The Scion FR-S Is Now The Toyota 86 Like It Should Have Been From Day One

Photos credit Toyota
Photos credit Toyota

The Toyobaru twins have gone under more names than some entire car brands have, and as Scion closes up shop to fold into the mother brand, the FR-S gets yet another name change. But it’s one I can actually get behind. Meet the 2017 Toyota 86, as it will be called this fall.

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I like the sound of that.

Initially Toyota told everyone the car would be keeping the FR-S name, but then they pulled a fast one and decided to give it the badge it wears in other markets, including the Japanese one.

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Illustration for article titled The Scion FR-S Is Now The Toyota 86 Like It Should Have Been From Day One

The re-naming comes with a power bump too, finally, even if it’s just a slight one; Toyota says the car’s 2.0-liter naturally-aspirated boxer four is now rated at 205 horsepower and 156 lb-ft of torque, up five on both counts. It’s small, but we’ll take it. The suspension’s been retuned as well.

The 86 name, of course, refers to the fact that it is the modern resurrection (sort of) of the old “hachi-roku” rear-wheel drive AE86 Toyota Corolla from the 1980s that proved popular with drifters, tuners, anime fans, and other people you wouldn’t invite to Thanksgiving.

This is a good change, Toyota. A good change. We’ll see the full car at next week’s New York Auto Show.

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Editor-in-Chief at Jalopnik. 2002 Toyota 4Runner.

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DISCUSSION

biturbo228
BiTurbo228 - Dr Frankenstein of Spitfires

If they think that a 5hp/tq increase, a new name and some mildly updated styling will make sales take off then there’s someone very deluded somewhere in up the Toyota corporate chain.

Styling was never a problem. The name probably didn’t help, but probably didn’t hurt it overly much either.

What did hurt it was the cascade of review calling for more power (and not just 5 more bhp). I get that it was a blank slate for tuners, but why let them get all the business when you could offer a turbocharged FA that you’ve already got. Hell, if that’s not federalised then apparently the good ol’ EJ bolts up nicely. I doubt it would have stolen too many sales from the Impreza as that has a very different portfolio of capabilities.

Why would you intentionally limit the target audience of an already limited appeal car?

I do wonder if what actually kills dedicated RWD sports cars is mainly a lack of balls on the manufacturer’s part. They had so much hype built up that they could easily have continued if they’d just put a turbo on. People would have gone nuts again, calling it the second coming of the Silvia etc.. More publicity. More sales. Maybe enough profits to warrant a second generation and then you’re off!