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Two of the most unlikely names in the auto industry find themselves at the top of the sports car segment. When you think of sports cars, what typically comes to mind? If you answer with the Chevy Camaro, Ford Mustang, or Mazda Miata, you’d be on the right track, but two different models top the list. The Subaru BRZ and Toyota GR86 are two of the highest-rated sports cars in the segment right now.

Where do the Toyota and Subaru sports cars rank?

Although various publications offer different rankings and opinions, one has the Toyota GR86 and Subaru BRZ at the top of the list of seven sports cars. According to U.S. News, these small, foreign roadsters are the highest-rated cars in this class. It’s fitting these two models rank close together at the top of the list. The BRZ and GR86 share a platform, making them remarkably similar.

What did Subaru get right with the BRZ?

The Subaru BRZ is the top-rated sports car in its class for 2023. This car is an excellent choice with a peppy, flat four-cylinder engine, an impressive manual transmission, and a lightweight build that makes this car fast, fun, and active on any road. The BRZ is the only Subaru without standard AWD, which makes it fun to toss about or drift on any track. The interior is attractive, offering excellent materials and electronics.

BRZ pros

  • Agile handling
  • Lively acceleration
  • Comfortable front seats
  • Intuitive tech features

BRZ cons

  • Tight rear seats

What does Toyota get right with the GR86?

The Toyota GR86 falls in line directly behind the BRZ as a very good sports car. The driving dynamics are incredible, with razor-sharp handling and unmatched responsiveness in this segment. The GR86 isn’t a muscle car, but it has ample power for serious fun on the roads. You’ll love tossing this car through the curves while your passenger screams with delight.

GR86 pros

  • Dialed-in handling
  • Punchy acceleration
  • Straightforward features and controls

GR86 cons

  • Tight rear seat

Toyota and Subaru might not be at the top for long

Some might be surprised that U.S. News has these two small roadsters at the top of the sports cars list, while others already know what the Subaru BRZ and Toyota GR86 bring to the table. Of course, some of the other names that could easily sit atop this list are the Chevrolet Camaro, Ford Mustang, Dodge Challenger, Nissan Z, and Mazda MX-5 Miata. In fact, the Miata has been at the top of this list many times and might not be there now only because of the current generation’s age.

Are these seven sports cars really in competition with each other? The smaller models wearing Japanese brand names have fewer powertrain options and much smaller engines. Meanwhile, the American models offer several engine options, with a strong V8 at the top of each model’s lineup.

Which sports car will top U.S. News’ list next year? Could it be one of these seven names or a new model ready to enter the market in 2024? As a wildcard, could this list be dominated by EVs in the future?