Toyota 86 Vs Mazda MX-5 Miata RF

By Justin Cupler | March 21st, 2019

The term “sports car” can mean many things, and the 2019 Toyota 86 and 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF are their own blend of sports cars. Instead of power, they focus on weight and handling. Which one is better for you, our Waukegan area sports car shopper? Find out below.


On the outside, the 2019 Toyota 86 and the 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF are sharp vehicles, but they cater to different crowds. The 2019 Toyota 86 boasts a retro-inspired look with its long hood, cab-rearward format, and stubby back end. This appearance caters to a crowd that looks fondly upon classic sports cars and craves for a simpler vehicle.

The 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF features a more modern look with tons of angle, swoops, and direction changes that draw in loads of eyeballs. This design, while sharp, may turn off buyers who prefer simpler appearances, as it may be overly complex for many. That said, the ability to press a button and open the center section of the retractable roof is an added benefit of opting for the Miata.

In terms of size, the Miata gives a master class in lightweight engineering with its tiny footprint and up to 323-pound weight advantage. It’s not that the Toyota 86 is a pig — it simply cannot compete with the super-light MX-5.


Measurement 2019 Toyota 86 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF Difference
Length 166.7 inches 154.1 inches +12.6 inches
Width 69.9 inches 68.3 inches +1.6 inches
Height 50.6 inches 49 inches +1.6 inches
Wheelbase 101.2 inches 90.9 inches +10.3 inches
Ground Clearance 4.9 inches
Curb weight 2,776 – 2,817 pounds 2,453 – 2,892 pounds +323 to -75 pounds


Advantage: 2019 Toyota 86

  • Classic design language
  • Sharp TRD Special Edition model

Advantage: 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF

  • Small, easy-to-handle footprint
  • Lower curb weight
  • Modern design
  • Drop the top and enjoy the sunshine


Inside, these sports cars show off dramatically different interiors. The 2019 Toyota 86 boasts a simple cabin with a clean dash, sueded inserts, hidden “86” Easter eggs, a simple infotainment system, sporty seats, and toggle-switch-style HVAC controls.

The 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF, however, has a more modern cabin with a shaplier dash, a “floating” infotainment screen, a nine-speaker audio system, and more. Plus, in its Grand Touring trim, its level of luxury hits a level the 2019 Toyota 86 cannot touch with supple Nappa leather and all the safety gadgets you need to stay safe on the road.

Measurement 2019 Toyota 86 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF Difference
Front headroom 37.1 inches 36.8 inches +0.3 inches
Front legroom 41.9 inches 43.1 inches -1.2 inches
Front shoulder room 54.5 inches 52.2 inches +2.3 inches
Front hip room 53.1 inches 52 inches +1.1 inches
Rear headroom 35 inches
Rear legroom 29.9 inches
Rear shoulder room 51.7 inches
Rear hip room 45.3 inches
Luggage capacity 6.9 cubic feet 4.48 cubic feet +2.42 cubic feet


Advantage: 2019 Toyota 86

  • Roomier seating
  • Room for four, in a pinch
  • Larger trunk
  • Retro design with simple features

Advantage: 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF

  • Modern design
  • Latest features
  • More front-seat legroom


Performance is key in this segment, and the Toyota 86 and Mazda MX-5 Miata RF are throwbacks to simpler eras before turbochargers and big power. They both use 2.0-liter four-cylinder engines and focus on lower curb weight to develop all their fun-to-drive traits.

The 2019 Toyota 86’s boxer-four engine cranks out 205 horsepower and zips it to 60 mph in 6.2 seconds. This power routes through a precision six-speed manual transmission or a sport-tuned six-speed automatic eager to downshift as needed.


The Miata RF uses a traditional inline-four engine that cranks out 181 horsepower. Though its output is lower, the Miata’s lower curb weight gives it a 0.2-second-faster 0-to-60 time.  Plus, the Miata’s Skyactiv engine and lower curb weight help it deliver significantly better fuel economy.

In the corners, the Miata RF and Toyota 86 are equally fun. The 86, however, allows its back end to come loose quicker, adding to the on-track excitement.


2019 Toyota 86 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF [Difference]
Engine 2.0-liter boxer-4 2.0-liter 4-cyl
Horsepower 205 hp at 7,000 rpm 181 hp at 7,000 rpm +24 hp
Torque 156 lb-ft at 6,400 rpm 151 lb-ft at 4,000 rpm +5 lb-ft
Standard transmission 6-speed manual 6-speed manual
Optional transmission 6-speed automatic 6-speed automatic
0-60 time 6.2 seconds 6 seconds +0.2 seconds
MPG City 21 – 24 26 -5 to -2
MPG Highway 28 – 32 34 – 35 -7 to -2
MPG Combined 24 – 27 29 – 30 -6 to -2


Advantage: 2019 Toyota 86

  • More power
  • Freer back end
  • Less safety nannies keeping you in check

Advantage: 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF

  • Quicker to 60 mph
  • Big fuel economy advantage

Pricing and Features

The 2019 Toyota 86 comes in three flavors: Base, GT, and TRD Special Edition. Their starting prices range from $26,505 to $32,470.


The 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF is available in two main trims — Club and Grand Touring — but it also has a 30th Anniversary Edition available. The 2019 Miata RF’s starting prices range from $32,345 to $37,595.

2019 Toyota 86 Key Features and Pricing by Trim

Base: $26,505

  • 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine
  • Six-speed manual transmission
  • 17-inch twisted-spoke alloy wheels
  • Sport-calibrated electric power steering
  • Four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes
  • LED projector low- and high-beam headlights
  • LED daytime running lights
  • LED rear taillights
  • Body-color power mirrors
  • Variable-intermittent wipers
  • Dual chrome-tipped exhaust system
  • Auto-dimming rearview mirror
  • Air conditioning
  • Power windows with one-touch-down
  • Power door locks
  • Keyless entry
  • Anti-theft system
  • Multi-information display
  • Digital clock
  • Analog and digital speedometer
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel
  • Cruise control
  • Sport bucket seats
  • Height-adjustable driver’s seat
  • Knee pads
  • Suede-like door and armrests
  • Folding rear seat
  • Display Audio with eight speakers
  • 7-inch touchscreen
  • AM/FM/HD Radio audio system with Aha radio
  • USB 2.0 port
  • Mirror-integrated rearview camera


GT: 28,635

  • All base features, plus
  • Matte-black rear wing with body-color caps
  • LED fog lights
  • Heated mirrors
  • Aerodynamic underbody panel
  • Dual-zone automatic climate control
  • Smart Key System with keyless ignition
  • 4.2-inch multi-information display
  • Leather-wrapped parking brake with silver stitching
  • Leather gear shift boot with silver stitching
  • Heated front seats
  • Leather-bolstered front seats with suede-like inserts
  • Leather-like knee pad
  • Suede-like material in instrument hood


TRD Special Edition: $32,470

  • All GT features, plus
  • Brembo brakes
  • SACHS performance dampers
  • 18-inch split-spoke alloy wheels
  • Color-keyed rear spoiler
  • TRD underbody spoilers
  • TRD performance exhaust
  • TRD tricolor side decal
  • Red and black leather-trimmed steering wheel
  • Red contrast stitching on parking brake cover and shikfter boot
  • Red and black sport front bucket seats with side bolsters
  • Red seatbelts

2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF Key Features and Pricing by Trim

Club: $32,345

  • 2.0-liter four-cylinder
  • Six-speed manual transmission
  • Four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes
  • Induction sound enhancer
  • Sport-tuned Bilstein dampers
  • Electric power steering
  • 17-inch metallic black aluminum wheels
  • Body-color door handles
  • Dual exhaust outlets
  • Piano-black power side-view mirrors
  • Black front and rear spoilers
  • LED daytime running lights
  • LED headlights
  • LED taillights
  • Power retractable fastback roof
  • Variable-intermittent wipers
  • Three-spoke leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Leather-wrapped shifter knob
  • Leather-wrapped parking brake handle
  • Manual air conditioning
  • Bluetooth
  • Black cloth seating with red stitching
  • Nine-speaker Bose audio system with seat headrest speakers
  • HD Radio
  • SiriusXM
  • Aha, Pandora, and Stitcher internet radio
  • Mazda Connect infotainment system with 7-inch color touchscreen
  • 46-inch multi-information display
  • Cruise control
  • Keyless entry and ignition
  • Heated seats
  • Power door locks
  • Power windows with one-touch-down
  • Steering-wheel-mounted controls
  • Tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel
  • Two USB audio ports
  • 12-volt power outlet
  • Rearview camera
  • Blind-spot monitoring
  • Rear cross-traffic alert


Grand Touring: $33,335

  • All Club features, plus
  • 17-inch dark-silver alloy wheels
  • Auto-on/off headlights
  • Auto-dimming driver’s mirror
  • Body-color, heated mirrors
  • Variable-intermittent wipers
  • Automatic climate control
  • Auto-dimming rearview mirrors with universal garage door opener
  • Navigation
  • Adaptive front lighting
  • Automatic high-beam headlights
  • Lane-departure warning
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Traffic sign recognition


30th Anniversary: $37,595

  • All Grand Touring features, plus
  • Brembo front brakes
  • Orange-painted calipers
  • Shock-tower brace
  • Sport-tuned suspension
  • Rays 17-inch dark-gunmetal wheels
  • 30th Anniversary badges
  • Alcantara door panel with bright handles
  • Alcantara Recaro sport seats
  • Android Auto
  • Apple CarPlay
  • SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link

Who Should Buy the 2019 Toyota 86?

Want fun and room for the fam? Only the Toyota 86 offers that. Plus, buyers looking for something more retro, the Toyota 86 offers that in gobs.

Who Should Buy the 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF?

Want to drive sans top but don’t want to commit to the full roadster? The Miata RF is the perfect ride for you. It is also great for a buyer who wants a small sports cars that still offers all the most modern bells and whistles.


Ready to tackle the roads of Waukegan in the sporty 2019 Toyota 86? Head down to our showroom serving the McHenry and Crystal Lake areas today to take this sports car for a cruise around town. Can’t make it to Garber Fox Lake Toyota serving Waukegan today for a test drive? You can navigate to our online inventory to find the 2019 Toyota 86 you like and schedule a test drive for later.


** MSRP excludes the Delivery, Processing, and Handling Fee of $930 for Cars (Yaris LB, Yaris Sedan, 86, Corolla, Corolla HB, Camry, Camry HV, Prius LB, Prius c, Prius Prime, Mirai, Avalon, Avalon HV, GR Supra), $1,095 for Small/Medium Trucks, SUVs and Van (C-HR, RAV4, RAV4 HV, Highlander, Highlander HV, 4Runner, Sienna, Tacoma), $1,295 for Large SUVs (Sequoia, Land Cruiser), and $1,495 for Large Truck (Tundra). (Historically, vehicle manufacturers and distributors have charged a separate fee for processing, handling and delivering vehicles to dealerships. Toyota’s charge for these services is called the “Delivery, Processing and Handling Fee” and is based on the value of the processing, handling and delivery services Toyota provides as well as Toyota’s overall pricing structure. Toyota may make a profit on the Delivery, Processing and Handling Fee.) Excludes taxes, license, title and available or regionally required equipment. The Delivery, Processing and Handling Fee in AL, AR, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC, OK, SC and TX will be higher. The published prices do not apply to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Actual dealer price will vary.

*** 2019 EPA-estimated mileage.  Actual mileage will vary.