4-Cylinder Clash: 2022 Subaru BRZ vs. 2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata

The Mazda Miata has long been the go-to car for driving enthusiasts who aren’t trying to blast through their savings accounts. The Miata has gone largely unchallenged over the years, until recently. The Subaru BRZ has been gaining ground on the Miata for a couple of years now, and with the added power of the 2022 model, the BRZ can finally step up as a real competitor to the 2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata. 

Car and Driver made a head-to-head comparison of these two little road rippers to see which car was best. These cars are powered by naturally aspirated four-cylinder engines paired with six-speed manual transmissions (automatic is an option), sending power to the rear wheels. All of these driver’s dream specs come in a package that runs less than $35,000. 

What makes these machines go?

Both cars are fairly modest in the horsepower department. Most folks looking for either of these cars aren’t after a tire melting muscle car. Although they aren’t super powerful, the power is delivered in snappy little pops that make these cars a thrill to drive. 

The 2022 Subaru BRZ has considerably more horsepower than the 2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata. The Subaru has a 2.4-liter four-cylinder boxer engine making 228 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. The Miata, on the other hand, has a smaller 2.0-liter engine making 181 hp and 151 lb-ft of torque. That is a large disparity of power, but they are far more competitive than those numbers make them seem.

The 2022 Subaru BRZ is a bit on the heftier side, weighing in at 2815lbs. While the 2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata clocks in 474lbs lighter at 2341lbs. This weight difference keeps the Miata quite competitive. 

How are these tiny sports cars inside? 

Look, neither of these cars is going to be called upon to help your friend move. In fact, as you can probably tell, they are quite tiny. The 2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata has a trunk – technically. Car and Driver says if you have more than a few grocery bags, the Miata’s trunk can’t hang. The Subaru has a bigger trunk space with actual storage capacity. Now, the back seats of the BRZ are nearly worthless, but they fold down, offering a useable space for luggage. 

2020 Subaru BRZ | Subaru-
2020 Subaru BRZ | Subaru

To put actual numbers to these cargo spaces, the 2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata has 4.6 cubic feet of space in the trunk, while the BRZ has 6.9 cubic feet with the seats up. If these seats are flattened, there is even more space. 

How fun are they?

This is the 10-million-dollar question. They are both a blast, but we all knew that. Which one is better? That is a hard question. Like I said earlier, neither car is very fast per se, but the weight and suspension allow them to corner flat and fast. Of course, Car and Driver haven’t driven the 2022 Subaru BRZ yet; its added power should add a noticeable snap to the little coupe. The 2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata has one big advantage over the BRZ, that top-down life. The BRZ might have more power and more room, but a convertible is hard to beat. 

2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata
2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata | Sjoerd van der Wal/Getty Images)

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The 2022 Subaru BRZ vs the 2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata: Price

Here’s what the whole thing comes down to, right? Money. The 2020 Miata has the advantage of possibly getting a used one for slightly less money, but the new Miata will starts around $27,525. The 2021 Miata is going to start around the same at $28,000. Although Subaru hasn’t announced prices yet, Car and Driver estimates that the BRZ will start around $31,000. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, knowing the updates and increased power over the Miata. 

And the winner is…

Everyone! Both cars are great and exciting sets of wheels that promise to make drivers smile with regularity. Miatas have been a leading enthusiast car forever. They will always hold their place in the motoring psyche. That being said, the 2022 Subaru BRZ, with its extra room, added power, and sharp handling, is probably the more useable of the two cars for everyday life.