2023 Toyota GR86 Manual Review: Generation 86

Ben Chia

Toyota’s GR86 carries the flame for the classic affordable sports car in Singapore, but is it the last of a dying breed?

2023 Toyota GR86 Manual

Launched: January 2023 – Price S$138,888 without COE (February 2023)
Two-door, sports coupe, four seats
228hp, 2.4-litre naturally-aspirated boxer, VES C2, 8.8L/100km

Exceptionally fun to drive
Manual transmission is a delight
Engine now offers more usable torque

Rear seats are tight
Interior feels cheap in many places


In today’s world of electrification and SUV-ification, a car like the Toyota GR86 does seem a little out of place. But the very fact that it exists in 2023 is surely cause for celebration, if purely for the fact that we may not see the likes of it for much longer.

In days of yore, a small, light and (relatively) affordable two-door sports car like the GR86 marked an easy point of entry into performance motoring for beginner enthusiasts. Cars like the Honda CR-X and the Toyota Corolla Trueno (the 86’s spiritual ancestor) were not overly fast or powerful, but they offered the sort of no-frills, lightweight driving experience that proved that having fun behind the wheel need not necessarily be the preserve of the well-off.

It is in that spirit that the GR86 was birthed, and its image has of course been boosted by pop culture, by way of its portrayal in the Initial D manga comics. But in the modern 21st century era where the standard vehicle type is probably an electric SUV, does the GR86 still have a place in this world?


The new GR86’s design is really a subtle evolution of the previous model, with the same basic silhouette, now blessed with slightly more curves for a sleeker look. Both the front and rear have been rounded off somewhat, and from some angles the car has a faint resemblance of Jaguar or Aston Martin about it, which is certainly no bad thing if you’re aiming to turn a few heads.

The curvier look is not purely just for show, but is also apparently crafted for better aerodynamic efficiency. The rear end especially looks far more modern than its predecessor, and has hints of the car’s bigger brother, the GR Supra. It also reminds one of another coupe of Toyota’s past, and would certainly be a worthy bearer of the Celica name.

Under the skin, the new GR86 actually shares its platform with its predecessor, and the dimensions are even mostly similar, with the new car just 15mm longer than before, and a wheelbase that’s increased by just 5mm. The car sits low to the ground, at just 1,285mm tall, like you’d expect of a sports coupe, and that also means a low centre of gravity. 

The GR86’s kerb weight comes in at a featherlight 1,291kg, which is not too far off from its predecessor, thanks to the use of aluminium in the roof and bonnet. Despite that though, Toyota says that the car is some 50 percent stiffer than before, and the net result of all that is some remarkable driving manners, as we’ll see later on.

Page 2: What’s the GR86 like inside?

Pages: 1 2 3 4


Coupe gr86 sports sports car Toyota

About the Author

Ben Chia

CarBuyer's print editor went out to explore the Great Big World, including a stint working in China (despite his limited Mandarin). Now he's back, ready to foist upon you his takes on everything good and wonderful about the automotive world. Follow Ben on Instagram @carbuyer.ben

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