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Subaru BRZ Goes Head-to-Head with Toyota 86 in Covington LA

The Toyota 86 and the Subaru BRZ are nearly twins to the unresearched buyer, and the truth is these two cars are actually similar. So is the Toyota 86 in Covington LA the better of the two?

Before getting into a head-to-head assessment of the cars, you should know that Toyota and Subaru conceived and developed the cars jointly. Their mechanical configuration as well as the powertrains and dimensions are almost indistinguishable. And since their arrival in 2012 until now, they've also grown at the same pace. But even though they have so many features in common, there are some understated differences between the BRZ and the Toyota 86 in Covington LA.


Spirited and quick, both of these coupes bring the fun without a lot of frills. With responsive handling and available stick shift, each of these affordable sports cars offers an exciting ride.

The 2020 BRZ is available in two trims: Limited and tS. The base trim is the Limited, which starts at $28,845 for the 6-speed manual or $29,945 for a 6-speed automatic transmission. The tS trim begins at $31,495 and is only offered with a stick.

The 2020 Toyota 86 starts pricing at $26,985 with the base trim, and moves up through the GT, then Hakone. All three models are equipped with 6-speed manual transmissions, with availability to upgrade to a 6-speed automatic. The Toyota 86 GT starts pricing at $29,835. The top Hakone Edition comes with exclusive upgrades and starts at $29,870.

Toyota 86 in Covington LA: Interior

Bolstered front seats that hold you in place around sharp turns are outfitted in both vehicles. The BRZ comes standard with leather upholstery and heated seats, but if you purchase the Toyota, you'll need to upgrade to get those comforts. Both cars have seating for four passengers although the back seats in each are small.

As for cargo space, the Toyota 86 in Covington LA and the Subaru BRZ come out the same with 6.9 cubic feet, which is average for the class. The trunks are large enough for a few carry-on bags, but both cars have rear seats that fold flat for larger items.

The BRZ definitely has a better quality interior, even though both cars have simple, minimalist cabin designs finished in a combination of hard plastics and sot materials. The base (Limited) trim of the BRZ has a more upscale feel with a leather trimmed steering wheel, leather upholstery, and heated front seats. The interior of the Toyota seems a bit drab compared to the Subaru.

All models of the BRZ come standard with Android Auto/Apple CarPlay, two USB ports, Bluetooth, satellite radio, navigation, Subaru's StarLink infotainment with 7 inch touchscreen, and an 8-speaker audio system. Keyless entry and dual-zone auto climate control come standard as well.

In comparison, the 86 includes Bluetooth, an 8-speaker stereo system, and a 7-inch touchscreen. The 2020 model finally gets Android Auto/Apple CarPlay, but you'll need to upgrade for the climate control and keyless entry.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Both vehicles come with a 2.0 liter 4-cylinder motor that puts out 205 hp with the stick. (Rumors about the BRZ getting a bigger engine still haven't been confirmed.) The automatic transmission drops horsepower down to 200. They also get comparable fuel economy, with the BRZ averaging 29 mpg highway/21 city and rising to 33/24 when paired with the automatic transmission, while the Toyota achieves 28 mpg highway, 21 city, and 32/24 with the automatic.

An engaging ride, responsive steering, and nimble handling are delivered by both cars. They take on tight corners and winding roads with no problem, but the stiff suspensions do let you know about the bumps in the road (it IS a sports car, remember). Both are equally fun to drive, but the Subaru feels more sure-footed around curves and livelier on straight runs.


If you want more performance, the Toyota 86 has an available TRD Handling package (new for 2020) which features Sachs performance shocks, Brembo brakes, and Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires. For the BRZ there's an available performance package for the Limited trim which also includes the Sachs shocks, Brembo brakes, and 17 inch alloy wheels.

In comparing safety between the Subaru BRZ and the Toyota 86 in Covington LA, both received five out of five stars in rollover tests and four of five stars in frontal crash tests conducted by the NHTSA. The lone advanced safety feature in both cars is the standard rearview camera. No blind spot monitoring or lane keep assist for these sexy speedsters!

Overall, these cars are well-matched in performance and power. They share a platform, drivetrain, and standard equipment because they were developed by both companies. The variation is in the styling and features. Although the 86 has a lower starting price, the BRZ comes out on top with a more stylish cabin, slightly better gas mileage, and way more dashboard technology.