Toyota’s New GR86 Is Already Causing Trouble

Late last year, Toyota made a big hooha about their all-new GR86 sports car with a much needed bigger engine, good looks and overall, a good base car to have some fun. And Toyota did make it clear that the new GR86 is meant to be a car that you can have fun with, right out the box. They even got the help of professional drifters to promote the car with a line of “how-to” videos which demonstrated the capabilities of the GR86.

However, now that the car is on sale, Toyota doesn’t like it if you actually have fun with your new ‘fun’ GR86. In fact, they really don’t like it if you enjoy your car. Hold on, let me be clear, Toyota doesn’t want you to do anything that they did in their marketing stunt even though that is how you should technically enjoy your brand-new GR86. And to make it worse, owners of the GR86 have actually found out something that will cause the engine to seize and eventually blow, but naturally, Toyota is not admitting their fault.

“Join Our Trackday, We’ll Void The Warranty”

The whole Toyota fiasco started after an American GR86 owner decided to participate in a trackday where he was actually invited by Toyota USA to participate in. He even received a certificate to congratulate him on his participation in the event. However, it all went south from there when the engine seized and the owner tried to claim the warranty from Toyota. Toyota however had other plans.

The owner of the brand new GR86, Blake Alvarado, was told by Toyota that he was ‘abusing’ his car after the dealership found photos of his GR86 at a driving event. The warranty was voided due to such ‘abuse’ after just 22,160km and Toyota quoted him around $11,000USD (RM48,807.00) for a completely new engine. This however did not go well for Blake, in which, he took it to Facebook to share his story.

The car community however did not take this lightly as fellow owners even decided to join the bandwagon and share their problems regarding the new GR86. After making social media headlines among enthusiasts, they concluded that Toyota is actually the one to blame behind the mess of the GR86. While the car itself is capable of doing track days and autocrosses, the engine however is prone to blowing up due to a manufacturing error.

Engine Oils Do Not Mix Well With Others

Apparently, a few owners have found gasket material or RTV matter in the oil sump which results in a clog and potentially seizes the engine. Toyota however has responded to such claim with this:

“Regarding the 2022 GR86 owned by Blake Alvarado, the Toyota GR brand is driven by enthusiasts and focused on delivering incredible experiences wherever the driver may take their vehicles, including the closed-course settings for which their vehicles are designed, so long as they are driven in a manner that falls within the terms of the warranty.”

“While the vehicle’s warranty excludes damage that results from activities such as misuse and racing, simply participating in National Auto Sport Association (NASA) High Performance Driving Events (HPDE) or similar NASA instructional events provided complimentary to GR owners would not, in and of itself, void the warranty. Warranty claims are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.”

“Based on further review, we’ve determined the repair of Mr. Alvarado’s vehicle in this case is covered under warranty.”

That being said, Blake’s GR86 will in fact be fixed under warranty after the tremendous backlash that Toyota USA received on social media. However, he is concerned for other owners that might not get the support that he got and may walk away with a similar fate that he received earlier.

Toyota Can’t Catch A Break

Many owners believe that denying the warranty due to performance driving as how the car was intended is just false marketing as these cars are marketed to be used in these conditions. Even Toyota’s advertisements show that the car can be drifted, owners are offered a free track day and even discounted helmets with the purchase of the car. Does that not encourage you to drive your car in a spirited manner?

Toyota however isn’t off the hook just yet as another GR86 caught fire 12 hours after returning from a 4-month long repair at a dealership. It seems that Toyota is being rather silent about it and have yet to announce any form of a recall for the new GR86 but until then another one bites the dust as what seems to be a PR nightmare for Toyota. 

Written by | Danial Malek

Images by | Toyota