The 2023 Toyota GR86 is a value-packed sports coupe that keeps the driving enthusiast squarely in its sights. But apart from its pair of rear seats, the GR86 makes few concessions for the sake of practicality. Sure, we’d all love a fast, comfortable, car that doesn’t make any compromises, but the fact of the matter is that the two forces pull in opposing directions. To a hardcore enthusiast, “Luxury” is spelled “W.E.I.G.H.T.” and those six letters might as well be four. And since this toy starts at under $30,000 in 2023 money, another important consideration comes into play: cost. A sports car may inherently be a luxury, but the GR86 is not a luxurious sports car. What you see is what you get. Remember, this car weighs less than 2,900 pounds with the standard six-speed.
Let’s start with the dash. You’re looking at mostly hard plastic here, which is to be expected at this price point. Toyota took care to mix textures and materials to help liven things up visually, but there’s no value here for dash strokers. No matter whether you opt for the base car or the Premium, you get an 8-inch infotainment screen with what is effectively Subaru’s StarLink touchscreen infotainment system. Even the surrounding physical buttons/knob selections are what you’d find in a Legacy or Crosstrek. This was a selling point when the GR 86 redesign launched, but Toyota’s infotainment has improved by leaps and bounds in the interim and would be our preference if the updated car were released today. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are both standard, so at least there’s that.
There are more physical knobs and buttons for the HVAC system (Hallelujah!) and simple toggles on the console for your driving-oriented stuff. It’s all easy to locate and simple to use. Plastic with silver paint may not be terribly sexy, but the layout makes sense and everything is easy to locate — no digging, hunting or experimentation required. And while the GR86 certainly won’t beat the standard GR Corolla for practicality, it does offer (barely) superior in-door storage for those with bulkier drink items. Now we just need a GR86 with a rear seat delete.
The front seats are comfortable and generally supportive, but even the Premium model gets only six- and four-way adjustable driver and passenger seats, respectively. The base car gets cloth while the Premium seats are wrapped in Toyota’s “Ultrasuede” synthetic with leather trim. You do get heating elements in the Premium seats, which is nice touch, but there’s no option for ventilation or even power adjustment.
The rear seats, on the other hand, are really just for show. It’s possible to get both rear- and front-facing child seats in there, so a wee one isn’t sufficient excuse for giving up your enthusiast card. You won’t be packing any large strollers in the trunk, though. It checks in at just over six cubic feet. It’s plenty big enough for a couple duffel bags or carry-on suitcases, but if you have any more baggage than that, you’ll likely need to make use of the back seat.