QotW: What’s the best ‘Gran Turismo’ setup?

Last week’s Gran Turismo 7 update brought back a lot of memories. Some of us have played the latest and greatest, but the last GT game I really played religiously was Gran Turismo 4, simply due to the sheer number of classic and “regular” cars it had. Now I have a son, and I’m looking for a father-son bonding activity that may have me dusting off my PlayStation 2. Should I spring for a PS5 and GT7? Should I stick with GT4? I don’t have anything but the controllers the PS2 came with, so should I get a whole wheel and pedal system? Is there another installment of the series that I should look into?

What’s the best Gran Turismo setup?

The most entertaining comment by next week will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “If you could only drive cars from one year for the rest of your life, which would it be?“.

A wide variety of comments made the answers of the week very enjoyable to read. The most recent year chosen was Jacob B‘s 2022, while the earliest was Fred Langille‘s 1966. We got only one response from the 1970s, from Dutch 1960, and not surprisingly it hailed from 1973, just before the effects of the oil crisis sunk in.

The next most popular decade was the 2000s, with jd323 picking 2002 for its halo cars and Taylor C. choosing a raft of high-end Nihon steel. Then came the 1990s, with Dave taking 1996 for its vast scope of performance imports. Sammy B pointed out that 1993 had an incredibly diverse lineup of cars, from the quirky to the sporty. Ian G. chose 1993 as well but for a very different reason, that it was peak teal.

The most popular decade was the 1980s, with speedie deciding on 1989, the introductory year for so many great Japanese sports cars, from Miata to NSX, and both Lexus and Infiniti flagships. Dillon also ended up with 1989, but with an entirely different list of cars, including the supercharged MR2, A70 Supra, Celica All-Trac, FC RX-7, and so on. Bryan Kitsune named 1987 and an all-Toyota lineup, proving just how dominant Aichi was.

Ultimately, the winner last week was thatdirtykid, whose 1986 lineup was thorough, well-reasoned, and diverse.

Narrowing down to an era was tricky. A specific year actually came a little easier. Despite my favorite cars coming from the late 60s and early 70s, my affinity for 80s cars always seems to pull through answering these questions.

I would happily drive cars from 1986 the rest of my life. By 86′ Fuel injection had become more of a convenience than hassle, though cars weren’t so computerized that you couldn’t get away with carburating them if you like. Hvac systems from the era are more than adequate. I have no issue servicing the cars without worrying about whether I will be able to get the right patch cord and computer with compatible operating systems to pull codes or tune as technology progresses. Some of my favorite interiors come from this era too. Tons of variety, especially if we start looking at cars from makes outside of the island of Japan, though I could probably run 1986 toyotas my whole life if we were really narrowing things down.

I am sure I would still rotate a couple stalls in my garage, but my preliminary line up would look something like:

Daily: Acura Legend. It’s hard to imagine something with much more modern comforts that allows me to stay far enough in the past for the rest of this stable to meet my JNC desires. Though daily duties would likely veer toward a BMW 3 series as I get older and have more time in the garage and less driving to do.

Canyon and Track toy: RX7 Turbo. First year for the FC. Rotaries have a special place for me, and while I haven’t had an FC I would love to try one.

Camping: 4runner. Cannot beat a top off mountain goat of a truck for weekends in the mountains

Runabout: Mirage Turbo. I have owned one and loved it for hot hatch daily use. 4g63t was not a thing in 86, but it was in development so if it’s not bending the rules maybe one of those gets slipped in for a wild lightweight sleeper.

Dreaming big: This exercise isn’t limited by real world budgets is it? No not Ferrari F40, that’s 87 and I am not changing the year cause even in my dreams I don’t dream that big. A Sierra Cosworth or RS200 is a big dream though…
So the big dream answer is actually just a nice Skyline GTS. R31 are one of the best boxy/wedge coupe designs I can imagine. One of the downsides of 86 is no RWD Celica option, but an R31 would make up for that hole.

Motorcycles: My stable always needs at least one joyus 2 wheeled ride. This one gets two. Sport Touring is probably my primary automotive pursuit outside of being home wrenching. For the long highway jaunts and cross country tours I would be jumping on a Kawasaki Concours. They have kinda set the bar for sporty big tourers. Big tank and big bags but still room to tip it pretty far into a corner. That said unless I plan to carry a lot of groceries home the Concours is not the bike I want to jump on for cafe runs or around town duties. That’s why my stable would also include a Yamaha XV1100 Virago. Wouldn’t be a typical cruiser though. I absolutely love how these respond to the custom treatment. The lack of traditional triangle frame downtube leads to some beautiful customs. This would be a mild tracker/cafe type build with priority to handling and comfort.

TLDR: I find that 86′ is a great balance of classic with modern comforts, great variety of iconic cars Japanese and otherwise. No rwd celica and no FB RX7 makes me want to say 85 instead but there’s also a special nostalgia since 86 is my birth year. Well that’s if you can feel nostalgia for something you didn’t really experience.

Yeah I got wordy, but I enjoyed the exercise. I may have to do this exercise for the 60s, 70s and 90s too. I look forward to reading others responses!

Omedetou, your comment has earned you a set of decals from the JNC Shop!

JNC Decal smash


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13 Responses to QotW: What’s the best ‘Gran Turismo’ setup?

  1. Franxou says:

    Dang, a QOTW where I cannot find anything funny to say, only actual advice…
    Wheel and pedals is great for a computer, where it gets hooked on your desk, but the wheels I tried for playstation had to be held by manspreading. It was not a comfortable driving position on a sofa… You could get one for christmas for the novelty of it, but unless you make yourself a driving rig with a car seat and a frame holding this setup, these games are best played with a classic analog controller.
    Now, of all these games, which one to pick?
    GT1 is not bad but the interface is clunky so I’d skip it, and GT2 is fun and with a lot more cars, but it is a more arcade-y experience and you cannot take your time crafting the best racing line, trying to hit the exact braking point for a corner, the opponents will dive-bomb into you. I truly disliked that game. I did both GT for the original playstation during the Covid era, I never had time to properly beat them before!
    I started as a teenager on a playstation 2 with GT3, in my opinion the easiest to drift cars, then GT4, then when my significant other got herself a PS3 I went on to GT5 that I left uncompleted when I got GT6, the one I played most! Then both GT Sport for PS4 and GT7 for PS5 could be skipped for a kid. They will be great when they grow up to be teenagers, but I feel the single-player experience of the early GT are the best to spend time into. There is so much in these older games to read, learn and play!
    The easiest way to play is to hook a cheap small-form factor basic PC on your TV, install an emulator and connect a PS4 controller via blutooth. Try to track down a copy of the original game in order to really own the game, plus your kid will be able to interact with a real game box! Or dust off the old playstation 2, get a new memory card to start a new game without losing the one of your own childhood, start GT3 shopping for a car and let the your small human play, coming in to help when help is needed!
    P.-S. I started my first GT game, GT3, with a RED Trueno on a cousin’s advice… I learned about Initial D later and I was demolished 😛

  2. Land Ark says:

    At first I thought you were asking for which car and sey up was the best to race with. I choose to answer even though that wasn’t what you asked.
    It was the Subaru Impreza 22B with maxed settings. It was a featherweight monster. I think in 2 or maybe 3 there was a race spec version (in orange, I think), and that’s really the answer but I don’t recall if you could change the equipment on that one so in the spirit of the question you didn’t ask, I can’t count it.

    I had a very inexpensive wheel that I tried to use with my PS2 back in the day. I used it once and never again because it was terrible. I’ve only used controllers since and had only squared off cornering.
    The latest I have is XBox 360 and the Forza games. I prefer Forza since it has at least a little damage modelling. I haven’t fully embraced the Horizon series but I’ve heard good things about the XBox One versions.

  3. Nigel says:

    GT 4 with two controllers both set to use the “stick” for steering for a nicer game experience.
    Once your use to it you won’t go back to the game pad, for any driving game.
    Plus there is no more network for GT 5 and 6.

  4. crank_case says:

    GT7 is still a grindfest to get the top tier cars, but it’s a lot better than it used to be since they added weekly events. For all its faults, of which there are many, it’s still best “simcade” racer out there currently. Just get used to the idea that you’ll possibly never unlock some of the 20M credit cars unless you play regularly. You will unlock plenty of regular retro JNCs via the used car dealer though.

    For co-op, unless you have room and money to spring for dual wheels and playseats, then a PS5 with two PS5 controllers is perfect. The haptic controls for braking and throttle are leagues ahead of the old dual shock or even the current Xbox controller.

    Plus, once you’ve invested in a PS5, then there’s a decent variety of other racing games for a change of pace – The Ride series is pretty much the spiritual successor the old Gran Turismo motorcycle spinoff series Tourist Trophy (Ride 3 is arguably the best one in terms of non-frustrating campaign), or take it slow with massive offroad trucks in Snowrunner, which is pretty much peak “dadgame”,

  5. Bryan Kitsune says:

    I’ll skip over GT1-3, since you have 4 already, but will note that GT2 was my intro to the series, and I still hold it and GT3 in very high regard, due to having played them the most and in my formative years.

    If you are mainly concerned with the great gameplay and great car lists, I think you are good with just getting the Logitech Driving Force wheel/pedal combo for your PS2 and sticking with GT4. If you can find stuff around the house to attach the wheel to, that’s enough to have fun without spending more on a seat rig. For years my brother & I had that wheel and it was on an old school desk and we just used a regular chair. Was it perfect or super ergonomic? No. But it was still fun, and preferable to controllers IMO. While the PS2 Driving Force only offers 2 pedals and no stick to shift, I don’t really think it matters (this coming from a staunch manual driver in real life).

    I’m pretty sure Gran Turismo 5 was good – but I don’t own it. Polyphony Digital lost me a bit in this era. GT5: Prologue was overpriced as a glorified demo because they were taking too long to develop the game. I mostly played Forza Motorsport 3 at this time. Honestly, I enjoyed Forza a lot, but the steering wheel options were lacking on 360. I only ever used the standard controller.

    I didn’t own a steering wheel for the PS3 at that time either – heck, I didn’t even get a PS3 for a while, and only played GT5 on my brother’s system.

    Gran Turismo 6 is the last GT game with a proper car list. But if you don’t have a PS3, I don’t know if it’s worth buying a system and a steering wheel for it. I didn’t buy GT6 until after GT Sport was released.

    Speaking of GT Sport, when I played it, I was shocked by the lack of older cars. Not a single Celica. O_O  So that’s when I tracked down GT6.

    Currently, I have a Logitech G29 for Gran Turismo 7 on the PS4. I also bought the gear shift attachment. This is all on a Playseat Evolution seating rig. I hardly ever use the clutch/shifter. It’s not realistic enough to actually feel like you are shifting – zero clutch feel and a lifeless gear selector, so I just use the paddle shifters most of the time. The Playseat is nice overall, but also has a metal bar on the back that is a bit uncomfortable, and it takes up a lot of space. Probably better options out there if you decide to get a seating setup.

    One really nice thing about the Logitech G29 is that it is compatible with the PS3/PS4/PS5 and PC. So it does give flexibility. When I want better graphics/newer cars, I play Gran Turismo 7 on the PS4. When I want to drive older cars, I boot up the PS3 and Gran Turismo 6.

    I haven’t sprung for a PS5 because honestly, I just don’t enjoy the series as much without all the “regular” cars. Of course, it was also impossible to get a PS5 for quite awhile. Since I’m not as into gaming as I once was, I don’t know what else I would even play on it. I’ve had the occasional temptation to get one AND the PSVR2 headset, just for GT7. But that’s an expensive proposition, and so far practicality has always won the day.

    What I haven’t touched on at all –because I have never really gotten into it– is online play. If you want it, you’ll have to get Gran Turismo 7 and if you don’t have a PS4, it makes more sense to get the PS5 and have support for longer, and of course superior graphics/framerate/etc.

    One other random observation. One thing I liked about the older wheels/PS2 days is that the force feedback seemed like it was dialed in from the start. With the G29 and newer racing games – they give you a lot of settings you can change…but I feel like all those possibilities just makes it harder to dial in good settings for many games and just becomes frustrating (pretty sure I’m speaking of Project Cars and Assetto Corsa – Gran Turismo still works pretty well at defaults.) But of course, memory is a funny thing. Perhaps it’s because the early days were my introduction to force feedback wheels, and it just seemed amazing.

    TL;DR (I wouldn’t blame you) – I’d suggest you try to find a reasonably priced Logitech Driving Force wheel for the PS2, try it for a bit with GT4 and decide if you want to invest some more, or if you want better graphics. Then decide if you want to spend more $$ on modern hardware.

  6. Bryan Kitsune says:

    My (much too long) answer seems to have caught the spam filter. Perhaps it also filters inappropriately long answers. 8^D

  7. Taylor C. says:

    At first I thought the question was the best GT car lineup, but then it made a lot more sense once I read the actual post.

    I spent quite a lot of time on the original GT, and maybe that’s why my grades back in freshman year of college were subpar. At that time the gameplay was so real, even if the wheels of the car were literally poking through the fenders and quarter panels during the game replay. I don’t recall GT2 too much, but I certainly remember spending lots of time on GT3, as it was on the PS2, a hot item at that time. I recall my housemates and I using the “rubber band method” for the F1 car on the oval track; it was a 2+ hour race and we obviously had class to go do. We’d set the controls, then go to class, and come back to see that we won that endurance race, and a new car! I think we stopped at about 50% completion, as the racing beyond that was very time-consuming.

    Which leads me to Gran Turismo 4, also on the PS2. It was ultimately a hand-me-down from one of the roommates, and I still have it to this day. I even bought a Logitech GT wheel / pedals / shifter for it, all for cheap as PS3 was taking over all the hype. When my kids were younger, they loved playing it, and would take turns with the steering wheel. My daughter chose the Z32 Fairlady Z as it was the car in our garage. My son just picked the fastest car he could figure out, really enjoy it. I worried about the graphics and how it wasn’t the same level as NIntendo Switch, or PS3 / PS4, but seeing that my kids were having such a blast, I couldn’t really care less.

    I have only played GT5 a handful of times, but found it very realistic, so much that it’s hard to enjoy it with the standard controls. I also know that my kids would not enjoy the ultra-real physics that make driving much more difficult. The way the game also starts allows only a small number of cars and even less tracks(?). It’s also a bit more complicated with the online aspect, but I guess it’s supposed to be more user-friendly once the user gets more seat time. I didn’t have that seat time.

    I guess overall, it’s the trusty PS2 and GT4 that I’ll stick with. The kids don’t mind it, and it’s pretty straightforward, and it’s realistic enough that we can all enjoy it. Thought I’d donate it, but I still find myself dusting it off and watching that Ford GT splash intro….

  8. StreetSpirit says:

    PS2 and Gt4 in the living room on a hopelessly outdated cathode ray TV in the early 2010’s after school with my bros Gus Ricky and Ramon(fake names for privacy). Blasting down El Capitan in a red bluebird 910 on Watanabes from the tuned AE86 bought at the used wheels section in GT-auto. My boy Gus reppin a white integra on red three spoke advans, Ricky favouring the Lancia Delta in dark blue on some BBS and Ramon switching cars after each loss because ‘the evo just sucks’
    Split screen runs with the loser spectating each round til the TV made the room smell like Ozone and my dad would pitch a fit about our homework.

    If you ask me PS2, 2 controllers and GT4 is the perfect combination, if you’re lucky you might snap up a setup for 100$, TV-included. That jazzy menu music was fire and the used car section refreshing was always a treat. There’s some good exploits for credits and a whole mountain of JNC to play with.
    Worse comes to worst you could even put up an AI driver to complete endurance races for you for a good payout.

    Anyways, GT4 is a Japanese Nostalgic Game by now so it’s even in theme right?

  9. Yewnos100 says:

    If you have a relatively decent smartphone you can just go with PPSSPP and GT PSP, it’s fairly fun despite not having a career mode, and it’s definitely a better thing to play on mobile than whatever P2W grindfests that are popular now.
    Oh, and did I say that you can still play with your friends if you set up a pseudo-LAN network?
    Shame it doesn’t have any customization though.

  10. DC says:

    For me, the classic Gran Turismo setup will always be GT4, played on the heaviest television available. For a while, this was a massive Sony TV with an early high-def cathode ray tube. It belonged to the owner of the house I rented. Too heavy to move, it sat on the floor connected to a PS2 slim. With the right cables, we could play GT4 in HD. Nearly 20 years ago, that was basically magic!

  11. JamesEracer says:

    If you can afford the space for two monitors side-by-side then I recommend GT4 on PS2. I believe this is the last GT game to support system link. With system link you need 2 of everything (2 TV, 2 PS2, 2 copies of the game) then each player will have their own screen. This is no more expensive than buying one PS5 and one copy of GT7. Yet as you already know GT4 has an excellent roster of cars and due to it’s support for HD televisions the graphics hold up quite well.

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