Toyota GR86 - long-term review - Report No:5 2023 | Top Gear
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Long-term review

Toyota GR86 - long-term review

£29,995 / £30,960 / £295pcm
Published: 16 Nov 2023

How useful is a Toyota GR86 if you're moving house?

As a friendly precaution, Toyota insisted on replacing all 4 Michelin PS4 tyres after the 86’s Speed Week adventures. Currently that’ll set you back £160 a corner. Were it up to me, I’d have been happy to run them through the winter, but it’s reassuring all the same to know the ’86 is wearing fresh footwear as winter closes in.

It arrived with us way back in May, but one of the interesting sub-plots of the Top Gear Garage residing in the United Kingdom is that we get the ‘opportunity’ to experience about six months of darkness, leaf mulch and rain. Dailying a car in a damp summer is one thing, but winter brings new challenges.

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Such is life, the GR swapped playing racecar for removals lorry recently, mucking in as best it could to help me move house with several runs to the local tip carrying broken-down old furniture. I had to liberally apply a sledgehammer to it (the bookcases, not the car) to make use of the narrow boot opening, but with the back seats folded the 86 was the toast of the tip for its surprisingly commodious junk-carrying abilities.

In the pictures you can see it completing another duty: collecting as many cardboard boxes as I could squeeze into it from my local high street. The shop assistants sniggered at such an impractical car arriving, but weren't as smug when it left having swallowed about 20 flatpacked boxes.

No surprise to me: Toyota’s engineers insisted it had space for (irony alert) four spare tyres and a helmet, so owners could track-day their car worry free. I’m not saying you should cancel the removals men and rely on a bijou 2+2 sports coupe next time you’ve got a fridge that needs relocating. More that the GR86 did better than expected. B+.

That’s all rather pedestrian stuff, so as a treat for the GR, I’m plotting a little meet-up with some of its GR brethren. You’ve all heard how the GR86 sold out in the UK in an hour and a half, and the trickle of cars coming into the UK is in the hundreds rather than thousands. This means that I have yet to meet another owner to swap notes. Usually if you’re living with a Dacia Sandero, Golf GTI or even a BMW M3 you don’t have to wait long before you lock eyes with a car twin at a petrol station and can swap a couple of anecdotes. But driving a GR86 is like heading down your local park to walk a pet iguana. Not much in common to chat about.

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This left two choices. Option one: join an internet forum and swap GR-wisdom online. Hmm. I already spend enough time on the internet and chatrooms are a minefield of in-jokes, acronyms and READ THE RULES THREAD BEFORE POSTING aggression.

So, we’re doing this the old fashioned way. Arranging a little meet-up with some local GR disciples. Hopefully one of them will have the cure to the squeaky, creaky driver’s seat, which is getting worse by the day (I promise I haven’t put on weight, but the car is body shaming me). I’ll report back soon.

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