Announcing the award on Friday (1 March), Steve Fowler, Car Buyer Editor-in-Chief, said: “The GT86 is a fine example of Toyota doing what it does best: understanding the needs of a target market and delivering – in this case a focused sports car that’s all about driving enjoyment, yet at an affordable price.”
It’s a neat summary of the essential qualities that have made the low, light and lithe GT86 an instant hit with media and motorists alike.
Giving the Toyota a 4.8-out-of-five rating, the Car Buyer judges reported: “With only 197bhp, it’s not the most powerful car, and, at a smidgen under £25,000, nor is it the most expensive. But its beautiful balance between power and weight means the GT 86 is one of the most entertaining cars money can buy. There’s only one specification level, so the entry-level car with the six-speed manual gearbox is the one to go for. The lively 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine has plenty of character, while strong brakes and precise steering mean it’s a hoot to drive.”
The 2+2 coupe was conceived from the outset to be a pure driver’s car, with low weight, a low centre of gravity and responsive, rewarding handling as its design and engineering priorities. With styling is inspired by Toyota sports car heritage, it features a front-mounted, free-revving 2.0-litre ‘boxer’ engine driving the rear wheels. Toyota purposely specified standard tyres – the same as those used on Prius – rather than performance rubber, so that drivers can fully exploit the GT86’s handling potential.
In addition to its Car Buyer honour, GT86 has been named Top Gear magazine’s Car of the Year and Coupe of the Year in the Scottish Car of the Year awards. It is also among the finalists in both the European and World Car of the Year awards this year.