Fun to the four
Sports cars come in all shapes these days and none of those we compare here will send you broke
most noise, even though the BRZ is the car I’d choose for its nicer styling, better suspension,and the full-sized spare that Toyota is about to remove from the tail of the 86.
It’s crazy that the smallest and oldest of the comparo crew, the MX-5 Roadster Coupe Sports, is also the most expensive. Not just that, but at $49,805 it also misses stuff such as Bluetooth that even bargain-basement buyers expect today.
Still, it does have a thumping Bose sound system, wonderfully supportive Recaro seats and good-looking BBS alloys and benefits from historically high resale value.
The Veloster SR Turbo is cheapest at $31,990 yet still has a seven-inch touch screen with satnav, panoramic sunroof, leather-leatherette seat trim, rear parking camera and Bluetooth with streaming.
Its turbo engine cuts service intervals to six months/ 7500km but the new cappedprice service plan means the total cost over three years to service the car is $1164. It also has Hyundai’s five-year warranty but that’s offset by the lowest resale value.
The Toyota 86 is the fully loaded GTS, with bigger brakes and wheels, satnav, auto aircon, LED running lamps and more. It has a capped-price servicing and Toyota expects a very strong resale value.
We considered the costlier Volkswagen Scirocco coupe for the comparison, but the price check went in favour of the three-door GTI pocket rocket even though it’s still over $40,000.
It comes with dual-zone air, Bluetooth and rain-sensing wipers but lacks some features that are standard in the Toyota and Hyundai.
All four cars have four-cylinder engines, ranging from the Subaru boxer in the 86 to the turbos in theVWand Hyundai.
Power is important for enjoyable driving and the turbos are naturally on top, with the GTI taking the prize with 5kW more than the Veloster, although the Korean is lightest on fuel at 6.8L/100km.
While the 86’s engine is thirsty with 7.8L/100km, and takes premium unleaded, the MX-5 actually tails on efficiency at 8.1L.
TheVWhas a double-clutch automatic and the rest are driver-first six-speed manuals, while each has all-wheel disc brakes and sports suspension settings.
The 86 has classic sports car proportions, just like the classic droptop MX-5. But the Toyota has a modern cabin and reasonable space where the Mazda is cramped and oldfashioned.
There’s nothing old-school about the Veloster, from its gaping mouth to a body with two hatchback doors on one side and a single coupe door on the other. The GTI has the right hot hatch triggers despite a cabin that’s now showing its age (the all-new Golf is just a month away).
The MX-5’s age is reflected in a four-star ANCAP safety rating. The rest get the full five.
The Veloster comes with six airbags while the Toyota and GTI add a knee airbag, but the Hyundai is the only one with a standard review-view camera in a field where rear vision often yields to fashion.
The 86 loses its spare in September for puncture-repair kit. The Mazda also has a repair kit for space reasons and the Veloster and GTI have temporary spares.
Driven on their own, each one of these cars is fun. Well, unt you try and cram the weekly groceries into the MX-5 or 86
The Mazda is sharp and responsive, even if the engine a bit dowdy by today’s standards. It’s a small car tha