TOYOTA 86 GT
Carsguide’s best of 2012 takes on an unusual rival from Korea. NEIL DOWLING referees
The most talked-about car of 2012 is the most difficult to buy with months-long delivery dates. It’s desirable because it’s new, inexpensive and so much fun to drive. The base model’s basic equipment suits the austere appeal of a sports car. The 86 gets capped-price service and standard three-year warranty.
Simple: long-nose, short-tail sports as befits a front-engine, rear-drive machine. The cockpit suits two adults while the boot and rear ‘‘seat’’ are for a small amount of luggage. Subaru, which makes the car, stamps exposed metal with its own name. The base model’s standard wheels look ordinary.
The 86 (and BRZ) share a unique platform and even the dual-injected Soob-sourced engine tweaked 147kW/ 205Nm for a claimed 7.8 litres/100km. The six-speed manual gearbox is shared with the Mazda MX-5. Steering is electric assist and it works like a charm.
There are seven airbags and a five-star crash rating. The chassis has electronic stability and traction control, nice big ventilated brakes but no spare wheel. Driver’s vision is average and there are no park sensors or rear camera.
One of those rare cars that become an extension of your body. It has excellent response, holds a nearperfect line, hugs the road and brakes hard and fast. Though the engine is weak down low, it winds out nicely with adequate mid-range punch.