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?...

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What Car? team
20 September 2015

Our verdict

Both cars are brilliant to drive and offer an authentic sports car experience. Toyota has slashed the price of the GT86 and it now makes more sense than ever. But the Mazda MX-5 serves up even more fun; you’ll have the wind in your hair and a fantastic sports car beneath you.

True, it doesn’t steer quite as sweetly as the GT86, and it isn’t as practical, but the MX-5 is more comfortable, better equipped and considerably cheaper, so it wins here.

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Also consider:

1st – Mazda MX-5

Mazda MX-5 vs Toyota GT86

For Roof-down thrills; fine handling and ride; strong performance; low costs

Against Cabin space; small boot; roof-up wind noise

Verdict As much fun as you can get for the money

Rated 5 out of 5

Read the full Mazda MX-5 review

2nd – Toyota GT86

Mazda MX-5 vs Toyota GT86

For Great handling; decent ride; practical cabin and good-sized boot

Against Engine noise; cheap-feeling cabin; more expensive to buy and run

Verdict Superb fun to drive; Primo version makes good financial sense

Rated 3 out of 5

Read the full Toyota GT86 review

Specifications: Mazda MX-5 2.0 160 SE-L Nav

Engine size 2.0-litre petrol

List price £21,095

Target Price £19,692

Power 158bhp

Torque 148lb ft

0-60mph 7.6sec

Top speed 133mph

Fuel economy 41.0mpg

CO2 emissions 161g/km

Specifications: Toyota GT86 2.0 Primo

Engine size 2.0-litre petrol

List price £22,701

Target Price £20,877

Power 197bhp

Torque 151lb ft

0-60mph 7.7sec

Top speed 140mph

Fuel economy 36.2mpg

CO2 emissions 180g/km