2023 Toyota GR86 10th Anniversary

When the FR-S was introduced over a decade ago, the hype was off the charts.
When the FR-S was introduced over a decade ago, the hype was off the charts.

by Jon Pangindian and Nathan Leipsig | June 6, 2023


It’s hard to believe that it has been 10 years since the release of the Toyota GR86. Originally sold as the Scion FR-S in North America, it instantly became a hit with both critics and the general public. With its lightweight design, rear-wheel-drive configuration, and affordable price, it allowed a new generation of drivers to experience the spiritual successor to the legendary Toyota Corolla AE86. To celebrate this milestone, we had the privilege of testing the 2023 Toyota GR86 10th Anniversary Edition.

When the FR-S was introduced over a decade ago, the hype was off the charts. At a time when sports cars were becoming increasingly complex and expensive, Toyota seized the opportunity to make something really special. With decent power, low weight, rear-wheel drive, and an affordable price, Toyota’s partnership with Subaru to produce the FR-S and BRZ resulted in the perfect little toy for sports car enthusiasts.

With the demise of the Scion brand, Toyota moved away from the FR-S name and returned to its roots with the GR86 moniker. This is a smart move, as this generation of GR86 is superior in every way. The 10th Anniversary Edition is a very limited-production model, with only 860 units (860… get it?) being produced. Among them, just 20 are designated for the Canadian market, making this model extremely rare. In terms of performance tweaks, there are no real differences, save for the inclusion of the Gazoo Racing cat-back performance exhaust with black chrome tips. This adds a more aggressive exhaust note that fortunately doesn’t drone.

What truly stands out is the exclusive Solar Shift Orange metallic paint and the duck-billed spoiler in the rear, unique to this anniversary edition. The screaming bright orange color looks fantastic, and accentuates the curvy silhouette of the GR86. Personally, I appreciate it when manufacturers release limited production cars with distinctive colors, however, I’m not a fan of the c-pillar black graphics, as they appear out of place and are more suited to something like a Dodge Charger. The exterior is further enhanced by exclusive 18-inch matte black wheels, which provide a nice contrast to the paint color.

Inside, you’ll find subtle upgrades, such as a leather trimmed interior with grippy ultra-suede seats with orange highlights, along with “10th Anniversary” beautifully embroidered on the doors.  The design is understated, with the badging tastefully integrated throughout the vehicle, unlike other anniversary editions where it is plastered everywhere. Otherwise, it’s more or less the same as you’d find on the regular models. The infotainment system and stereo are also the same, featuring the base 6-speaker system instead of the upgraded eight-speaker unit found in the Premium trim model. However, standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included.

While this Anniversary Edition doesn’t pack any extra muscle over the base GR86, anyone who has driven the first-generation FR-S will be pleasantly surprised by the available power. There are no power dips, and the engine has gained a significant boost in horsepower and torque, allowing it to no longer lag behind minivans at a stoplight. Paired with a slick-shifting six-speed manual transmission, it will leave you giddy from the get-go. Expect a 0-100km/h sprint time of 6.3 seconds, nearly a full second faster than the previous generation.

The first-generation GR86’s 2.0-liter engine has been replaced with a 2.4-liter engine that delivers 228 horsepower and 185 lb-ft of torque. Unlike the previous engine that needed to rev up to 6,600 RPM to achieve peak torque, the new engine reaches its peak torque at a much lower 3,700 RPM, allowing the GR86 to launch off the line much faster than before. Toyota has also offered a few automatic transmission Anniversary Editions for sale, catering to those who prefer not to use a manual transmission. Surprisingly, the automatic transmission in this model is actually quite good and doesn’t detract much from the car’s overall charm.

The suspension, which carries over from the other GR86 trim levels, is brilliant. It provides a comfortable ride, even on rough roads, and performs exceptionally well on twisty roads, with exceptional balance and fantastic body control. Toyota has found the sweet spot for those who seek an enjoyable driving experience in their daily commute. Experienced drivers will appreciate how the rear end of the car can be pushed into a controlled slide for added fun.

Interior space and cargo room are limited as is inherent to a little sports car like this, but I had no issues getting in or out of the car despite being six-foot-three. It’s definitely a rather intimate cabin, it’s still much better than the somewhat cramped Mazda Miata I’ve previously tested. Folding down the rear seats provides ample room to accommodate an ample load of cargo, groceries… or a set of four track tires.

Toyota rates the fuel economy of the GR86 at 11.9L/100km in the city, 8.7L/100km on the highway, with a combined rating of 10.5L/100km. During my week of testing, I achieved a better than expected fuel efficiency of 9.8L/100km, with an equal split of city and highway driving. It’s worth noting that the use of premium-grade fuel is recommended. The manual transmission model tested has a sticker price of $43,164.50. However, if you don’t necessarily need the attention of the Anniversary Edition, the GR86 Premium MT priced at $37,704.50 offers similar performance and allows you to save almost $5,500, plus whatever “market adjustments” your local dealer will inevitably slap on top.

Over the course of several days with the 2023 Toyota GR86 10th Anniversary Edition, it was difficult for me to accept that I had to return the keys. Toyota has delivered a wonderful, traditional, rear-drive sports coupe that is a joy to drive, and easy to live with. They have taken what was already great and made it even better with this generation. This is definitely an anniversary worth celebrating, if you can get your hands on one.

See Also:

2023 Subaru BRZ Sport-tech

2022 Toyota GR86 Premium

2023 Toyota GR Corolla


Vehicle Specs
Compact Performance Coupe
Engine Size
2.4L flat-four
Horsepower (at RPM)
228 at 7,000
Torque (lb-ft.)
184 at 3,700
Fuel Efficiency (L/100km, City/Highway/Combined)
Observed Fuel Efficiency (L/100km)
Cargo Capacity (in L)
Base Price (CAD)
As-Tested Price (CAD)
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About Jon Pangindian

Staff Writer

An experienced detailer and diehard car guy, Jon brings a creative eye to his new vehicle road tests. Aside from writing, Jon spends most of his time tinkering with new detailing products and experimenting with ceramic coatings.

Current Toy: ’13 650i Gran Coupé