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By: Brendan McAleer – Special to the Globe and Mail
Sports cars are all about compromise, exchanging practicality for lightweight fun during the summer months. But winter is here, offering dark days and caked-on snow coprolites falling from wheel wells and muddying the garage. Time to park the feisty little four-cylinder? Not hardly. Let’s have a look at which of these two little Japanese sportsters proves that sports car season is year-round.
2019 Toyota 86
Price, as tested: $33,260
Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder, 205 hp
Transmission/Drive: Six-speed manual/Rear-wheel
Fuel Economy (litres/100 km): 11.3 city/8.3 hwy
2019 Mazda MX-5 RF
Price, as tested: $49,905
Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder, 181 hp
Transmission/Drive: Six-speed manual/Rear-wheel
Fuel Economy (litres/100 km): 9.0 city/7.0 hwy
Toyota 86: Originally launched in 2012 as a Scion product, the FR-S, the 86 has only been mildly updated over the years. The latest version has the kind of serpentine face the Sorting Hat would promptly drop in Slytherin. Stick to a neutral colour like grey, black, or dark blue to soften the effect.
Everything else about the 86 is classically proportioned, with a long, low hood, and some zippy details like dual exhausts out back. 17” wheels are standard, though the top-spec TRD version offers 18”s. Stick with the smaller wheels for a more livable ride.
Mazda MX-5 RF: Grafting a fastback look to the MX-5 roadster works beautifully. A detail-oriented eye might get hung up on the blacked-out panel just aft of the doors (it’s not a window), but the rest of the RF’s silhouette is endlessly pleasing.
It's smoother than the 86, a bit less fussy, and more noticeably compact. At just 3.9M long and 1.2M high, the MX-5 diminutive sheet metal makes the RF's 17” wheels look huge. One might even think about going one size smaller for your winter rims and tires – the Roadster's base set is a 16” wheel.
Toyota 86: As you might expect for a car that began life as a Scion-Subaru project, the 86 is quite rubbery inside. Ergonomics are good, particularly the grippy, well-bolstered seats, but if you’re looking for an upscale feel, the suede panel on the dash isn’t fooling anyone. Mind you, a businesslike interior is no flaw for a sports car. Mazda MX-5 RF: Anyone moving from a previous-generation power-hardtop MX-5 into an RF will find the experience analogous to cave-diving. When Mazda hit their little two-seater with a shrink-ray, they also eliminated spaciousness. If you enjoy a cockpitlike feel, the RF’s well-appointed cabin can be described as intimate. If you’re above six feet tall, it’s best described as claustrophobic. Also, the cupholders are clearly an afterthought.
Click HERE to see the winner of the face-off
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We are a family-run, locally owned and operated dealership in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island specializing in new and used vehicle sales, and servicing all areas of the Comox Valley including Courtenay, Comox, Campbell River, Parksville, Nanaimo, Victoria and all of Vancouver Island. Call us toll-free at 1-877-458-2110 or locally at 250-338-5777.
Come visit Vancouver Island's Premier pre-owned vehicle location across from Costco and Crown Isle in Courtenay, BC. We have an exceptionally large and fully reconditioned inventory with a complete 155-point inspection on every vehicle! Hundreds more on-line to choose from. We also service all makes and models with 6 service bays, including Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Ford, Dodge, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Hyundai, Jeep, Pontiac, Subaru, Kia, VW, BMW, Mercedes and so many more. Tour our welcoming facility, meet our staff and join us for a coffee!
We are the one of the busiest pre-owned vehicle dealerships on Vancouver Island. Along with our fine line of New Mazda cars and Used Mazda vehicles, we market pre-owned import and domestic brands of quality Cars, Trucks, Vans, CUV’s and SUV’s - you name it and we will find it - and can help you get into the car or truck you need, no matter your current credit situation, without hassle or delay. Let us help you!
For more than 20 years, Courtenay Mazda has been a trusted and respected used car dealer in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island. We are dedicated to ensuring that you go far in a used car or truck, and it starts with an exclusive inventory of quality, reliable used cars and trucks, and a financing service that can provide you with guaranteed approval, help you restore your credit, and get you the best rate possible for your needs and situation.
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