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The FR-S/BRZ Problem - 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Convertible Long-Term Road Test

Edmunds.comEdmunds.com Posts: 10,112
edited March 2016 in Mazda
imageThe FR-S/BRZ Problem - 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Convertible Long-Term Road Test

We certainly enjoy our long-term 2016 Mazda Miata, but how does it stack up against the Subaru BRZ and its twin brother, the Scion FR-S?

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Comments

  • legacygtlegacygt Posts: 599
    I guess you can say they do the same thing but in different ways. But that's the perspective of someone who gets to drive them back-to-back on consecutive days. From a more reasonable perspective, these cars serve the same purpose. They have 95% in common when it comes to the real world experience. They are both cars to have fun in. They are both cars that ask you to leave the kids at home (yes, even with the back seat in the Subaru/Scion). Neither is going to fit much cargo.
    I'm glad that they're both around. It's great for the car market although I'm not sure it's good for business. The market that Mazda had to itself for about a decade is now being split up 2 or 3 ways.
  • subatomicsubatomic Posts: 140
    edited March 2016
    These are both great, sharp handling sports cars. A true enthusiast (on a budget) would do well with either one. My vote would go for the BRZ because it's more practical (larger trunk and small backseat which folds down). Ultimately both cars are rather small for my taste. If I could purchase any sports car for $40K or less, I would get a "modestly" optioned Mustang GT with the PP. If I were looking for a reasonably fun, roomy, practical sports coupe priced in the mid to upper 20s, I might also consider an Accord EX Coupe 2.4L with the 6-speed manual....not a true sports car, but a good FWD chassis, comfortable interior w/ backseat for real humans and a good size trunk. Its personality and performance could be changed/improved with mods. Just thinking out loud....
  • daryleasondaryleason TexasPosts: 501
    @tlangness : I think the most telling comments about your comparison has to do the frequent mentions of modifying the BRZ/FR-S to get it where you want it. You don't really mention modding the Miata, so it seems you'd leave it pretty much stock. That alone should tell you which vehicle is the "winner" in a straight comparison. If you have to modify one to get it where you want it, it's no longer a straight comparison. I myself like both (all three?) of them and wouldn't mind having one of each. But the wife, son, bills, etc. means it's just a dream, since they aren't practical for my lifestyle.

    Now, I've noticed that Miatas seem to be a love 'em or hate 'em sort of deal. I think this is because when Mazda first introduced the Miata, and for many years afterwards, their marketing tended to gear it towards women (even Mazda has admitted that). I think it caused a lot of guys to be turned away from the Miata because it wasn't a "man" car at the time. Small, two-seat, small power-plant, "cute", etc. VW had this issue with the New Beetle, which is why they did the redesign to butch it up. As far as advertising, I can't believe Mazda missed the opportunity to create an ad campaign that said "Miata have one for my own".
  • throwbackthrowback Posts: 445
    I'm a sucker for convertibles so Miata for me.
  • boffboff Posts: 91
    Now: BRZ. Once my daughter moves out: Miata.
  • ProfRobBobProfRobBob FloridaPosts: 8
    I just purchased a 2016 White Miata Club edition with the BBS wheels:D
  • notfastnotfast Posts: 89
    Scion, but I live in the Midwest and never really enjoyed the few convertibles I owned - either too cold or too hot/humid.
  • ebeaudoinebeaudoin NE IllinoisPosts: 509
    Miata, even though I don't really fit in them. I have very limited experience with both cars and your assessment is spot-on- the BRZ/FR-S twins feel heavy. Not massive, just... Heavy. The Miata feels so nimble and lightweight.

    I have less than 20 miles experience in both, but I would pick the Miata. Except I don't really fit in it...
  • Easy call for me. I wanted a light weight rear wheel drive convertible with fantastic manual transmission. So I bought the Miata. The BRZ wasn't even a consideration.

    As for best car for a road trip? You buy these things for fun road trips. Had a blast driving up Pacific Coast Hwy to San Fran from LA. Top down. Do that in a coupe like a BRZ? Fun, but not as fun. Drive through the wine country w/ the top down? Awesome! Drive it with a hard top? Not as fun.
  • emajoremajor Posts: 332
    Travis & commenters, what is your take on the powertrain differences? Not outright acceleration--they're basically a tie--but in feel, refinement, power delivery, and transmission? I've never driven it but I've heard the Boxer 2.0 in the Toyobarus is a bit odd and inconsistent in its delivery, and I get the impression the Miata has a better shift linkage.
  • Ok, now that the miata is running the same 1/4 mile as late 90's mustang gt's can we stop with the " not a great straight line car" stuff. I far prefer the FR-S as it's more unique thanks to the boxer, gotta love that rumble, and comes better equipped standard( LSD, less b.s. infotainment, etc). not to mention a better aftermarket selection which is extremely important to me, a stock exhaust is a sad exhaust. Now before y'all jump on me for hating the mx5 I have always adored and respected the miata and am currently hunting for a decent NA....
  • vince_nhvince_nh Posts: 9
    I chose the Miata. Mostly because the top goes down, but I also prefer its driving position, gearbox, more gradual turn-in, and power delivery.

    It's not my only car, though, so the practicality tradeoffs aren't an issue.
  • waygrabowwaygrabow Posts: 214
    My wife and I recently grabbed our check book and headed out to drive the Miata and FR-S back to back, planning to buy one of them. Both are nice cars, and I can see making either choice. I felt vulnerable driving the Miata. We were driving in Denver traffic; I wondered if those big SUVs around me might not fail to see us. I felt like I was sitting in a hole; the vehicles around me blocked my view. The FR-S had the most stiff, uncompromising suspension I can remember. Even the car salesman admitted that his son had an FR-S, and he didn't like riding in it for more than one hour at a time. Bottom line, both are cute and fun in their own way, but we decided that neither one would get driven enough to justify their purchase.
  • tlangnesstlangness Posts: 123
    emajor said:

    Travis & commenters, what is your take on the powertrain differences? Not outright acceleration--they're basically a tie--but in feel, refinement, power delivery, and transmission? I've never driven it but I've heard the Boxer 2.0 in the Toyobarus is a bit odd and inconsistent in its delivery, and I get the impression the Miata has a better shift linkage.

    Powertrain in the Miata has more immediate and direct delivery. It helps the car feel light on its feet. The 2.0 boxer engine is good, but as I said, I'd prefer to modify it. Take that with a grain of salt though, because I love modifying pretty much anything in this power range.
  • sonny28sonny28 Plano, TexasPosts: 65
    edited March 2016
    I'd purchase one of the 86 twins. The Miata is more of a single purpose car, and I have kids, so I really need those back seats to make it work. If I truly need single purpose, then that's what I have a sport bike for. I've owned and tracked an FR-S for a while, and I've also done the same with a previous generation "NC" Miata. I haven't driven the latest iteration, but I doubt I'd consider it again because the 86 twins bring a lot more to the table, especially if you're looking for a do-it-all sports car. Honestly, the 86 loses very little compared the Miata, IMHO - unless you really desire a drop-top, then that would truly be the main reason, otherwise the Miata is more of a compromise as a complete car to actually use daily if you have a family life.
    '14 Honda CBR600RR
    '15 Honda Rebel
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