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?...

20 September 2015
Mazda MX-5 vs Toyota GT86

What are they like inside?

Tall drivers might find the Mazda MX-5 cramped, but everyone else will be perfectly comfortable – at least to start with. While there’s no reach adjustment for the steering wheel, the driving position is otherwise pretty good, but the narrow seats don't offer much lower back support, so aches can set in on longer drives.

The Toyota GT86 feels appreciably bigger inside, and there’s more adjustment in its driver’s seat. The steering wheel adjusts for reach, too, and the seats also hold you in place better during hard cornering.

Mazda MX-5 vs Toyota GT86

Mind you, the MX-5 has the smarter interior. The GT86’s cheaper-feeling dashboard plastics and low-rent LCD displays make it feel like a throwback to the 1980s.

By contrast, the MX-5 feels thoroughly modern inside, with good ergonomics. As the name suggests, SE-L Nav trim adds an excellent sat-nav unit to the infotainment system, which is controlled by a rotary dial between the front seats; the touchscreen in the GT86 is nowhere near as slick.

There’s not much storage space in the MX-5 which, unlike the GT86, lacks door bins or even a glove box. There is a small, lockable cubby between the two seats, with small storage spaces just behind them.

Mazda MX-5 vs Toyota GT86

While the MX-5 is strictly a two-seater, the GT86 will technically carry four. In reality, its back seats are better used as extra storage space, although a couple of small children will fit.

That and a decent-sized boot make the GT86 a relatively practical proposition by sports car standards. The MX-5’s pokey boot will only hold a couple of weekend bags, so be prepared to pack light.

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