2022 Toyota GR86 vs Mazda Miata MX-5 ND2: The Battle of the Non Turbo Lightweight RWD Sports Cars

authorBy Shreya

Two of the most affordable sports cars, the GR86 and MX-5 ND2, are frequently compared to FWD track guns like the Civic Type R, Golf GTI, and Veloster N because of their similar price range.

Despite being ranked in the top, these two have a niche customer base and are not their respective manufacturers’ flagship models.

Overview:

Trims
GR86
Miata ND2
Drive
RWD
RWD
Price (USD)
28,725
27,650
Engine
2.4 liter Boxer 4
2.0 liter Inline 4
Power (hp)
228
181
Torque (lb-ft)
184
151
0-60 mph (s)
5.4
5.7
Weight (lbs)
2,811
2,332
Seating capacity
2+2
2
Cargo volume
6.3 Cubic Feet
4.59 Cubic Feet

Performance and Handling: TheGR86 Wins!

Both vehicles are extremely agile and take corners with vigor. Despite having Bilstein Dampers, the Miata has a softer suspension setup, resulting in slightly more body roll than the GR86. Regardless, it grips the tarmac well and the body roll has little effect on cornering performance.

The GR86 outperforms the Miata in terms of power and torque. As a result, it's a foregone conclusion that it will outperform the Miata on the straights. The GR86 also has performance-tuned suspension, better brakes, and better tires, outperforming the Miata in corners as well. In comparison to the Miata's old-school charm, GR86 exudes a modern-day sportscar vibe.

  • The GR86's steering feedback is marginally better than the Miata's, and it has more precision during cornering.
  • The suspension on the GR86 is designed for performance and minimizes body roll, allowing it to corner harder.
  • Both vehicles have short shifting gearboxes that work extremely well, but the GR86 edges the Miata slightly in this regard as well.
  • The chassis dynamics of both vehicles are excellent.
  • Both vehicles are equipped with a 6-speed automatic transmission.
  • Both vehicles come standard with a limited slip differential.

Quick take: The Miata is more at home on the backroads than on the track while the GR86 is track focused and has good on-road comfort for your daily driving needs.

Infotainment and Connectivity: It’s a tie!

  • The Miata has a 7 inch screen, a 9 speaker Bose Audio system available on the higher trims, standard Apple CarPlay (wireless on higher trims) and Android Auto, Bluetooth and available in-built navigation.
  • The GR86 gets a bigger 8 inch touchscreen, a 7 inch digital display, a 6 speaker system on lower and 8 speaker system on the higher trim, standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (both wired), Bluetooth but no navigation even as an option.

Both vehicles come with 2 USB ports in the front and a 3 month trial subscription of SiriusXM Radio. However, the GR86 gets the Platinum plan.

Cabin Space and Interior Decor: The GR86 wins!

  • Even though it seems as if the Miata has more space to offer, the GR86 feels more airy. Both the cars can fit tall drivers and also have enough headroom for you to wear a helmet. However, the GR86 has a bigger boot and 2 barely usable jump seats in the rear.
  • Both vehicles have a decent interior with the obvious cost cutting but the Miata’s interior design is far superior to the GR86's.
  • Although the Miata's materials are of higher quality, the GR86's luxury trim includes Alcantara and leather, resulting in a tie in terms of interior design.
  • The Climate Control Setup on the GR86 is likewise more appealing and modern, with piano type switches and small screens integrated into the AirCon control dials.

When it comes to both interior room and design, the GR86 comes out on top.

Driver Aides and Safety Features: The GR86 Wins!

Both come with basic driver aides such as Auto Headlamps, Blind Spot Monitoring, Smart Braking and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.

However, the Automatic GR86 comes with Toyota’s Active Safety Suite which includes Pre Collision Braking and Throttle Management, Adaptive Cruise, Lead Vehicle Start Alert and Lane Departure with Sway Warning.

The Mazda received a 4 star rating by EURO NCAP and has 4 airbags while the GR86 has 7 airbags as standard. Although it hasn't been crash tested, the previous generation's 4 star crash rating demonstrates that Toyota is serious about safety.

Exterior: It’s a tie!

The Miata looks very much like an old British Sportscar. With the long hood, short trunk, curved side body and the seats nearly placed over the rear tire, it exhibits elegance with its retro inspired styling. Some people may find the wheels small and the rear fascia a bit out of place in comparison to the styling of the vehicle.

The GR86 has a lot of sporty elements such as vents in the front bumper and on the sides, the duckbill spoiler and the gloss black 18 inch (17 inch on the base) multi-spoke alloys. The design is much cleaner than the one on the last generation and is quite appealing to the eyes.

The rear fascia unlike the Miata goes well with the entire design language and is one of the better looking ones when compared to other cars. Overall, the design of the GR86 portrays what it is about - a lightweight sports car with a lovable appearance - a trait reminiscent of the first generation MX-5 Miata with the pop up headlamps.

It all depends on whether the buyer prefers a retro-inspired design or something more aggressively fashioned like a modern sports car.

First Impressions and Feedback

Miata has good remarks from Folks. Many people have recognized the much-needed increase in power, which has resulted in more individuals purchasing this vehicle. Customers who have been devoted to the Miata brand have stepped into the latest generation upgraded Miata without hesitation.

The newly launched Toyota Sports Car hasn’t received any customer feedback for now. The comparable BRZ, on the other hand, has earned a lot of praise in terms of driver participation and driving characteristics.

However, it's too early to predict how well the car will be received in the North American market. All we can say is that this vehicle has gotten a lot of great press from auto journalists and may follow suit with customers.

Looking to purchase a GR86 or a Miata?

Check Toyota GR86 deals and current Mazda special offers and incentives here.