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The Manual GR 86 Is Missing A Bunch Of Active Safety Features

Not that buyers who want a stick will probably care...

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Photo: Toyota

One of the great things about the Toyota GR 86 is that if you want a manual, you can get a manual, regardless of what trim level you pick. If you don’t want one, you can get an automatic. It’s the way things should be and almost never are anymore.

But one thing that’s stuck out to me since driving the car last week is that Toyota omits a group of active safety features for those who do go go for three pedals. Now, the manual is technically the standard transmission, so I suppose you could look at it from the perspective that these features are bundled with the automatic. (The auto was a $700 optional extra for the old 86, though Toyota hasn’t said if or how much more an auto will be for this new one.)


These are the features MT models miss:

  • Pre-collision braking
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Pre-collision throttle management
  • Lane departure warning
  • Sway warning
  • Lead vehicle start assist
  • High beam assist

Now, the first three — particularly adaptive cruise control — seem either pointless or technically challenging to do in conjunction with a stick. I won’t begrudge Toyota for that. Or, more appropriately Subaru, since both the GR 86 and BRZ use Subaru’s EyeSight 3 suite.


The rest of the list isn’t really powertrain-related, so I’ve been wondering why manual customers are getting the shaft (heh) regarding their inclusion. I reached out to Toyota’s PR team for a bit of insight, and I was pretty much told to go ask Subaru:

You are correct that these active safety features aren’t available on the MT version of the car. I’ll have to defer to Subaru on the development of the system and if certain features could be offered that work with a Manual Transmission, for your reference the car uses Subaru EyeSight Version 3. I will add that active safety offerings like these are an important aspect of our products, so we’re continuing to monitor customer feedback for their needs in future model years.

So I have asked Subaru, and will update this with whatever response I get. Of course, I don’t think for a minute that anyone desiring a manual would care so much to lose high beam assist that they’d rather spring for the auto. Hell, they’d probably pay these companies to delete lane departure warning if they could.

But I imagine there are manual buyers out there who might rather have some of these features than not. That they’re missing from cars with the standard transmission — even with the Premium package equipped, with the nice Alcantara seats, rear cross-traffic alert and so on — is weird to me.


It’s especially weird because manufacturers have made a big deal about expanding a base suite of safety-related functions across their entire lineup. For example, every Nissan Versa comes with lane departure warning, high beam assist and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection. That’s a subcompact that starts under $15,000; the GR 86 is a sports car that costs almost twice that. I understand the type of buyers Toyota and Subaru are courting here likely won’t shed a tear over losing that stuff, but the GR 86 is nevertheless a member of a broader range that universally has these things.

Anyway, that is all. The GR 86 is still a really cool car! It’s just odd that the manual lacks safety features that have nothing to do with the transmission.