2017 Toyota 86 and 2017 Toyota Sienna – What’s new?

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As much as people don’t love to mix different things together, today we are gonna do a short review of two completely opposite models from the same manufacturer. The first car in question is 2017 Toyota 86, a small sports car previously known as Scion FR-S. After the Scion brand had been shut down, FR-S model transferred to its parent company Toyota. Together with the exterior, interior and powertrain change, the name was also changed to Toyota 86. Another car in this review is actually a minivan, 2017 Toyota Sienna which is, for the most part, the same car that was last year. Only and the biggest change is improved engine that is now bringing direct injection to the same 3.5-liter V6 unit. This upgrade bumps power output to 296hp and is combined with 8-speed automatic transmission.

2017 Toyota 86

Toyota 86 can be considered a completely new model despite the fact that car enthusiast had the opportunity to enjoy it as Scion FR-S. FR-S model was introduced in 2012, but its lifespan was shortened by Scion demise. Now we have this car under the Toyota brand and with a new badge at the back. Its new name originates from mid-80’s, and it’s derived from Toyota Corolla GT-S chassis name AE86 also known as “hachiroku”.

Biggest changes between the old FR-S and new 86 are on the interior and exterior. On the front end, you can notice a completely new nose, with LED headlights that have 86 logos on them. The same logo can be seen all over the car with clear purpose. They want people to get accustomed to the new name. On the inside, the Toyota 86 has new faux-suede inserts that can be found on the door panels and dashboard.

On the driver’s side, a new steering wheel that is smaller than on FR-S by 3 mm is the most notable change, if we can call 3 mm reduction a notable change. In addition, audio system controls are now placed on it. Small stitches on the door, and dashboard that were red on the FR-S are now gray on 2017 Toyota 86. The Central part of the console is occupied by the 7-inch touchscreen display.

Source: caradvice.com.au
Source: caradvice.com.au

Not all changes are design related. Engine with manual transmission was upgraded by 5hp and has better torque distribution. Rear axle comes with shorter ratio and with hp upgrade Toyota 86 should have better acceleration, but with this kind of small improvement the change is not easily noticeable. One of the areas that demanded to be changed but wasn’t is the noise management.

This said the 2.0-liter flat four engine is still noisy as before. Some people find its sound to be an advantage and are fully able to enjoy it. Not us tough. One thing that Toyota succeeded is in making the 86, even more, fun to drive than it was the case with Scion FR-S. New suspension, improved chassis, new body design, shocks, different spring rates are the reason behind it.

At the end we must highlight the price of 2017 Toyota 86. $30,000 for a car that is fast and fun to drive, this price can with right be considered a steal. It’s gonna be noisy, not as fast as one would think and want, and not an everyday family car but it’s not meant to be any of that. Its purpose is to be fun to drive. Starting price for base model will be around $28,000, and you won’t find any cheaper car that offers this much enjoyment to a driver. Next time when you think about buying a fun-to-drive vehicle think about Toyota 86.

Source: caradvice.com.au
Source: caradvice.com.au

2017 Toyota Sienna

Minivan segment was never, and it’s not gonna be, the most interesting car segment in the world. Despite this fact, these days are full of small minivan battles. Chrysler introduced its new model, the Pacifica, Kia went in with its new and improved Sedona and Honda’s Odyssey is well and truly underway. Toyota is not waiting to get hit by rivals but is preparing an all-new Sienna, before this happens they will stick with the current model. Last year’s model was released with an all new interior and improved drivers dynamics, so for this year only novelty will be engine and transmission borrowed from 2017 Toyota Highlander.

The new engine is V6 that comes as a replacement for the same 3.5-litre with improvements made regarding fuel consumption and performance. It combines the best trades of port injection and direct injection alike. This engine is specific because it combines the cold-start of port injection and fuel economy of direct one. In addition to this, it has 296hp which puts it on top of its class. With all of this stated the 2017 Toyota Sienna is the most powerful minivan that money can buy (Tesla doesn’t manufacture them yet).

Source: toyota.com
Source: toyota.com

Having this type of unit, 2017 Toyota Sienna definitely is a mighty people mover, but it’s not exactly a road beast. Its engine is designed in a way that it gives you a quick start, but the transmission, on the other hand, has characteristics that are improving the fuel economy and not acceleration. In the end, it does just that because when out on the highway it is capable of returning 27mpg which is a 2mpg improvement on the previous model. This makes it very competitive on the minivan market.

As far as the handling goes, it’s just as on any other vehicle in the segment; you shouldn’t test it too much and push it too far. Given that Sienna’s is primary designed for passengers transport and not for racing and that it seeks to lower fuel consumption and not to gain performance bump it will certainly bee wanted among customers.

If you want something sportier from Toyota, go back to the beginning of this review.