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2017 Mazda MX-5 RF vs. Toyota GT 86 Ends in Tied Lap, Sideways Fun and a Hellcat

Picking a winner between the Mazda MX-5 RF and the updated Scion FR-S, now called the 2017 Toyota 86, proved impossible for Motor Trend editors Jason Cammisa and Jonny Lieberman. Whichever one they last drove was the best. So they somehow decided bringing a Hellcat into the mix would fix it.
2017 Mazda MX-5 RF vs. Toyota GT 86 Ends in Tied Lap, Sideways Fun and a Hellcat 7 photos
2017 Mazda MX-5 RF vs. Toyota GT 86 Ends in Tied Lap, Sideways Fun and a Hellcat2017 Mazda MX-5 RF vs. Toyota GT 86 Ends in Tied Lap, Sideways Fun and a Hellcat2017 Mazda MX-5 RF vs. Toyota GT 86 Ends in Tied Lap, Sideways Fun and a Hellcat2017 Mazda MX-5 RF vs. Toyota GT 86 Ends in Tied Lap, Sideways Fun and a Hellcat2017 Mazda MX-5 RF vs. Toyota GT 86 Ends in Tied Lap, Sideways Fun and a Hellcat2017 Mazda MX-5 RF vs. Toyota GT 86 Ends in Tied Lap, Sideways Fun and a Hellcat
The theme of this Head 2 Head is calling the car an updated BRZ, err… FR-S… err… GT-86, err…86. The Mazda is also a little bit confusing because you can't call it a Miata or a Targa, even though it is.

And that's not where the similarities end, as the two editors point out that Japanese designers had the opportunity to make the perfect sportscar, a modern-day Jaguar E-Type. Yet the updated 86 looks like a jack-o'-lantern that's been left out in the sun and the RF's roof is a mess of materials. They were probably too hard on that one.

Some serious revisions happened under the skin of both models, resulting in better handling. The MX-5's new roof adds 120 lbs, which engineers compensated for with stiffer shocks and anti-roll bars. The little roadster leans less in the corners, while Toyota coupe has its updates for the sake of a mid-life facelift. They include a stiffer back end and 5 horsepower for the manual model.

It's pointed out that minivans are faster tan these sportscars, which is true. Just check out this quarter-mile race between the 86 and the new Chrysler Pacifica. But the last laugh belongs to the super-lightweights, as they comfortably outpace the 707 horsepower monster that is the Dodge Charger Hellcat.

So even though they were designed not to cope with too many Gs and deliver steering feel instead of straight-line speed, the 86 and MX-5 RF still get the last laugh.

There's no clear winner here. The only winner is the guy who can afford to get one of these as a second car. But if you can't the 86 carries more people in more comfort and with enough room for four tires in the back.

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