Zenkei Is Best? 3

2017 Toyota 86

I’ve been dreading this day for a year and a half now.  What would the next FR-S look like? Would it have boost or more displacement? Would it have lightweight body panels? Would it have a look I love? Would it cost me a lot of money just because it was something I would have to have?

2017 Toyota 86 Side

At this point… it doesn’t look like any of those are a concern.  If we use the AE86 as a reference, the Kouki FR-S… err 86, is basically exactly what we would expect: a bunch of minor cosmetic changes with appeal that is entirely subjective, and some mechanical tweaks that are all but invisible.

Like the AE86, bumpers got bigger and fatter.  Wheel style changed.  Tail lights changed.  There are minor updates to the interior.  Extra chassis bracing was added.

2017 Toyota 86 Wheel

Unlike the AE86, we see a 5hp bump on manual transmission models, and a different final drive (rumoured to be numerically lower).  The power increase apparently comes with an extra 200rpm, and since it’s only found on manual transmission models, I think we can assume it’s a matter of a tune, rather than a mechanical change.  Reportedly spring and damper rates have changed as well… this might make the kouki model the car to have for Street class solo… but we’ll have to wait and see.

For someone open to modifications however, there is only one reason that I can see to trade up.

2017 Toyota 86 Steering Wheel

That is the fact that the new car finally carries the proper name: Toyota 86.  Yes badges can be changed, and you might be able to convince your friends that you don’t own a Scion. The fact however, is that you will always feel like a sucker, and hate Toyota for selling you a fake wannabe car, when the “real thing” was just around the corner.  No one has ever liked Scion, I was sad when Toyota didn’t see fit to name the car appropriately in North America.  Now that they have acknowledged the mistake I am left feeling somewhat sore.

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3 thoughts on “Zenkei Is Best?

  • randedge

    I don’t like the new front end, tbh. I’m not sure why. Probably the single expansive grille. I tend to like cars that have the potential brake ducts separate.

    Just make yours functional brake ducts (if you haven’t already), rebadge it Toyota and all will be well.

  • randedge

    Ok, I looked again.
    I guess there still are brake duct-ish fakes on this new one. But did they relocate them higher and farther out? Because it really didn’t register as ducts on first glance, more like canards.

  • Q Osborne Post author

    They are higher and even slightly more outboard. My initial reaction to the new look was that I liked it, but the more I look at it, the less I like it. The sagging center area of the front bumper reminds me of…


    But I like the new tail lights and wheels (although that is almost totally irrelevant). Much of the FT86 community is up in arms about the new model having buttons on the steering wheel. In all honesty, I’ve found it pretty annoying having NOTHING on my car. Especially when volume control is on an annoying touch screen.