The redesigned 2022 Subaru BRZ and Toyota GR86, siblings under the skin, have both earned the highest Top Safety Pick+ designation from the U.S. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
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The two cars, built as a joint effort between the two Japanese automakers, ride on the same platform and share a 2.4L horizontally-opposed four-cylinder engine.
To qualify for the award, a vehicle must earn the top “Good” ratings in six crash tests; and it must be available with a front crash-prevention system, for both vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian collisions, that earns “Advanced” or “Superior” ratings. The models squeak in under that because the system is included when the automatic transmission is ordered. You can’t get it with the stickshift, but technically, it’s available on the cars overall.
To earn a Top Safety Pick, a vehicle must have headlights available that earn “Good” or “Acceptable” ratings. For Top Safety Pick+, headlights rated as such must be standard on all trims, which they are on the BRZ and GR86.
First Drive: 2022 Subaru BRZ
First Drive: 2022 Toyota GR 86
Both cars were temporarily discontinued for the 2021 model year, awaiting their redesign. But when the 2020 models were tested by the IIHS, they both failed to earn the top awards because both got only an “Acceptable” rating in the crash test for driver’s-side small-front-overlap. The 2020 Toyota 86 also received a rating of “Marginal” for how easy it is to use its child-seat tethers, which has been upgraded to “Acceptable” for 2022.
While the two share similar styling, they do have unique fascias, and each must be crash-tested to ensure that the styling differences don’t make a safety difference. The 2022 models haven’t yet been rated by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).