Keeping it Hot with the Toyota 86

Sizzling. That’s the sound I heard coming from the hood every time I exited the 2017 Toyota 86 after a lengthy trip around the city. I’m sure there’s a professional term that auto engineers use to describe this effect on the engine, but I’m going with sizzling because it also describes the feeling this 2-door coupe injects into your attitude when you are driving it.

On this test drive, the ablazed-colored 86 with the high-tech boxer engine delivered up to an impressive 205 horsepower and 156 lb.-ft. of torque in the manual transmission, which I was test driving. Note, the automatic offers steering wheel mounted paddle shifters. The loud muffler combined with the short-throw shifter and easy-effort clutch, made every trip – even to the corner store – a spirited adventure while seated comfortably and securely in the deeply bolstered front seats. The 86’s ultra-low center of gravity created a true sports car experience.

No shame here. I assumed a race-car state of mind and thoroughly enjoyed the very responsive and easy handling on city streets and highways. Formerly the Scion FR-S before it was discontinued in 2016, the 86 is now a Toyota. In line with safety conscious moves, the 86 comes with the STAR Safety System, which features an anti-lock brake system, electronic brake distribution, traction control, brake assist, vehicle stability control and smart stop technology. It includes driver and front passenger dual-stage advanced airbags, driver and front passenger seat-mounted side airbags, and front and rear passenger side curtain airbags.

2016 Scion FR-S.

It also offers a seven-inch touch-screen display, backup camera and a host of connectivity features.

On a side note, I was curious about the name, 86. According to Toyota, ‘86’ is a revered badge for Toyota fans who know ‘AE86’ as the global name for the Toyota Corolla GT-S that sold in the US in the mid-1980s. In Japan, it was known as “hachi-roku,” meaning 8-6. This is just a hint of its lineage. This latest rendition offers an aggressive, lower, and wider stance featuring a new high-tech design with standard LED front headlamps, daylight running lights, and turn signals, a new fog lamp bezel and revised bumper.

2017 Toyota 86.

The 17-inch alloy wheels feature a new twisted spoke design and 86 logos have been incorporated into a badge on the front fender, as well as inside the front headlamps. Not to be dismissed from the back, the 86 features the rear sports LED tail lamps and more sculpted bumper design. The exterior also has color-keyed power exterior mirrors, shark-fin antenna, chrome-tipped dual exhaust. Topping off the sporty touches, the interior features aluminum sports pedals and scuff plates, sports gauges and a leather trim tilt telescopic steering wheel with audio controls.

If you need to expand the trunk, you can do so by letting down the rear seatbacks to expand the 6.9 cu. ft.

If the 86 becomes your family’s second car, know that it can accommodate front-facing child seats. Families can sizzle too.

The 2017 Toyota 86 MSRP: $26,255; Combined City/Highway MPG: 24.

Visit Toyota. www.toyota.com

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