Used test: Mazda MX-5 vs Toyota GT86

The Mazda MX-5 has long been the de facto source of cheap thrills on the used market. But the Toyota GT86 is now temptingly affordable – so which is best?...

Used test: Mazda MX-5 vs Toyota GT86

What are they like inside?

Tall drivers might find the MX-5 cramped, but everyone else will be perfectly comfortable. The seats are narrow but supportive, and while there’s no reach adjustment for the steering wheel, the driving position is otherwise pretty good.

The 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.

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. SE-L Nav trim adds an excellent sat-nav 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.

Used test: Mazda MX-5 vs Toyota GT86

There’s not much storage space in the MX-5. Unlike the Toyota, it lacks door bins or even a glovebox. There is a small, lockable cubby between the two seats, with small storage spaces just behind them.

While the MX-5 is strictly a two-seater, the GT86 will technically carry four. In reality, the 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 poky boot will only hold a couple of weekend bags, so be prepared to pack light.

The MX-5 may be well priced but it’s surprisingly well equipped, too, with sat-nav, climate control, LED headlights, Bluetooth, a digital radio, 17in ‘gunmetal’ grey alloy wheels and cruise control all standard. The GT86 does without the sat-nav, but it does at least get dual-zone climate control, cruise control and Bluetooth. A digital radio wasn’t available as an option at the time the car we’re testing was built, although this was added later, and Toyota will retrofit one to your older GT86 for £229.

Used test: Mazda MX-5 vs Toyota GT86