With lockdown easing and the sun shining, you’re spoilt for choice for cheap roadsters to enjoy the rest of the summer. The Mk2 Mazda MX-5 NB and Mk3 Toyota MR2 represent fantastic bang for buck modern classic sports cars, but which is best? Phil and Paul decided to find out!

Originally bought to run as project cars in Classics Monthly and Retro Cars magazine, both custard cars never saw the life they were intended to. The decision was made to ship them over to our friends on Fast Car magazine to run as two build off projects at Kelsey Media’s performance events in 2020. Now, for fairly obvious reasons, that didn’t materialise.

Now that both cars are comfortably in the modern classic category, and both fought for market share during the late nineties and early noughties, it seems like an appropriate decision to pitch the two together, today, in 2020, to see which one is best.

The Mazda MX-5 NB brought about a tougher safety focus over the Mk1 or NA car (check out our Mk1 MX-5 buyer’s guide), but this, the 1.6, has never sat well with Group Editor Paul Wager, who actually bought the California special edition car at auction last year on behalf of Classics Monthly.

The Mk3 MR2 (check out our Mk3 MR2 buyer’s guide) on the other hand has lived a difficult life, having suffered from engine issues early on. Now those issues have been ironed out, can the underrated MR2 live with the roadster favourite? Time to find out.