A weekend with the Toyota GT86

Not long after my VIP experience with Mazda and their new MX-5 and lots of tweeting about it, Toyota starting flirting with me on Twitter trying to tempt me to look at their sports car, the GT86.  After many years of driving MX-5s I couldn’t see me switching my allegiance from Mazda, but I’m always open to trying new things.  So last weekend the Toyota press team delivered me a GT86 to try out and photograph.

The first thing that struck me about the GT86 were the looks. There’s no doubting it’s a very good looking and photogenic car.  It clearly takes some design concepts from its ancestors like the Celica and looks classic Toyota both outside and in.  When driving around I got lots of admiring looks.

Upon starting the car I found another great thing, the boxer engine.  Having previously owned a Subaru Impreza, which also has a boxer engine with its distinctive sound, the engine sounded immediately similar albeit without the swoosh of a turbo.  The bucket seats also made me reminisce of my Subaru days.

All of this makes the GT86 a drivers car – it’s a nice place to be, a great car to drive, and perfect for anyone wanting to stand out from the crowd.

What disappointed me about the car were the rear seats and the lack of gadgets.  The car is a 2+2, two seats in the front, two in the back.  But there’s so little space between the front and back seats that they’re unusable.  The lack of gadgets on the GT86 was surprising, especially for a Japanese manufacturer.  The dual zone climate control, touch-screen bluetooth stereo with satellite navigation, and gear change indicator were all welcome.  But things I’d expect as standard were missing.  No parking camera or sensors, no puddle lights, and a clock which has been lifted straight from the ’80s. The only ‘old’ technology I was thankful for was the handbrake, the modern push button ones just aren’t my thing.

Photography-wise I really wish I’d had the car in summer rather than autumn when the daylight hours are limited.  I didn’t have time to experiment with lighting, but maybe next time I do a car shoot I will.  I tried to get photographs which are a bit different to the ones you’ll see on any car review website, ones which highlight the features which make it a GT86, which make it unique.

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