The Land Cruiser, while subjectively “awesome” by dint of being a super-capable off-roader SUV replete with luxury and tech conveniences, is stupid. It’s too big, it guzzles too much gas, it’s too unnecessarily impractical. This is, fair enough to say, an unpopular opinion. I don’t care — if you think otherwise, kindly stuff it. If you’re shuttling around fewer than three people in any sort of urban or suburban setting, you’re engaging in nothing short of silly, irresponsible, macho posturing. Forget the Land Cruiser. Buy a silly, impractical, obscenely fun two-seat sports car instead: the 86 coupe.
Sell your gear; you can’t fit it. Put the kids up for adoption; they can’t fit either. Forget towing anything; you don’t need a money-pit boat anyhow. Hold on to the extra $60K; you’ll need it for speeding tickets and tire replacements. All you need is this tiny coupe, a curvy road and some muscle relaxants to calm your facial muscles after every commute, because they’ll be frozen into a wide grin.
For a third of the price of Toyota’s titanic four-wheel-drive eye-roll machine ($31,500 for the loaded example I borrowed), you get a car that is sexy to behold, supremely fun to drive and also (*gasp*) makes sense in all the driving contexts your (admit it) less-than-rugged life takes you. It’s good on gas, kicks the back end out easily thanks to fully defeatable stability control (a rarity these days), has no more technology than is absolutely necessary and — most importantly — earns you massive boy-racer street cred. So it doesn’t matter that it’s witheringly uncomfortable after just 30 minutes.
Engine: 2.0-liter flat-four
Transmission: six-speed manual/six-speed sequential automatic
Torque: 156 lb-ft
MPG city/highway: 21/28
MSRP (base): $26,255
If you pick up an 86 and load it down with go-fast goodies from Toyota’s in-house tuner TRD, you’ll have an irrepressibly loud, attention-grabbing, ten-million-percent-more-fun car than any ridiculous tank on the market. You sit low and feel every delightful bump in your teeth (thanks, TRD lowering springs). You change gears hard and often (TRD short shifter, duh). You look and sound like a real-life Speed Racer (blacked-out TRD wheels and TRD sport exhaust: get them).
Sell your gear; you can’t fit it. Put the kids up for adoption; they can’t fit either.
Toyota makes amazing SUVs and trucks. Indeed, we even worship the Land Cruiser and the Tacoma pickup regularly. And I suffer it all in the name of unbiased give-the-people-what-they-want-ness. But you’re all crazy. You’re all wrong. The Toyota you want is at the other end of the spectrum: no third-row seats, no rock-crawl mode, no V8s. Just a boxer-four, traditionally phallic sports car design language and zero — zero — subtlety. The 86 is everything you (should) actually want.