It’s a question that’s been asked repeatedly in the past, but with the two models now gaining a few updates (and a folding targa top in the case of the MX-5 RF), we need to see if anything has changed since the last time those two got together.
Both the Toyota 86 and the Mazda MX-5 RF have been highly praised for their handling and fun-to-drive characters, deeming them one of the purest expressions of a sports car, especially when you consider their price tags.
The latest addition in the Mazda MX-5’s range is of course the RF, a folding targa-top version of the popular roadster. Adding a complicated automated mechanism on a Miata sounds counter-intuitive but Mazda has also fiddled with the suspension as well, so this might be the most rewarding model to drive yet.
As for Toyota, the latest version of the 86 comes with subtle visual tweaks and 5 extra hp from its 2.0-litre flat-four engine. Most importantly though, they shortened the gear ratios in order to liven things up a bit once you’re on the move, trying to respond to criticisms claiming that the modern incarnation of the AE86 needs more power.
Motor Trend pits the two together in their latest episode of Ignition and the winner is probably the closest call we’ve ever seen.