Toyota 86: manual versus automatic

The Toyota 86 boy racer is finally coming to Australia at an unbelievable $29,990 for the base model manual. But an extra $2,500 will get you the automatic version....

The Toyota 86 boy racer is finally coming to Australia at an unbelievable $29,990 for the base model manual. But an extra $2,500 will get you the automatic version. Usually it would be sacrilege to go auto but that may not be the case for the 86…

First things first, the basics of the automatic for the Toyota 86. Grab the base model GT and you will be screaming down the road (under the legal speed limit, of course) in what seems like a standard automatic gearbox. The GTS premium model, however, comes with paddle shift to make it a little more racy.

If you’re using your new Toyota 86 as a city car, which some will do at the price tag, the automatic should get a much bigger look in. The good thing for city 86 driver is that the fuel efficiency is actually better in the auto. Significantly better – 7.1 litres to 100 kilometres by comparison to 7.8 thanks to some clever engineering by the Toyota team. You’ll also have a slightly greener thumb, with emissions at 181g/km for the manual and 164g/km for the automatic.

But what if you’re not a city driver? Or you want to take the Toyota 86 out of the burbs on the weekend for a quick spin. The auto could still be a decent option, especially if you choose the GTS model. It comes with limited-slip differential in the tail, something you won’t get in the base GT model. However, both are extremely smooth at speed, especially when you put them into manual mode. Changes occur quickly and smoothly, and the car will even blip the throttle on its own on the down shift, something boy racers will really enjoy testing out.

If you still can’t get your head around buying a sports car with an automatic gear box, bear in mind that Toyota used the auto version on the media day to allow journalists to test out the wet track and get some sideways cornering action. The auto sticks to the gear you select when in manual mode so all you have to do is pull up the hand brake at the right time. An important note, because it means this car is less likely to throw you into the wrong gear when you’re going for a track day or racing up a steep hill. It will do what you tell it to do.

So if you’re keen for a Toyota 86, but something is telling you to go for the auto, it might not be as bad an idea as you think. And the queues are likely to be far less than the ones for the manual. As it is, you will already be waiting at least a few months to get behind the wheel.

Web: Toyota

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Motoring

Damian Francis has previously edited Australian T3 and F1 Racing magazine and wrote for GQ Australia and Men's Health. Unlike Nick and Trev, he has no kids, no mortgage and no wife, but lives happily on Sydney's North Shore with his girlfriend.
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