2022 Subaru BRZ vs. 2022 Mazda MX-5 RF: Sports Car Showdown

The Subaru BRZ and Mazda MX-5, still known to many as the beloved Miata, have competed with each other for years now. Both cars fulfill an essential requirement in the market: the small, affordable, fun sports car. After comparing performance, comfort, and economy, does the 2022 Subaru BRZ or the 2022 Mazda MX-5 RF win the sports car showdown?

Is the Subaru BRZ faster and sharper than the Mazda MX-5 RF? 

2022 Subaru BRZ vs. 2022 Mazda MX-5 RF: Sports Car Showdown
2022 Subaru BRZ | Subaru

In keeping with the expectations of small, affordable sports cars, neither the MX-5 nor the BRZ produces much power. The MX-5 RF makes just 181 horsepower and 151 lb-ft of torque from the 2.0L four-cylinder engine. Compared to the BRZ’s 228 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque, the Miata should be underwhelming. That isn’t the case; considering the featherweight 2,500 lbs of the Miata, the car has more than enough gusto to self-motivate. While the BRZ’s boxer powerplant produces more power, it weighs around 400 lbs more than the little Miata.

In acceleration tests, Edmunds launched the MX-5 RF to 60 mph in 6.6 seconds. That time isn’t terrible for a little, inexpensive car, but the 2022 Subaru BRZ was much quicker to the 60 mph benchmark. The Subaru hit sixty in a respectable 6.1 seconds, a full half-second faster than the Miata. However, small, cheap sports cars are less about straight-line speed and more about handling. Similar to the speed tests, Edmunds found the BRZ to be a more focused performer through the corners.

Which sports car is more comfortable?

2022 Subaru BRZ vs. 2022 Mazda MX-5 RF: Sports Car Showdown
2022 Mazda MX-5 RF | Mazda

Neither of these two little sports cars is synonymous with plush, refined comfort. Edmunds found that the latest iterations are no different. The Subaru BRZ and Mazda MX-5 RF perform admirably in handling bumpy roads. However, the sport-focused suspensions of the Miata and BRZ are quick to let your lumbar know you found a speed bump.

Both cars are reportedly noisy, between sounds intruding from outside and the engine. Despite the noise, Edmunds awards the driving comfort win to the 2022 Subaru BRZ. The little Subaru was roomier on the inside, including two tiny back seats which could be used for storage. 

Is the Subaru BRZ or the Mazda MX-5 RF the more equipped and economical option?

2022 Mazda MX-5 RF | Ben Hardy

The 2022 Subaru BRZ is significantly less pricey than the Miata in terms of value. With a starting price of $36,015, the RF is nearly $5,000 more expensive than the top trim BRZ ($31,490). Don’t just rush out and buy that BRZ quite yet, though. The RF in the Miata’s moniker means that it is the folding roof model, a fun touch for those looking to drop the top. The BRZ doesn’t have that ability.

Despite the BRZ’s value for money, you may lose a little cash at the pump. Due to the heavier weight and higher power, the Subaru’s fuel economy suffers. According to Edmunds, the BRZ posts an estimated 22 mpg with the manual transmission and 25 mpg with the automatic. Compared to the lighter Miata’s 29 mpg with a manual transmission and 30 mpg with an automatic, the BRZ can’t compete.

So should you buy the BRZ or the MX-5 RF?

2022 Subaru BRZ vs. 2022 Mazda MX-5 RF: Sports Car Showdown
2022 Subaru BRZ | Subaru

Based on the testing completed by Edmunds, the 2022 Subaru BRZ is the better all-around choice for folks in the market for a cheap, fun sports car. The BRZ is faster, sharper, and more composed. However, if your criteria start and stop with fuel economy and the wind in your hair, you shouldn’t discount the 2022 Mazda MX-5 RF.

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