2020 Toyota 86 Hakone Edition

Raucous, sleek and more fun than a 16th birthday party, Toyota’s 86 Hakone Edition is a real attention magnet with its lustrous green paint, bronze wheels and black tail spoiler. New for the 2020 model year, the Hakone Edition does little to advance the 86’s performance potential — well, nothing really — but that’s OK because the 86 is already one of the most fun cars you can get for the price.

In addition to the exterior enhancements, the Hakone 86 Edition gets a unique black and tan interior treatment. It would’ve been nice if it had been fitted with a more sophisticated infotainment system too though. Even with that seven-inch touchscreen in the dash, the rearview camera’s display is a thumbnail in the rearview mirror?

Power comes from a 2.0-liter horizontally-opposed naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine good for 200 horsepower and 151 lb-ft of torque. This is fed to the rear wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission. You can also get a six-speed manual, which is mated to a 205-horsepower version of the flat four.

(That’s the one I’d buy.)

Everything else aside, the Toyota 86’s long suit is its delightful handling. Wonderfully neutral, the car takes full advantage of the rear-drive layout. You can drift through corners with the tail hanging out, or slice through them surgically with equal ease. You’ll fall in love with the Toyota 86 the moment you turn onto your favorite twisty road.

That said, the 86’s drivetrain could be more refined. The gruff-sounding engine could do its job with considerably more elan and power output could be more generous as well. However, the Toyota’s precise steering, comfortable ride quality, sharp handling and usable trunk are true saving graces.

And yes, I like it.

Toyota 86 Hakone Edition pricing starts at $31,885.

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© 2019 Automobiles Illustrated