Northern Group

Northern Group Car of the Year 2022: Toyota GR86 Wins Fun Category

Toyota’s run of form in the Northern Group Car of the Year voting has continued, with the GR86 taking the class win for the Fun category to make it into the final six.

New for 2022, the GR86 replaces the GT86 as Toyota’s small sports coupe. Although similar in terms of aesthetics, there’s a raft of changes underneath.

The platform has changed slightly, with an extra 5mm in the wheelbase and 10mm more in the rear track. Toyota, with development partner Subaru has increased torsional rigidity by 50%, and reduced weight by around 20kg too.

However the biggest difference comes from the engine, which is now a 2.4-litre boxer four unit boasting 20% more torque and 15% more power than the GT86’s 2.0-litre. The 0-60mph sprint is now a second quicker, at 6.1s.

James Fossdyke, part of the Northern Group’s COTY committee, sang the praises of the GR86 ahead of the crucial Driving Day near Skipton:

Like its predecessor, the GR86 impressed with its sublime handling, as well as improvements in refinement and everyday usability. The result is one of the all-time great sports cars, with balance and poise to rival cars that cost twice as much, as well as classic sports coupe looks. With prices starting at around £30,000, the GR86 is the bargain of the century, and a deserving winner of the Northern Group of Motoring Writers’ Fun Car of the Year 2022.

The Toyota beat the Lotus Emira and Ferrari 296 GTB in member polling to take the class win. However an issue with the UK fleet’s software meant Toyota couldn’t provide a car for the Driving Day, meaning only those members who’d previously driven the car could accurately vote on it — making it technically still possible for it to win the overall Car of the Year title, but unlikely.

All that remains now is for the Group to reveal the results of the secret ballot at the Driving Day and announce the winner of the 2022 COTY at the SMMT Test Day North. The winning manufacturer’s press office, if attending, will receive the much-loved “Arthur” trophy.

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