Let’s give full credit where it’s due. Mazda is killing it right now. Sure they’ve been the enthusiast’s choice for a while now, but holy crap. Every inch of their range (and this is a mainstream manufacturer) oozes sex appeal.
They just dropped a rotary concept at the Tokyo Motorshow so awesome that the world could’ve been forgiven for thinking the entire show was organized just to launch the RX-Vision (just kidding, that Yamaha was wicked too). Then at SEMA they cranked out two versions of the MX5 that’s caused someone at Porsche at least one sleepless night.
I think Toyota might have had some quirky minimalist thing on display a Tokyo (and was there a new Prius?). At SEMA Scion has a stand full of bullshit. No seriously, has anyone seen that lowrider thing? And that lowrider thing, well it’s actually a rebadged Mazda to start with.
I own a Toyota GT86. It’s a great car. It has a beautiful chassis, bespoke engine, and on most days is a fantastic daily-driver. The GT86 was supposed to be the beginning of Toyota’s rebirth. It was Toyota yelling to the world that they were interesting again, and done with making dishwashers. But here’s the problem, nothing’s changed. The GT86 came out, and was kind of just dusted under a carpet. Enthusiasts yelled out for more powerful variants, pretty girls asked for convertibles, and Toyota did nothing. Mr. Toyota himself told us that his high-caffeine, full-fat diet would find its way to the rest of the range. Then someone tried to sell us a “sporty,” new Camry. No really, I think they tried telling media outlets it was now fun-to-drive. Here in the UAE, we got an ad campaign featuring superbikes, and a bright shade of red proclaiming it was “bold.”
This is exactly what’s not happening at Mazda. They understand that the MX5 is the heart & soul of their range. They then make a beautiful range of cars that’s sportier than the competition, and sell us the “genetics of a sports car” line. We buy it hook, line, and sinker. Why? Because it isn’t a load of horse manure.
I owned a first-gen Mazda 3 for five years. I got “Zoom-zoom” as lame as it sounded. Mazda makes exciting cars, that you can justifiably say carry the genes of its sports car. They’re also reinforcing their already solid position as THE maker of the entry-level sports car. Toyota on the other hand built the GT86, forgot about it, and tried to sell us lies (“We’re exciting, we promise!”).
Well Toyota the world isn’t buying it, and sadly, the biggest victim here is actually the GT86.