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The 2023 Mazda MX-5 Miata continues a history of drop-top car fun dating back to the late 1980s. However, it’s not the only diminutive sports car on the market, and the competition is impressive. That’s right; cheap, fun sports cars like the 2023 Toyota GR86 might be a better fit for your summertime drives. So, should you pass on the miniature Miata this year in favor of a Toyota sports car? 

What’s so great about Toyota’s little sports car?

The 2023 Toyota GR86 is a testament to the affordable driver’s car. It’s not the fastest sports coupe on the market, but it’s as agile and enthusiastic as a hummingbird. With a standard six-speed manual transmission, rear-wheel drive (RWD), and manageable power, the GR86 begs for push-the-limit driving. 

The 2023 Toyota GR86 shows off its sports car platform with bright orange paintwork.
2023 Toyota GR86 | Toyota

Moreover, the Toyota sports car’s 228-horsepower 2.4L flat four-cylinder engine might be a bit noisy, but it’s an eager, rev-happy powerplant. In fact, the 2023 Toyota GR86 produces 47 more ponies than a comparable Mazda MX-5 Miata. Still, despite the power deficit, Car and Driver’s testing of the GR86 Premium and MX-5 Miata Club yielded the same results: a 5.4-second sprint to 60 mph. 

The similar times boil down to the difference in weight, namely the Toyota model’s extra 500 lbs. However, even with the comparable 60 mph times, the GR86 bests the Miata in braking, roadholding, and the standing quarter mile. 

What is the cheapest Toyota sports car for 2023?

The cheapest Toyota sports car for 2023 is the GR86, which starts at around $29,495 for the base model. That puts the base GR86 on par with a 2023 Ford Mustang EcoBoost. Moreover, fans who want the Premium trim will have to add about $2,600 to the base.

The 2023 Mazda MX-5 Miata has a comparable ask to the Toyota sports car. For instance, the entry-level Sport trim starts at around $29,115, per TrueCar. However, the range-topping Grand Touring trim punches the starting point up to about $34,115. 

A white 2023 Mazda MX-5 Miata sports car shows off its convertible top.
A Mazda MX-5 Miata | Mazda

Is a soft-top or hard-top Miata better?

The 2023 Mazda MX-5 Miata has a traditional soft-top convertible and a power-retractable hard-top roof in the RF platform. The RF will be more rigid than its soft-top counterpart, but the convertible drops the entire roofline and operates in seconds. 

On the other hand, the Toyota GR86 and its sibling car, the Subaru BRZ, go without a drop-top. As a result, the Toyota sports car is more structurally sound and track-ready.

How far can a Miata go on a full tank?

The 2023 Mazda MX-5 Miata has an 11.9-gallon tank, per Edmunds. As a result, the Miata’s maximum 30 mpg combined will take the little sports car as much as 357 miles on a full tank, conditions permitting. 

That’s better fuel economy than the heavier, more powerful GR86, which gets around 25 mpg combined. 

Is Toyota GR86 worth it?

The Toyota GR86 is just as handsome and capable as the comparable Subaru BRZ. Moreover, considering the Toyota sports car model starts at less than $30,000, the manual-equipped GR86 is one of the best performance car bargains on the market. 

Moreover, if you can live without the convertible top, the GR86 is a higher-performance alternative to the Mazda MX-5 Miata. Furthermore, the Toyota model has more cargo capacity for daily driving needs, with around two extra cubic feet of storage. Still, compared to a Ford Mustang or Chevrolet Camaro, neither car is exactly a moving van. 

Which car would you take for your summertime driver? Tell us in the comments below!


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