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Toyota GT86 TRD - Simple Pleasures

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

The DriveWrite Archives Topics:  Toyota GT86

Toyota GT86 TRD - Simple Pleasures

Geoff Maxted
October 16, 2013

Toyota GT86 TRD Toyota GT86 TRD Toyota GT86 TRD
Despite all the advances in automotive technology there is still something about an old school sports car that appeals. The Toyota GT86, pictured, is just such a car. The model shown is the limited edition TRD (Toyota Racing Development) version, but under the skin it remains pretty much the standard car although a new sports exhaust system, with quad tailpipes, is the most mechanical change and its freer breathing appears to slightly sharpen the throttle response. On paper the GT86 doesn‘t seem too exciting. Front engine, rear wheel drive with 2.0L four cylinder boxer engine and a six-speed manual gearbox. So far so normal. An auto is offered but you really want the manual for maximum enjoyment.

Top speed is a modest 140mph and 62mph is reached in a steady 7.7 seconds. Many hot hatches would see it off, but that’s not the point. You may recall the boss at Toyota said he wanted a driver’s car and that is what he has delivered. The GT86 needs a thoroughly good thrashing to get the best out of it. On the road this sports car is superbly balanced and has perfectly weighted steering. The handbrake is placed exactly as described in the DriveWrite manual of how things should be.

Driving - that’s the point of this car. It isn’t about going as fast as possible, it is about driving pleasure. I soon found myself, like a Shaolin disciple, at one with the car. The miles sped by as I embraced the fine art of driving properly without, for once, the aid of electronics or massive wheels and tyres. It was outstanding.

Inside, after effecting keyless entry, the environment is as you would expect with very good seats and a smart, uncluttered layout. Truthfully, it is a two seater. The back seat will accommodate car seats for babies (isofix standard) but once they grow up a bit that’s it. Look on it as extra luggage space. The basic car is well featured anyway but the TRD edition brings a lot more to the party, including, in this case, Toyota’s Touch & Go. This is cutting edge in-car technology with an intelligent touch screen interface. Key features include full map satellite navigation, advanced Bluetooth connectivity for hands-free calling and music streaming, Google Local Search, real-time traffic updates, safety camera warnings and a host of other connected services. I didn’t poke around much - I was too busy driving - but it certainly seemed fairly intuitive to operate.

Despite the smart body kit, if I'm honest I’m struggling to see why a potential owner would take this model over the basic car which comes in an option free one size fits all model. For me it kind of takes away from the original idea of a car for simple motoring enjoyment. Certainly all the extras are very nice but they push the price right up and the model featured here costs just over £33,000, at which point the cost surpasses the price of the hot Nissan 370Z or an Audi TT. Why, you can get a nearly new Cayman for that money.

I would prefer the GT86 in basic form, I think, over those other cars because it is honest. No bells and whistles. Sometimes less is more and that’s a good thing.

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