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If you’re in the market for a sports car but need some practicality, the 2023 Toyota GR86 and 2023 Ford Mustang Ecoboost are great choices. Both cars have backseats, decent-sized trunks, potent powertrains, and exceptional handling characteristics. They’re also priced similarly. But which car should you pick? Here’s a little comparison to help you decide.

2023 Ford Mustang
2023 Ford Mustang | Ford

2023 Toyota GR86 vs. Ford Mustang: The pony has more power

2023 Toyota GR86 engine
2023 Toyota GR86 | Toyota

When deciding on a sports car, its horsepower and torque ratings are super important. After all, what’s the point of driving a sports car if it’s super slow? As such, if you are deciding between these two cars and want the most power, the 2023 Ford Mustang is the one to pick. In its base form, the Mustang Ecoboost generates 310 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque from a turbocharged 2.3-liter engine.  That engine can be mated to either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission, which transmits the power to the rear wheels.

That’s much more power than the 2023 Toyota GR86 pumps out. The little Japanese coupe is motivated by a naturally aspirated 2.4-liter engine that makes 228 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. Like the Mustang, the GR86 had a rear-drive configuration that could be controlled by either a six-speed automatic or manual transmission. However, we prefer the latter for the most fun.

Ultimately, if you need more power when driving your sports car on a daily basis, the Mustang is the one to get. Although, we will say that the power the GR86 provides is nothing to scoff at.

How much backseat room does each car have?

2023 Toyota GR86 rear seat
2023 Toyota GR86 rear seat | Toyota

It seems almost ridiculous to compare these two cars when it comes to rear seat space, considering they’re not meant for full-size adults. However, the Ford Mustang wins out again by only an inch or so.

Specifically, the rear seat in the Mustang has 34.8 inches of headroom, 30.6 inches of legroom, and 52.2 inches of shoulder room. By comparison, the Toyota GR86’s backseat measures 33.5, 29.9, and 51.7 inches, respectively. In reality, it’s not much room, as we were barely able to fit an average-sized adult that was 5 feet, 8 inches tall in the back of the GR86.

Nonetheless, that rear-seat space works well for groceries or the occasional backpack when needed.  

How much cargo room does each car have?

2023 Toyota GR86 trunk
2023 Toyota GR86 | Toyota

If you’re looking the get the most cargo room out of your sports car, the Ford Mustang is the one to get. The Mustang’s cargo area measures 13.5 cubic feet compared to the GR86’s 6.3 cubic feet. Don’t let the GR86’s number fool you, though. When we tested the 2022 Toyota GR86, we found the trunk space to be fairly handy for its size. Obviously, the Mustang wins out with its trunk that’s twice the size.

What kind of gas mileage can you expect from the Toyota GR86 and the Ford Mustang?

2023 Toyota GR86
2023 Toyota GR86 | Toyota

You might think that the 2023 Toyota GR86 would beat the 2023 Ford Mustang EcoBoost when it comes to fuel economy since it’s a smaller car – but it doesn’t. According to the EPA, the GR86 with the manual transmission can get up to 20 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. The Mustang beats it by a small margin with its estimates of 21 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway.

2023 Ford Mustang EcoBoost vs. 2023 Toyota GR86: Which practical car should you choose?

2023 Ford Mustang
2023 Ford Mustang | Ford

If you’re looking for an affordable sports car with more overall practicality, the 2023 Ford Mustang EcoBoost is the better option. It has more interior volume, trunk space, power, and fuel efficiency than the Toyota GR86.

Both cars cost around $30,000 as well, so the Mustang is definitely the clear winner. If you’re looking for more options, check out our list of “7 of the Most Practical Sports Cars for 2023.”