Toyota 86 RC 2014 review

Toyota 86 RC 2014 review

toyota-86-rc-2014-front-quarter-lowWhen you’ve eaten the salmon terrine for the entrée and the rib eye fillet for the main, you don’t ask how many calories the crème brulee has because that’s ridiculous. Therefore I don’t care what the fuel economy of the Toyota 86 RC is because I was too busy blipping the throttle on the downshifts and leaving it in far too low a gear just so I could hear the awesome exhaust note. For the record, it was 9.5l/100km which is way more than if you drove it like a hyper-miler (in which case Toyota quotes 6.9l/100km)

The 86 RC is what you get if you take the Toyota 86 and make it into a light duty track day car. Gone are the things that make it tubby, and it becomes a blank canvas on which you can paint your own livery. Along with the sports exhaust the selected livery that Toyota provided was loud enough to make up for the lack of stereo.

toyota-86-rc-2014-rear-quarterBut this isn’t about the individual details that have been removed, it’s about the potential for what you can add back in. You can spec this up to be a demon on the road, or you can leave it pretty much as-is. When I got in the 86 RC and turned it on, I was immediately transported back to the late ‘90s. It was the halcyon era of Japanese performance cars. I owned a WRX STI, my mates owned Evos, GT-Rs, GTXs, Integras and so on. It made me feel nostalgic for my 20s, except not quite with 100% authenticity; when you drive the 86 it actually handles properly without you having to toyota-86-rc-2014-interiorput aftermarket suspension in. It’s not rock hard, but it’s certainly going to give your kidneys a little nudge occasionally.

It has a gearbox with the same beautiful snick as an MX-5, but when your right foot and the firewall get acquainted, the noise from that four-cylinder boxer engine beats the old Mazda any day. The engine has a sound generator to give it some real character and, of course, it’s a Subaru BRZ in disguise, hence the boxer, and that gives the engine a low centre of gravity and a reasonable amount of grunt (147kW at 7000rpm and 205Nm at 6400-6600rpm). These figures mean you will need to (and want to) wrap that big central toyota-86-rc-2014-dashboardrev counter’s needle right around about as far as it’ll go.

The speedo is aligned like a racing car with 50kph pointing down, so you do need to keep an eye on it as it’s not in your peripheral vision. If you want to double the urban limit you can do it in 7.6 seconds. This isn’t bad – I mean, my first Subaru Legacy RS was about that quick and I thought that was pretty quick back in the day. However, I’ve been spoiled and I would love to drive this car if it had another 60kW so it’s up around Japan’s self-imposed historic maximum power output.

Being a sports car, it’s got proper rear wheel drive, too, with a Torsen torque-sensing limited slip differential (LSD). In normal driving you’d leave traction control and vehicle stability control on, but you can turn them to sport mode and have some fun with a bit more lateral slippage.

The 86 RC comes with the usual suite of electronic driver aids such as anti-lock brakes, electronic brake force distribution, brake assist, and the aforementioned two modes of vehicle stability control, and traction control. Add in seven airbags, ISOFIX for child seats (surprisingly I did transport a six-year-old in the back and it was fine), and whiplash injury lessening (WIL) seat design

If you buy an 86 RC, and it’s merely a few dollars under 34 grand, it’s not going to look like it does in the picture. It comes with unpainted black resin front and rear bumpers and diffuser, and black door handles and mirrors. You do get daytime running lights integrated into the lower front bumper and LED rear combination lights. Our test car also has better wheels – not the frumpy 16-inch ones that come as standard.

toyota-86-rc-2014-dashboardInside, the steering wheel is urethane and makes your hands sweaty. It was, however, so refreshing to have a steering wheel that did just that – steer – with no buttons to accidently knock that change the radio.

There’s not really a huge amount of storage, and if you open the boot, there’s no boot tray. There are no cup holders, though you can fit a water bottle in each door.

Where the stereo usually lives are dials for oil pressure and temperature and water temperature, so there’s no Bluetooth phone integration or any of the rubbish – I mean, who wants to listen to the radio and answer phone calls when you’re blatting around the countryside?

I was a little sad when I took it back. I identify with the ethic of this car. Sometimes I yearn for those days and maybe that’ll manifest itself with a Nissan GT-R R32 purchase in some moment of mid-life-crisis weakness. Unfortunately I can’t quite have my crème brulee and eat it. I could live with this car if the radio was put back in – yes, I’ve turned slightly soft in my old(er) age. But then it’s not really the raw 86 RC experience. Maybe I’ll just sneak a couple of mouthfuls and no one will notice.


Price: $33986 (or you can spend $89700 and get the TR 86 that’s already prepped for the race track.


I can’t think of a more fun car to buy for the money

Feels like Japanese nostalgia perfection.


Rearward visibility not the greatest

Would be uber with 100 more horses under the bonnet



Petrol, 2.0L, 4 cylinder, front boxer engine, 16 valve, Double Overhead Cam (DOHC) with Dual Variable Valve Timing-intelligent (VVT-i) and D-4S Direct Injection System

Maximum Power – 147kW at 7000rpm

Maximum Torque 205Nm at 6,400-6600rpm

Fuel consumption – 6.9L/100km (combined ADR 81/02)

CO2 emissions – 160g/km (combined ADR 81/02)

Engine sound generator

Exhaust emission standard – Euro 5.


The short-shift 6 speed manual rear-wheel drive 86 makes driving fun again.

Rear-wheel drive

Acceleration – 0 to 100km/h in 7.6 seconds

Torsen Torque Sensing Limited Slip Differential (LSD)


Front – Power assisted ventilated brakes. Two piston steel calliper

Rear – Power assisted solid disc brakes. Single piston steel calliper

Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist (BA)[?]

Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) with normal and sport modes. Traction Control (TRC) .


Front – MacPherson strut, strut bar and stabiliser bar.

Rear – Double wishbone with stabiliser bar.

Electronic power assisted rack and pinion steering (EPS).

Words and photos:




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