2020 Toyota 86 Hakone Edition new car reviews

The Hakone Turnpike is, arguably, one of the best driving roads in the world. Toyota seems to think so, too, and has celebrated it with a special edition 86. That's like Ford building a "Tail of the Dragon" edition Mustang, or Chevrolet making a special edition Camaro named after the Pacific Coast Highway.

What makes the Hakone Edition special? Mechanically, the Hakone Edition shares the same equipment as the GT trim—that means 205 horsepower for the manual and 200 horsepower for the automatic. Looks-wise, this special edition 86 comes with bronze wheels, exclusive Hakone Green paint, tan leather and a black Alcantara interior.

Read our driving impressions below.

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Chris Tropea ChrisTropea
Associate Editor

Being someone who does not have much experience with front-engine, rear-wheel-drive cars and this model being out for so long now, there is not much I can tell you that you do not already know. What I can tell you is I like this car. This was my first experience driving a car like the 86, and now I see the reason people love this layout. The Toyota 86 Hakone edition we got to drive comes in a stunning color combination of Hakone Green with bronze wheels, which is a love it or hate it combo, but I for one love it.

There is one problem I have with this car and that is the engine. The giant torque dip in the power curve comes in right when I wanted more power. When you set off it feels like the swell of torque is going to carry you through the gears, but the car kind of falls on its face at some points. The car even shows you a graph of the torque and horsepower curve in one of the display modes to show what you are missing out on.

Is this a big enough problem to not buy one? Probably not, but more horsepower or even flattening that curve out a bit would have improved the driving experience for me. But this car is not about high horsepower numbers, it’s about the driving experience.

What you get in this car is a great chassis that is a blast to drive around town. Plus, a really comfortable and premium-feeling interior like you would expect from Toyota. Unlike other cars in its class, it has a rear seat, but I cannot see anybody willing to sit back there. However, the extra room in the cabin is a nice feature to have for some added storage and the trunk offers a good amount of space which would be nice if you were planning on daily driving it.

So, if you want to go fast this probably is not the car for you, but if you are looking for a fun driving experience and something you could take to the track this car could fit the bill.

J.G. Pasterjak JG Pasterjak
Production/Art Director

Nearly every review I see of the Toyota 86 slips the phrase “virtually unchanged since its introduction” somewhere into the text, seemingly as a way to throw some subtle shade on Toyota for not keeping up with the times.

And, yeah, except for a 5hp bump in the ’17 model year, not much has changed since we first met the FR-S and BRZ in 2012, but not much needed to, because the car got so much right to begin with.

So let’s get the criticism out of the way right away, and that mostly centers on the engine. The engine—if we’re being honest—is a bit of a dud. Rolling into the throttle from low revs, you feel like you’re waiting for boost that just never comes. The much-derided midrange torque dip is very real. So real, in fact, that the digital power graph on the dash shows it very dramatically on its display, like a virtual version of one of those fake buttons they stick on the dash to let you know the options you were too cheap to order. The power and torque graph graphically displays the thrust that really feels like it should be there.

But it’s a testament to the excellence of the rest of the chassis that the overall package still excels in spite of a lackluster powerplant. The response and communication from this chassis—even in as-delivered form—is downright world-class. It’s a car that makes it feel like you can drive it at 101% without penalty from the moment you slip behind the wheel.

It’s also one of the most “right-sized” cars out there right now. Sure it’s nice and compact, but that only tells part of the story. The real magic of this car is how the size, sightlines and overall balance combine to give you an acute sense of where each corner of the car is at all times. It makes it wonderfully easy to place on track, and very rewarding to drive on the street, just due to the high feeling of precision you get from the awareness of the chassis.

But, yeah, lousy engine. Fix that and I’m down for another 8 years with no other changes.

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Comments
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mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
5/19/20 11:41 a.m.

They couldn't put a tan panel on the door to tie the whole thing together? 

Lovely color though. 

Cactus
Cactus HalfDork
5/19/20 11:47 a.m.

It was a mistake that this paint wasn't available from day 1.

Tyler H (Forum Supporter)
Tyler H (Forum Supporter) UberDork
5/19/20 12:23 p.m.

I'm not usually a hater, but what's with the orange peel in the paint on the 2nd photo? Hopefully just a camera effect.

That would be unacceptable quality to me for a new car. 

It does look good in the bright sunlight photo.  It's a throwback to Aquamarine Pearl, which I think was on every other MR2 built in 91-92.

 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
5/19/20 12:23 p.m.
Cactus said:

It was a mistake that this paint wasn't available from day 1.

It's a mistake that this paint isn't availalbe on every car built. 

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim MegaDork
5/19/20 12:28 p.m.

I'd rock that if the Alfa lease didn't have another couple of years to run.

Brett_Murphy (Forum Patrón)
Brett_Murphy (Forum Patrón) MegaDork
5/19/20 12:31 p.m.

Yep. I love that color.

Brett_Murphy (Forum Patrón)
Brett_Murphy (Forum Patrón) MegaDork
5/19/20 12:31 p.m.
Tyler H (Forum Supporter) said:

I'm not usually a hater, but what's with the orange peel in the paint on the 2nd photo? Hopefully just a camera effect.

 

Where are you seeing orange peel?

MrFancypants
MrFancypants Reader
5/19/20 12:56 p.m.

They finally put a nice looking set of wheels on it.

DirtyBird222
DirtyBird222 UberDork
5/19/20 1:21 p.m.

There's a Toyota dealer here that has two of these sitting on the lot. They've been there since October. I want one but damn $30k is a lot for an 86. The color combo is almost worth it - the dealer won't budge on the price either. 

It's amazing in person and I was drooling over them even as they were sitting next to a new Supra in a bland shade of gray. 

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
5/19/20 1:24 p.m.

In reply to Tyler H (Forum Supporter) :

I think you might be seeing light hit side marker from a weird angle.

Check out the third and fourth pictures to see it from different sides.

 

secretariata (Forum Supporter)
secretariata (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
5/19/20 1:25 p.m.

They should have left the interior all black. That brown ugly stripe inserted into the interior makes me think somebody made an unfortunate lunch decision...

barefootskater
barefootskater SuperDork
5/19/20 1:56 p.m.

The dealer I was slinging parts for got a couple of these shortly before I left. Pretty things. They still have two on their website though so maybe the looks aren't worth the price tag? $32k iirc. Seems steep to me. Still, pretty. 

Tyler H (Forum Supporter)
Tyler H (Forum Supporter) UberDork
5/19/20 2:16 p.m.
Brett_Murphy (Forum Patrón) said:
Tyler H (Forum Supporter) said:

I'm not usually a hater, but what's with the orange peel in the paint on the 2nd photo? Hopefully just a camera effect.

 

Where are you seeing orange peel?

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/19/20 2:51 p.m.
mazdeuce - Seth said:

They couldn't put a tan panel on the door to tie the whole thing together? 

Lovely color though. 

This. The way it is in that picture it looks like somebody just stuck some aftermarket seats in it that don't match. Matching door panels really would have finished the look

TJL (Forum Supporter)
TJL (Forum Supporter) HalfDork
5/19/20 3:16 p.m.

Unfortunately, decent paint on a new car has become pretty rare.

buzzboy
buzzboy Dork
5/19/20 8:17 p.m.

Those seats look amazing. Look comfy and supportive

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
5/19/20 8:33 p.m.
TJL (Forum Supporter) said:

Unfortunately, decent paint on a new car has become pretty rare.

Unless you buy Euro.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
5/19/20 8:36 p.m.
barefootskater said:

The dealer I was slinging parts for got a couple of these shortly before I left. Pretty things. They still have two on their website though so maybe the looks aren't worth the price tag? $32k iirc. Seems steep to me. Still, pretty. 

If i had $32k. (and if this were a Subaru not a Toyota, I would make it happen), I'd find it worth it.

 

I am assuming here that they still do suspension tuning differences that make the Toyota version a 5/10s "whee" car while the Subaru is tuned for much more aggressive driving

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
5/19/20 8:56 p.m.

In reply to secretariata (Forum Supporter) :

Sort of related, but I always thought that the British Racing Green '91 Miata would have looked cool with black seats against the tan leather interior. 

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
5/20/20 5:38 a.m.

Hold the phone, what is with the power graph on the dash?  Is it a real time power output display, or does it just function like a tachometer but with better meaning?

 

Either way, I like it.  

secretariata (Forum Supporter)
secretariata (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
5/20/20 6:10 a.m.
buzzboy said:

Those seats look amazing. Look comfy and supportive

They look like the stock seats which are both provided the occupant isn't too wide. 

ChrisTropea
ChrisTropea Associate Editor
5/20/20 8:48 a.m.

In reply to Pete. (l33t FS) :

Its more like a tachometer just showing where you are in the hp and torque curve relative to your RPM. 

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