Whenever car lovers get bored, we like to pit two similar cars against each other and see who comes out on top. One easy pairing is the Toyota 86 and the Mazda MX-5 Miata. These two sports cars have a lot to offer in the performance world, and people love to point out that they’re more similar than they are different; they’re the same car.
Their differences, however, make them all the more interesting. 2017 was an excellent year for both, and would now make the perfect choice for your next used vehicle while staying perfectly affordable.
What do the Toyota 86 and the Mazda MX-5 Miata have in common?
The MX-5 Miata, which began production in 1989, has been around much longer than the Toyota 86, which came out in 2012. The Toyota 86 is the brain-child of Toyota and Subaru, and the automakers produce it together. Both the Toyota 86 and the Mazda MX-5 Miata prove that you don’t have to break the bank to get your hands on a high-performance sports car. Both cars are lightweight and rear-wheel drive, making them easy to fill up at the gas pump.
Both the Toyota 86 and the Mazda MX-5 Miata score well in reliability, which can’t be said for many other cars in their class. Sports cars frequently need repairs and care, but both of these high-performance sedans are less likely to need as much maintenance over time.
Both cars come standard with similar base equipment, including technology like similar sized touchscreens and similar safety features. The Miata has more to offer at higher trim levels, but the base levels are comparable in terms of features.
What are their differences?
The MX-5 Miata got a redesign in 2016, giving it smaller proportions and a sleeker and more sporty look than it had previously. The 86 has a power advantage with its 205 horsepower and 156 lb-ft of torque compared to the Miata’s 155 horsepower and 148 lb-ft of torque. But the size difference between the two — the Miata weighs less than the 86 — makes up for the difference.
The Miata has better fuel efficiency than the 86. The 2017 MX-5 Miata gets 26 mpg city/36 mpg hwy/30 mpg combined, whereas the 2017 Toyota 86 gets 24 mpg city/32 mpg hwy/27 combined.
Interestingly, the Toyota 86 is known for its more forgiving clutch. This makes it perfect for new drivers and seasoned drivers who can take advantage of it more. However, the MX-5 Miata has more versatility and more optional features, so it depends on what you are looking for in your sports car.
Which one wins?
These cars are so similar that it’s impossible to pick which one comes out on top. If you are looking for slightly more power, then the 86 might be the way to go with its 205 horsepower. If you’re looking for something you can still drive around town, then the MX-5 Miata might be the way to go with its better fuel economy. There are pros and cons to each, and it truly depends on what your priorities are as a driver.
The Toyota 86 starts at a higher price, most likely because it is a bigger car and has two rows of seating than the Miata’s one. However, the Miata has more trim levels and is available at much higher prices than the 86 as you go up in trim levels. But the base levels of each are affordable compared to others in their class.