A big thank you to Toyota New Zealand and Rutherford and Bond Toyota located at 54 Kent Terrace, Wellington for assisting us for the use of a brand new Toyota 86RC “Media Car” for our Road Tested Review. We sincerely apologise in advance, as we know we’re really late with the Road Test review.

Toyota 86RC 4

First impressions

Where to start! no really…where do I begin, when I hear “86” it automatically brings me back to the days of plonking myself in front of the TV watching Initial D; for those who don’t know what Initial D is, it’s a Japanese manga series where  the genre focuses on the world of Japanese street racing. All the street action is concentrated in the mountain passes where the style of racing is drifting. As the title of this review is emphasising the main character and the driver of the AE86 Trueno, whom reigns supreme in the mountain passes. The popularity around the manga Initial D/AE86 Trueno sparked the world of drifting globally; The Toyota 86RC is no stranger to the AE86, same setup: front engine rear wheel drive, which makes the 86RC the spiritual successor of the Toyota AE86 Trueno. The interesting thing about this particular 86RC is the base price ($33,986*) and that Toyota allows you to build and customise your 86RC to how you want it with optioning the parts, just like building a remote control car! As far as looks go, this 86RC we’re testing is a real piece of eye candy! Even makes the girls turn their heads.

Toyota 86RC 3

When I first picked up the 86RC, I was feeling very overwhelmed with thoughts running through my head “Ohh this, aww that, but what if, or that…….” but I then happen to get distracted and set my eyes upon the 86 and boy were my eyes in for a bit of a shock; like sun strike! This glistening two tone bright yellow and pearl white 86RC standing out like a rose among thorns. The very eye catching piece of the 86RC is that TRD aero body kit, how the front lip compliments the rear bumpers and it even has a rear diffuser! This sort of equipment is found on race cars for increasing aerodynamics and is starting to be a very common amongst high performanced cars.

Toyota 86RC 8

This particular 86RC is optioned with: TRD Race Package at $4,999 the 86RC is equipped with a full TRD Aero Body Kit (Front  Spoiler, Side Skirts and Rear Spoiler), TRD Rear Diffuser and TRD High Response Exhaust. Wheels & Tyres at $2,768 which gets you 18″ TRD ‘TF6’ Alloy Wheels wrapped in 18″ Bridgestone Potenza RE002 Adrenalin 225/40/18. The TRD Aero Kit, door handles and side mirrors are painted in Bright Yellow for the two tone accent affect at $599, 86 Race Decal at $999 and TRD Sports Meter Gauge Kit (Oil Temp, Oil Press, Water Temp) at $1,880, Bringing the grand total of the Road Tested Car: $45,231


The interior at first glance looked simple: Plastic dash, centre console and cloth fabric semi bucket style seats. Then I quickly noticed, there’s no stereo? or the fact that the back seats could only fit a small child with their legs crossed, because there sure was no room behind the seats when you get someone like me (180cm tall) in the drivers seat, for obvious reasons not a very spacious car. Where the radio was meant to be was replaced with the TRD gauges, and surprisingly the car has A/C! Now, why would I want that on? It’ll only  result in loss of power, throttle response and contribute to the car using more fuel.

The Test Drive 

Setting off in the 86 was a breeze, the clutch was nice and light, accelerator paddle very responsive and not too touchy, steering felt quite grounded, you can definitely feel every twitch you make while turning. Man oh man does this car stick to the road in the corners! Quite amazed at the turn in and how agile she takes corners on the uphill. On the downhill, the 86 is a different animal. The weight of the car feels almost non existent, the turn in and responsiveness of the steering wheel is simply bliss. A very very well balanced car with perfect centre of gravity. Body roll was hardly noticeable through a very windy stretch of road. The 86 is optioned with the 18″ wheels with Bridgestone Potenza RE002 Adrenalin tyres, for those in the know, a very good set of tyres in my opinion, not a lot of road noise, sticky when warm, and they squeal quite a lot! But at the same time giving you immense amount of  grip!


Note to self, I am reviewing for the masses. The TRD exhaust is pretty quiet to my standards, now we’re not talking big bore cannons here. But I do enjoy a good exhaust note! With windows down you definitely hear the exhaust chattering away, it’s nothing too special at low revs, but does add to the fun in the high revs of course. You’ll be glad to own a car that isn’t going to attract unwanted attention. The TRD or Toyota Racing Dynamics quad exhaust tips are finished in stainless steel and shows subtle TRD markings makes it set in place quite nicely with the rear diffuser and bodykit. Doesn’t scream boy racer and the exhaust note at high rev’s aren’t very shy at protruding. Probably a good option to tick for the 86RC with the TRD exhaust, what else would you listen to when you’re driving, there’s no stereo!

Toyota 86RC 10

After driving the 86RC for while few days, what really troubled me since picking the car up is the lack of ‘power’ 86 produces. It’s nothing very flash under the hood but a 2.0 litre boxer engine that is commonly found in a lot Subarus, but this engine is capable of revving to 8000 RPM without losing it’s breath, the engine has ‘potential’ for more improvement in KW/HP displacement. Though through the rev count, you can feel most of the power from about 3500-6500 rpm and if anything you just want to be moving faster. The six speed manual gearbox is a treat, the throw between gears is quite short, which I loved! shorter throw between gears to achieve quicker down change and shifting effortlessly. Overall the engine note from this wee 2.0 litre boxer is quite deep with the induction noise from the air intake. It’s somewhat a little disappointing where the engine lacks the power it really needs, definitely not the fastest in a straight line, but she sure does make up for it in the corners where she has ample amounts of grip. Hope to see in the future that they release a version of the 86 with at least 50-80 kw more!

Toyota 86RC 11

Safe to say that the styling of the 86 is very well laid out.. The complementing lines of the body kit fit the aerodynamic structure of the car, the side skirts and rear diffuser match the exhaust and that subtle wing that hangs off the boot. The TRD Aero Kit already acts like a front splitter, though it doesn’t stick out or is very noticeable, unless you poke your head under the car and have a peep. When optioning the car with wheels, Personally I prefer the TRD SF2 wheels for their  striking design and will really make the 86 stand out a lot more  with this current colour combo!


When it came to storage space in the car, yes it’s got back seats, room enough for a couple of duffel bags, the boot on the other hand is a very different story. There isn’t a lot of space! Or a space saver in fact. What Toyota replaces the space savers with is a tyre puncture kit! It kinds of reminds me of something you see cyclist do when they’ve popped a tyre, on the side of the road with the pouch out and a little canister of CO2. The tyre repair kit is a fast growing accessory that you find in a lot of sports cars nowadays, as the ever growing popularity of making the car as light, efficient and maximum power-output capable.

What it’s up against

Brand / Model Engine Power Fuel L / 100km Weight (kg) Price Highest to Lowest
Lotus Elise 1.6 L In-line 4 100 kw / 160 Nm 6.3 L/ 100km 860 $86,990
Nissan 370Z 3.7 L DOHC V6 245 kw / 363 Nm 9.3 L / 100km 1,495 $76,700
Mazda MX5 2.0 L In-line 4 Cyl 118 kw / 188 Nm 8.1 L / 100km 1,169 $51,100
Subaru BRZ 2.0 L Boxer 4 Cyl 147 kw / 205 Nm 7.2 L / 100km 1,256 $48,990
Toyota 86RC 2.0 L Boxer 4 Cyl 147 kw / 205 Nm 7.8 L / 100km 1,222 $33,986

Toyota 86RC 9

Pro’s and Con’s?

Pro’s Con’s
  • Strikingly good looks
  • Low centre of gravity
  • Amazing handling
  • Great value for money
  • Engine doesn’t produce enough power
  • Cloth bucket seats felt quite static
  • No stereo
  • Not a lot of space in the back seats

Toyota 86RC 1

What do we think?

Move over Mazda MX5! The Toyota 86RC is definitely going to be the great choice for a sunday car coupe! Uncanny how affordable the 86 is; base model $33,986*(without any additional add-ons) but the tested model at $45,231 is sure to be a real temptation for those wanting a car that can provide a real thrill in their life. As the saying has been going around about the 86, “A pure driver’s car” I cannot agree more, what a car she is. The styling is an absolute eye catcher, she’s comfortable enough for those long distance trips to Taupo, but be sure to pack light! But where the power lacks the 86 makes up for in cornering and the handling, a low centre gravitated car that is sure to please a purist sunday driver. The many features this 86RC has is most comparable to a Lotus Elise; stripped, compact and lightweight.


Rating – Chevron 4 out of 5

Toyota 86RC

Vehicle Type Front Engine, RWD, Sports Coupe
Starting Price $ 33,986 NZD
Tested Price $ 45,231 NZD
Engine 2.0 L Boxer 4 Cyl, 147 kW, 205 Nm
Transmission 6 Speed Manual
0 – 100 kph 7.6 seconds
Kerb Weight 1222 kg
Length x Width x Height 4240 x 1775 x 1285 mm
Cargo Capacity 243 Litres
Fuel Tank 50 Litres
Fuel 6.9 L/100km
ANCAP Safety Ratings 5 Stars


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Tim Chai
OCD Car Enthusiast Petrolhead is probably the way to describe my passion for cars. I often get carried away day dreaming and drooling over highly modded and stanced cars on a daily basis, but I'm an absolute sucker for high-performance european cars. Modding and tuning have been my environment when I was growing up, since then my attention has been caught up with car cleaning and grooming products.


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