ now, a fact confirmed since the Toyota 86’s twin sister has indeed ditched its unique suspension tuning for 2015 as well. In other words, the 86 loses its tail happy attitude while the BRZ ditches trying to emulate an all-wheel drive vehicle. Both cars now tread on the middle ground, perhaps for the sake of production simplicity?

Regardless of the reason behind the suspension change, it’s a welcome one. It makes the Toyota 86 less of a handful at the limit while still retaining its role as a lovely, affordable sports car. The same goes for the other minor revisions such as the sharks-fin antenna, the carbon fiber interior trim, and the Kenwood sound system; they’re all welcome changes and evolve the 86 without messing up with the tried-and-tested formula. I’ve been asked countless of times what sports car I’d get for less than P 3-million, and in a heartbeat, I always say, Toyota 86. It may not be as fast in a straight line as a Ford Mustang or as roomy as the Hyundai Genesis Coupe, but there’s just something I prefer in its rifle-like precision. No other car can put a smile like that on my face, and that experience makes it all the more priceless.

2015 Toyota 86
Ownership 2015 Toyota 86 M/T
Year Introduced 2012 (Refreshed: 2015)
Vehicle Classification Sports Car
The Basics
Body Type 2-door coupe
Seating 2+2
Engine / Drive F/R
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 2.0
Aspiration Normally Aspirated, Direct Injection
Layout / # of Cylinders Flat-4
BHP @ rpm 200 @ 7,000
Nm @ rpm 205 @ 6,400-6,600
Fuel / Min. Octane Gasoline / 98~
Transmission 6MT
Cruise Control Yes
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 4,240
Width (mm) 1,775
Height (mm) 1,285
Wheelbase (mm) 2,570
Curb Weight (kg) 1,275
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, MacPherson Strut
Rear Suspension Independent, Double Wishbone
Front Brakes Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Vented Disc
Tires Michelin Primacy HP 215/45R17 W
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 7
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes
Traction / Stability Control Yes
Parking Sensors No
Exterior Features
Headlights HID
Fog Lamps Yes
Auto Lights Yes
Auto Wipers No
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjustment Tilt/Telescopic
Steering Wheel Material Leather
Seating Adjustment Manual
Seating Surface Leather/Alcantara
Folding Rear Seat Yes
On-Board Computer Yes
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes, with Fold
Climate Control Yes, Dual
Audio System Stereo
No. of Speakers 6
Steering Wheel Controls No


  1. It's unfortunate that most of the people who are driving these are either dumbass reckless douchebags or spoiled rich kids. Annoying rich kids bragging their Toyota 86, as if they were the ones who bought it. Looking at the TopGear PH's facebook page, you can see that in most accidents, those involved are either SUVs or Toyota 86/BRZ.

    A great sports car indeed, but for me, it's image has already been tainted by obnoxious rich kids.

  2. This again? Blamed on rich kids again? Just admit you can't afford the car rather than put up some excuse that it's tainted by rich kids. Most accidents involve 86/BRZ? Where? Can you show at least 3? Accidents happen whether you're driving a Vios or a Ferrari. Douche.

  3. your point?..who else could buy this car but rich kids and daddies. they have the money. A typical juan dela cruz who dont drive recklessly cant afford one. you cant stop and blame 'em rich kids and daddies from buying and abusing one. it's their life and choice. they're entitled to it. to each his own. flaunt it if you have it. that's the way the cookie crumbles..enjoy what you have.

    1. So what you're saying is that we should just turn a blind eye to spoiled rich douchebags who drive recklessly? What if for instance, the reckless rich kid hit an innocent pedestrian because of his driving behavior? Should we ignore it even he can get away with it because his dad has money? That's the way the cookie crumbles right?

  4. I know a 14 year old rich kid who drives a Toyota 86 in Tagum city. He brags about it in facebook. He even got into an minor accident with it and posted it on facebook. I don't know any possible reasons he and his parents can get away with this other than bribery. If that 14 year old unlicensed kid isn't the perfect representation of a spoiled rich brat that always gets his way then I don't know what else is.

    To think his parents bought him a car at that age and encourages this kind of misbehavior. Money can literally let you do everything you want here in the Philippines. You know who you are, and anyone who's reading this that knows this annoying kid probably shares my sentiment.

  5. I just turned 21 and my dad got me a 2.7 million peso Pajero for my graduation at the Ateneo. What's wrong with parents buying their kids expensive stuff? It's their money and their kids that get spoiled rotten anyway.
    I know I have a good chance of becoming a dependent brat who can't be successful on my own but who cares, I may become a loser but at least I'll be a rich loser.

    1. But do you brag about it like every 5 seconds on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter?

      I don't see anything wrong with you receiving a gift from your father. It's the bragging part that gets on my nerves.

    2. Bwahaha, "rich loser", talagang proud ka pang gunggong ka na spoiled brat ka at naka-depende sa rich parents mo para bilhan ka ng luho mo. LOL Ikaw ba si VanDolph by any chance? Yan ang ka-level ng talino niyong mga taga-Ateneo eh, hanggang basketball lang kayo totoy.

  6. Wish I could buy one of these

  7. I think that the next generation 86 should have a very mature exterior and interior design.
    It should feature a two black and beige with wood trim interior instead of plain black with carbon fiber to make make the next generation 86 look more premium.
    Why go childish if you can go mature?

    1. Theres already a Camry for that. This isnt for the same market. Me? Id take the V6 Camry over an 86 any day; I just like mid size executoive sedans more and it suits my driving style more. Calm mostly, then Id feel the need for bursts of speed once in a while.

  8. I wish they just put back the all black interior with red stitches. The Red accents on it make it look cheap in my opinion.

    1. Two tone black and beige with matte wood trim would be nice and elegant.

    2. Ew, ang baduy naman kung lalagyan ng wood trim itong toyota 86. Ano to? Executive sedan na pang lolo? Stick with sporty interior, wag niyo gawing executive sedan ang sports car.

    3. I agree! Wood? Sersiously? haha. Even putting chrome on the exterior is bad decision.

  9. Seriously?! Black and beige with wood trim?! WTF man wake up! This is a sports car. Not your old man's fifteen year old Mercedes Benz.

  10. Overpriced, overhyped, underpowered, under-featured, useless back seat, artificially-limited local supply, too-common-among-spoiled-brat-ricer kiddies... For this price level the no-brainer choices are only the Subaru WRX or Hyundai Genesis Coupe, both of which would kick the crap out of this toy car in both the straights & corners.

  11. I laughed hard at the "too-common-among-spoiled-brat-ricer kiddies". It's funny because it's so true. Hahahahaha!

  12. The car looks too bland and cheap. No character at all. It's as if it was assembled by the same lateros who build the fake Hummers in Pampanga.

  13. Guys if you don't like the car, then you're not the target market. It's that simple. Don't bash on the rich kids. There's nothing wrong with parents buying expensive shit for their kids. Yes, they are idiots. But admit it, you envy them.

  14. Guys if you don't like the car, then you're not the target market. It's that simple. Don't bash on the rich kids. There's nothing wrong with parents buying expensive shit for their kids. Yes, they are idiots. But admit it, you envy them.


Feel free to comment or share your views. Comments that are derogatory and/or spam will not be tolerated. We reserve the right to moderate and/or remove comments.