After six years of faithful service, I'm looking to retire my Suzuki S-Cross in favour of something a little more sporty. I really like the Ford Mustang but my budget won't stretch to the GT and I'm also considering the Toyota 86 or Subaru BRZ but what's the difference!? It also has to be manual. Please help.
Lisa, Northcote Victoria
That’s quite a change Lisa! Whether you’re looking at the Mustang because you love its looks or for its powerful engine and involving drive, the good news is that both variants are worth considering. If you can’t stretch to the V8-powered GT then the EcoBoost is an option. With only half the cylinders, it doesn’t sound as good as the V8 but it has a 2.3-litre turbocharged engine that produces a respectable 224kW and is only a little slower than the very fast GT. Advantages however, include lower fuel consumption and better front end handling thanks to the reduced engine weight. It’s worth a test drive if you can live without the GT badge.
Even more affordable are the Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ coupes. Both offer a serious amount of fun for your cash. You’re not alone in finding it hard to identify the differences as the cars were developed in unison and are largely identical – especially mechanically. A few exterior details set the pair apart visually. Small suspension differences impart subtly different dynamic qualities, but really it’s a matter of taste rather than any real performance advantage. At the time of launch, both models were in high demand and waiting lists were extensive but, while both are still popular, there is little to no wait now.
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The Mustang EcoBoost is easy to recommend but you might go a little green every time you line up next to a GT at the lights so it’s down to the smaller Japanese sports coupes. Toyota sold about four 86s for every BRZ so if it were our money we would go for the Subaru with the added exclusivity certainly worth the extra $2000 starting price.
WhichCar Recommends: Subaru BRZ
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