Base Camp: 2022 Toyota GR86
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Every week, wheels.ca selects a new vehicle and takes a good look at its entry-level trim. If we find it worthy of your consideration, we’ll let you know. If not, we’ll recommend one – or the required options – that earns a passing grade.
Base Camp is taking a couple of weeks off over the holidays, so look for this column to return bright and early in the New Year. Before heading out the door of 2021, we’d like to present our readers with the gift of cheap performance and the joy of power-on oversteer.
When the gearheads at Toyota introduced what’s now called the GR86 nearly a decade ago, it marked a return to the type of vehicle that tickles the brain of car lovers: affordable, two-door, rear-wheel drive, and available with a manual transmission. It proved the perfect base on which new or aspiring Stigs could hone their car control skills; with a safe number of horsepowers funneled through the rear wheels, there’s a case to be made that this car provided many with their first taste of powerslide happiness.
For 2022, the little scamp is offered in a variety of trims, starting with the base MT at a reasonable $31,490. For that sum, one will find themselves at the helm of a rear-wheel drive car making 228 horsepower stirred thorough a six-speed manual transmission – a gearbox we heartily recommend. Tack $2,400 to that sticker price if an automatic is required. Right now, every GR86 has the same engine, so paying more doesn’t net extra power.
Spotting a base model in traffic is easy thanks to the Premium (+$3,000) trim’s natty duckbill spoiler which turns the thing into something of a mini Supra. Entry-level tires are sized 215/45/17, though upgrading to the Premium only increases wheel diameter, not tire width. In other words, you’re simply adding weight, not traction. LED exterior lighting is standard across the board and Toyota unlocks attractive colours like Trueno Blue and the too-clever-by-half Track bRed even on the base car. Note the latter is a $255 option.
Toyota’s infotainment efforts have always been best described as well-intentioned, and that’s the case here as well. Every GR86 regardless of price is equipped with an 8-inch touchscreen packing Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, though the Premium adds a couple of speakers bringing the total to eight. Keyless entry, cruise control, tilt/telescope leather wrapped steering wheel, and dual zone climate control are all included. Peep those heated side mirrors as well.
What We’d Choose
Shelling out extra simoleons for a Premium trim GR86 may not bring any extra grunt but it does add certain niceties such as heated seats that some folks are unwilling to do without. Blind spot monitoring and automatic high beam headlamps are also part of the Premium deal. We politely suggest shoppers simply wear warmer pants, check their blind spot when changing lanes, and pay attention to oncoming traffic.
Doing so will place an extra $3,000 in their pocket, cash which can be put towards track day fees or any number of go-fast parts offered in the aftermarket for this car. With a standard active sport rear diff meting out power in appropriate amounts to the cheap-to-replace 17-inch rear tires, not too much of that savings will be spent on new rubber. Sounds like a Happy Holiday to us.