The £10k Toyota GT86 | Spotted

Remember what a breath of fresh air the Toyota GT86 was back in 2012? An atmospheric rear-wheel drive sports car that prioritised fun above all else was exactly what the doctor ordered, providing a more traditional alternative to the hot hatchbacks it was priced against. Sure it was slower than most of them and we already had the MX-5, but the GT86 was bred as a pureblood sports car from day one.ย 

That its use of Michelin Primacy tyres, which were also the boot of choice for the Prius, came as a bragging point emphasised just how driver focussed the GT86 was. While hot hatch manufacturers were stiffening suspension and using ever grippier tyres in pursuit of faster lap times, Toyota opted for a harder wearing and ultimately less adhesive tyre, preferring to prioritise balance and cohesion than outright cornering speed.

What a successful job it did as well, because the GT86, while never particularly quick with 200hp from its 2.0-litre flat-four, loves to rev and the chassisโ€™s poise along a B-road is so wonderfully exploitable that its comparable lack of grunt only occurs to you when youโ€™re going away from a traffic light. Find the right road โ€“ like something technical with a quick succession of corners (or somewhere with wide, empty roundabouts) and the GT86 is motorised perfection.

Elsewhere, such low mechanical grip would be a bad thing, but the GT86โ€™s inherent balance manages the job of bringing all the adjustability of a higher-ranking sports car down to legal speeds. At 1.2 tonnes it isnโ€™t as light as you might expect, especially given the simplicity of the setup, but the weight distribution is close enough to 50/50 and the steering, brakes and tight six-speed manual very pleasing to operate, making for as authentic a sports car experience as any.

The GT86 is easy to live with, too, providing relatively low running costs thanks to affordable consumables and with a 2+2 cabin, you could take the kids along as well. Compare it to a hot hatch for too long and youโ€™ll certainly notice the shortfall in spaciousness and straight-line speed - but these are easily forgivable sacrifices when you consider what you get in return. This is a car bought by people who love driving above all else.

So letโ€™s rejoice then (for once) that those of us in that exclusive club number quite a low proportion of the populace. Because it means that the GT86 has not turned into a particularly highly sought after car in the second hand market - hence its decent through half price into ยฃ10k territory. Excluding modified and accident damaged cars, the lowest-priced GT86 on the classifieds is up for ยฃ10,480 โ€“ and it looks to be in great nick. A 2013 car with 61,172 miles on the clock, both the exterior and interior look healthy, meaning thereโ€™s little to suggest this wonโ€™t provide fun for years to come. Then again, those not bothered about the badge might want to consider this 16,000-mile-old Subaru BRZย on sale for just a grand more. It might not be possible to have more fun - good, clean, reliable, well-made fun - for less.ย 


Engine: 1,998cc, flat-four
Transmission: 6-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 200@7,000rpm
Torque (lb ft): 151@6,400-6,600rpm
MPG: 36.2 (NEDC combined)
CO2: 181g/km
First registered: 2013
Recorded mileage: 61,172
Price new: ยฃ24,995
Yours for: ยฃ10,480

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Comments (87) Join the discussion on the forum

  • LordGrover 19 Jul 2019

    Probably a good buy at that price.
    Great little car to own and drive, so long as you accept it for what it is.

  • Alex_225 19 Jul 2019

    I've always liked the overall package of the GT86 I just never thought the price of £25k warranted the performance you got. I know it's all relative but just didn't do it for me.

    But the prospect of a 200bhp, no doubt fun, Japanese car with 60k on the clock for £10k makes it a far more appealing prospect.

  • Scottie - NW 19 Jul 2019

    These are starting to look like great options, you can get a full turbo conversion package for about £4.5k all fitted now from the likes of Tuning Developments which gives the power to make it a great option.

  • Shappers24 19 Jul 2019

    Enjoyed my two years in the gt86. The one thing which let it down were the tyres. Yes they allowed for easy sliding action with minimal provocation; but the braking performance as a result of this low grip was shocking. The worst of any car I’ve driven. Combined with ‘interesting’ handling characteristics in wet weather on the motorway, I swapped them after a year for some Goodyear Eagle F1 and it transformed the car. Much more confidence in all manor of driving conditions and didn’t lose the playfulness of the chassis.

    Brilliant chassis all told - but arguably the 2008 mx5 which I had before the 86 was the better steer.

    I’ve been spoilt since with forced induction so not sure I could live with the revvy nature of the engine now. But seems like great value for money and plenty of tuning options out there if that’s your sort of thing! Still think it looks cracking, even 7 years after release.

  • Mike 83 19 Jul 2019

    The black Subaru is the much better bet I even prefer the badge even if it is a clone.

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