The Numbers

2.0L 4cyl, 147kW, 205Nm, 0-100km/h in 7.6 secs, 7.8L/100km

The Topgear Verdict

The Toyota 86 is outrageously good fun at any speed, at the right price.

Toyota 86

What is it?

Only the car Clarkson called his car of the year when it launched in 2012: “I like the GT86 because it’s come barrelling into the bottom end of the marketplace with a big dirty smile on its face and a suggestion in the way it stands that it wants to have fun with your middle parts. It’s a car designed for one thing only: fun.”

Rear wheel drive, low centre of gravity, a car that loves wagging its tail more than a happy Labrador, and it's under $30 grand: the Toyota 86 is just excellent fun, at a real world price.

What's it like to drive fast?

Because it's quite small and low, the 86 feels faster than it is - which is a good thing. Work your way through the gears (you obviously should be getting a manual transmission for one of these), with some of the engine sound piped through to the cabin (real engine sound, not the digital fakery of some modern cars) and you'll feel like you can smoke anything on the road. You can't. The Toyota 86 has a nought to 100 sprint time of 7.6 seconds, so it's not built for drag racing. But throwing it through bends is a pure pleasure. This is a car that feels like a sports car five times the price - but it costs less than a Camry.

Driven: January 15, 2014