The much anticipated Toyota 86 Hakone is appropriately named after an iconic driving road in Japan. A curvy mountain pass called the Hakone Skyline. Priced a mere $1,000 more than the 86 GT, the Hakone is still thousands less than the 86 TRD Special Edition. Financially accessible to any fan of the already great 86, but who crave something extra special. The question is, what are you getting for the extra dough.
Before anything else can be noticed, the custom Hakone Green paint and 17-inch bronze wheels jump right out. A visual pairing that never failed to awe and inspire. Separately they’d be great, together they look absolutely amazing. Rounding out the rear is a more subtle black lip spoiler. These exterior features are unique to the Hakone edition. They do a great job of elevating the already beautiful design features present in the Toyota 86. Chrome-tipped exhaust integrate with underbody aerodynamic panels and aggressive LED taillights. At the nose, a beautifully sculpted front bumper with hawkish headlights that look narrowed and focused. Ready for battle and here to make a big statement.
On the inside, the Hakone treatment continues with black and creamy peanut-butter brown leather-trimmed seats. Contrast stitching lends a little extra sporty flair. Mechanically, the same 2.0L 4-cylinder engine feeds the rear wheels exclusively with 205hp. A 6-speed manual gearbox is a pleasure to throw around, with precise gear changes and a clutch that grabs while still being forgiving.
The same MacPherson strut front suspension and Torsen limited-slip differential keep the chassis of the Toyota 86 extremely dynamic and lively. With neutral handling, sharp turn-in and almost no body-roll to speak of. You can even turn the traction control off if you’re in the the mood to slide the tail and practice your drifting. A maneuver that the Toyota 86 makes easy to initiate and just as easy to control once sideways. Thanks to the narrow rear tires and light weight. Steering is tight, providing plenty of firsthand feedback to the driver. The brakes are ventilated discs at all four corners and offer plenty of bite without fading.
Though the 2020 Toyota 86 Hakone doesn’t offer any big mechanical upgrades, it takes the 86 to a whole new visual level. The custom green paint and bronze alloy wheels alone make the extra money well worth it. Performance-wise, the Toyota 86 already brings enough front-engine, rear-drive soul to earn a name like Hakone. A road that it would no doubt be an absolute blast to drive on.
Price as tested: $30,825.00
By: Brandon Randall