The internet hype has been working at overtime for so many months, it almost seems that Toyota 86 is due a mid-life refresh already. Expectations for this new, exciting, driver-focused Toyota are very high. And at long last, it’s here. The regional PR team has granted crankandpiston a very generous amount of time with the car that the auto world is calling a game-changer.
The team first drove Toyota’s 86 on a racetrack in Abu Dhabi (You know the one, Yas Marina, the famous F1 circuit with a hotel in the middle of it). But my colleagues that attended indicated that although the event was great, a lack of seat time meant actual driving impressions were inconclusive. But now the keys are with us, and the mountains of the UAE await for us to generate a clearer picture. These are roads that will give us freedom, a full selection of (manual) gears to play with and some of the best roads known to man. It’s just a shame the mercury is rising as summer digs in. Oh well, we can’t have it our own way all the time. Let’s rock!
What follows below is an account of an intense emotional rollercoaster ride. Expectations for the Toyota 86 had been set so high that some form of let down was almost inevitable. The way that everything transpired surprised me a little though.
The initial face-to-face meeting is an interesting one. The Toyota 86 is tiny, properly dinky compared to the humdrum machines parked beside it at the crankandpiston car park and after a cup of teas worth of string I settle to the belief that it’s very tight and nicely proportioned car.
The interior is a pleasant place to be, with some of the most comfortable and supportive seats we’ve experienced in a while. I love some of the simple touches, such as how the headrests are designed with a helmet-wearing driver in mind. This car really is built for you, the driver.
We can’t honestly tell you the quality is on a par with the likes of Volkswagen or Audi (the usual benchmark), but it’s nicely bolted together, with soft touch plastics and leather in all the primary touch areas. Ergonomically it’s utterly superb, with the steering wheel, gear stick and pedals all in just the right place to let you get on with the actual driving.
Time to hit the road and see what it’s all about then.