Toyota GR86 - long-term review - Report No:2 2023 | Top Gear
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Tuesday 26th September
Long-term review

Toyota GR86 - long-term review

£29,995 / £30,960 / £295pcm
Published: 17 Jul 2023

Here's three weird quirks we've noticed inside the Toyota GR86

After its first full month in the TopGear Garage, the GR86 is settling in very nicely indeed. So far, the only things proving a pain (apart from the weeny fuel tank) are a couple of interior design niggles. I thought we’d get them out the way early, so then we can spend the summer enjoying what makes this car brilliant, not grouching about the bits Toyota dropped the ball on.

Firstly, the USB sockets. I don’t mind them being in a cubbyhole – it makes use of a phone less tempting. And yes, they are a little far back in the cabin, so it’s a tad uncomfortable to twist around and reach them when plugging in said phone. 

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But my main bugbear is a suspicion the GR86 destroys phone cables. See, the sockets face straight upwards, so my cable has to make a 90-degree turn immediately after the plug bit. And it’s breaking the cables, when I lean my elbow on the cubbyhole lid I guess. 

Toyota GR86 top gear

In the first few weeks of GR86 life the Apple CarPlay connection went from patchy to unusable, and I’m convinced after much diagnostic investigation (blowing the socket in my phone and rummaging around with an old paper clip to see if it’s blocked with pocket lint) that the cable positioning is at fault. I’ll keep an eye on it now I’ve got a sturdier wire, and report back.

Driving the BMW 1M for a video featuring the new M2 (check out the TG YouTube channel to see the whole thing) alerted me to the fact the GR86 is not alone in being an Application of Silly Suede (ASS). 

Toyota GR86 top gear

The Toyota weirdly uses it where you’ll never touch – the door tops, and the instrument hood. Blow me down, the 1M does the same thing: suede dashboard trim strip, door cards, and binnacle, but nothing where your hands might use it. This isn’t a flaw, more just a curious design choice. A bit like putting soft-touch plastic under the seats.

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Toyota GR86 top gear

Finally in the ‘…really?’ column, there’s just outright laziness. See, if you delve into the owner forums for ye olde Toyota GT86, one omission that bugged the faithful was fold-on-lock mirrors. The door mirrors were motorised, but they stayed put when you locked the car. To get them to fold inwards, you had to press a button, while the ignition was on.

Lots of owners complained this was a pain and they’d really like the mirrors to fold when the car locks. Much more convenient, and not to mention a useful visual method of checking the car is locked when walking away. But no. Toyota has seen fit to leave the mirrors as was. They’ve put the motors in, but they can only be folded via a button.

Toyota GR86 top gear

A small detail, but one of those irritations that get on your wick day-to-day, especially if you park the car in a narrow street (we have lots of those in the UK) and then walk away only to spot the mirrors still vulnerable. Ugh. Return to car. Unlock car. Fold self in. Press button. Nothing happens. Wake up ignition. Press button. Wait for fold. Fold complete! Get out of car. Remember ignition is still on. Get back inside. Press starter button twice. Check screens are off. Lock car, leave, get on with life. It’s a bit of a faff, and could’ve been solved if Toyota had been a bit less penny-pinching, and listened to its core customers.

And yes, you’re right. That is a deeply specific nitpick. That’s how hard you have to look to find stuff in a GR86 that doesn’t make your day brighter. 

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