A Sporty Coupe By Any Other Name: The 2017 Toyota 86

Front 3/4 view of 2017 Toyota 86
The 2017 Toyota 86.
For five years, you have seen a car that looks like the one above carrying a badge identifying it as a Scion FR-S, or perhaps a Subaru BRZ.   The shuttering of Scion as Toyota's youth brand resulted in a product shuffle, with the FR-S becoming the Toyota 86 (which was its name globally) for 2017.

Rear 3/4 view of 2017 Toyota 86
2017 Toyota 86.
This is, however, not a simple re-badging.  The 2017 Toyota 86 is freshly restyled, with a larger, more aggressive center air intake, standard LED headlamps, new daytime running lights and turn signals, new taillamps and more sculpted front and rear bumpers.

And, if you are among the minority of drivers who can drive, let alone prefer, a manual transmission, there is a performance bonus.  Stick with the stick and there's a differential gear ratio change and revised engine tuning you won't get with the automatic. That results in more torque and an additional five horsepower---205 versus 200 in the automatic model.

Neither of those numbers is earth-shattering, but in a small, light coupe, the power is more than adequate.  And the Toyota 86's strong suit is its handling.  That has been enhanced as well, with revised spring tuning and a shock rate change.

Interior view of 2017 Toyota 86
2017 Toyota 86 interior.
Inside, you'll find the "86" logo on the new soft-feel trim on the dashboard.  Toyota calls it "Granlux". The seats have silver stitching.

About the seats.  You will see there is a back seat.  However, without putting the driver and/or front passenger entirely too close to the dashboard air bags, there simply is no legroom back there.  It may have four safety harnesses, but the 86 is, as a practical matter, a two-seater.

EPA fuel economy estimates have slid from last year's 22 city/30 highway to 21 and 28, respectively. And the base price has gone up from $25,305 to $26,255.  With zero options and $865 delivery processing and handling fee, the as-tested price came to $27,120.

Our Publisher and Executive Editor has always written in glowing terms about the Scion FR-S,  calling it the "45 years later equivalent to the original Datsun 240Z."  That's pretty much on the money.  Drivers who appreciate drivers' cars should thank Toyota for keeping this one alive and improving on the original.