While the styling and feature changes for the 2017 Toyota 86 are undoubtedly light-on, they are nevertheless noticeable.
Externally, the most heavily revised is the top-spec GTS model, but there have been some adjustments made across both models, both inside and out.
Now, having spent some time this week with the revised 2017 Toyota 86 in its homeland of Japan, we take a quick look at what’s changed with the exterior styling and interior features.
First up, the front end, and the new GTS grade now has an entirely LED light package – including the fog lights. There’s a redesigned front bar, which is slightly lower to the ground and also features two fins on the lower edge of the air intake aperture.
The design of the fog lights has also changed, which all add up to create a subtly enhanced nose.
The GT, on the other hand, gets LED headlights and LED daytime lights, which it didn’t have previously.
Before, the GT had daytime lights which were always on unless the headlights were on, and looked similar to fog lights. Now, they’ve been replaced with a styled black cover, and the DRLs are incorporated into the headlight cluster.
Moving to the front fenders, you’ll notice the twin-piston 86 badge from the outgoing model is gone, replaced by a less stylised 86 badge mounted outside the fender detail piece on the fender itself.
That fender insert has also been redesigned for this new 86. We reckon fans of the old badge might miss the piston design, but nonetheless, this small change has made the side profile a little different.
The GTS model also gets new 17-inch alloy wheels and will adopt factory privacy glass as standard.
All 86 models get extra spot welds in the C-pillars, which help to make the rear of the chassis even more rigid than before.
At the back, all 86s get LED tail lights, while the GTS gets an all-new alloy rear wing. It’s a great looking design, too, and should ensure that buyers considering that ugly roof-height rear wing think twice before ticking that option box.
Under the bonnet, all manual 86s get all-new intake and exhaust manifolds, while all also get a slightly stiffer strut brace. That intake manifold is now made from cast alloy and has been finished in red crinkle coat.
The air intake itself has been redesigned from the old model, and will be the same for both GT and GTS manual models. Automatic models don’t get the new intake and exhaust manifolds, or the revised air intake.
We’re not quite sure about the exact local numbers yet, but power and torque will creep up a little too – the JDM models get 152kW and 212Nm.
The peak torque band has been improved. Torque is now available over a 200rpm broader spread, with engineers trying to eliminate even the merest hint of a flat spot through the rev range.
The shock absorbers have been reworked front and rear, along with the springs, which are 10 per cent firmer in the front and 15 per cent softer in the rear than with the outgoing 86. The rear stabiliser is also 1mm thicker, while the front stabiliser bar remains unchanged.
And that’s the bulk of it.
So, while there aren’t wholesale changes to what was already an attractive package, there’s a bit more going on than you might have thought.
Drop down into the cabin of the 2017 Toyota 86, and there’s plenty to take in, but the first thing that catches your eye is the steering wheel. It’s the smallest ever fitted to a Toyota production vehicle, measuring in at just 362mm (down from 365mm of the previous model).
While the GTS gets steering wheel-mounted controls, the GT model remains devoid of buttons on the steering wheel.
Engineering chief Tetsuya Tada told CarAdvice, the even smaller tiller is a direct result of feedback from the 86 racing programme.
Next, the gauge cluster, which has been reworked to provide a more driver- and performance-focused experience.
To the right of the twin gauges, there is now a colour 4.2-inch multi-information display, which can be customised to show a G-Force meter, power and torque curves, a stopwatch function and a lap timer for the GTS. You can adjust those screen displays via the steering wheel mounted buttons.
For all models, the tachometer has also been changed so the 7500rpm redline is viewed right at the top and centre of the display instead of around to the right as it was previously.
There’s also a new trim material for GTS models, similar to Alcantara, that Toyota is calling ‘Grand Luxe’. It’s a faux suede that has been chosen largely because it cuts down on glare and reflections.
You’ll see it atop the instrument binnacle, the top edges of the doors and on the fascia of the dash, where there is also an embossed 86 logo on the passenger side.
The use of suede-look material also adds to the sports-car cred of the 86’s cabin.
All grades will get Hill Start Assist Control, while the GT adopts the carbon-look trim that surrounds the gauges of the current GTS model. There are minor revisions to the HVAC controls and door mounted switch panels.
The take-up of the full-size spare wheel has been so low in Australia, Toyota has removed that option altogether, so there’s now a standard temporary spare tyre across the range.
GT specification interiors will get new black fabric with silver stitching, while GTS gets micro suede with leather highlights. Australia will get a completely black interior, unlike some of the JDM vehicles you’ll see in pictures that have two-tone interior trim.
Apparently we’re a little more boring in Australia.
Strangely, there will be no improvement to the standard audio system we have currently in Australia, with that aftermarket feel and appearance remaining. The test vehicles we drove in Japan had blanking plates where the audio system would usually reside, and in Japan the systems are a dealer-fit option. You could in fact have no radio at all, if you so choose.
Given there is a rear-view camera required as part of the Australian specification, our market will retain the old-school touch screen that has been standard in 86 models up to this point.
There is no change predicted to that in the future, so that means no Apple CarPlay/Android Auto or any other avant-garde functionality either.