Feature

Mazda MX-5 vs Toyota GT86

The new Mazda MX-5 offers cut-price fun, but is it the best lightweight sports car on sale today?

Words ByWhat Car? team

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Toyota GT86 front

What will they cost?

If you’re a private buyer, the Mazda MX-5 should cost you just over Β£1000 less to start off with. Both cars will lose a similar amount in depreciation, although owning the MX-5 over three years will cost you around Β£1300 less, thanks to its cheaper insurance and road tax and considerably better real-world fuel economy.

The MX-5 also works out cheaper as a company car, with a saving of Β£1700 in benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax over the next three years, thanks to its lower CO2 emissions and cheaper list price.

It’s a similar story if you’re buying on PCP finance. The MX-5 comes in at Β£247 a month over three years – based on a Β£5000 deposit and 10,000 miles a year – while the Toyota GT86 adds Β£45 to that monthly bill. The MX-5 also provides a similar saving when it comes to leasing.

In addition to being well priced, the MX-5 is surprisingly well equipped, with sat-nav, climate control, LED headlights, Bluetooth, a DAB radio, 17in 'gunmetal' grey alloys and cruise control all featuring as standard. The entry-level GT86 Primo makes do with basic air-con and Bluetooth from that list. A DAB radio isn’t even available as an option, and its 16in alloys don’t fill the wheelarches quite as well as the MX-5’s larger wheels.

Neither car has been crash tested by Euro NCAP, but both come with front and side airbags (plus driver’s knee and curtain ’bags in the GT86) and a tyre pressure monitor. Unfortunately, you won’t find any modern safety features such as emergency city braking or traffic sign recognition – even on the options list.

Both cars get an alarm and immobiliser and proved similarly effective at resisting theft and break-ins when tested by security experts Thatcham.

The GT86 comes with a five-year, 100,000-mile warranty, while the MX-5 makes do with an extendable three years or 60,000 miles.

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