The BRZ and GR86 have been named to Car and Driver's 10 Best Cars for 2023 list.

Inflation is a fact of life, and cars are central to the phenomenon. Besides the obvious boost in prices, we see it in performance and capability too. Remember when 228 horsepower was a big deal, the stuff of V-8 Mustangs and Porsche 911s? Now 600 horsepower almost seems normal, and with it comes a spiral of more: more weight, more money, more digital nannies to keep it all on the road. That’s why the Subaru BRZ and Toyota GR86 are so refreshing. These cars are built not for bragging rights but to entertain the human behind the wheel. They embrace the concept of enough, drawing attention to the space left unfilled by extra pounds and a daunting monthly payment. They’re utterly wonderful.

And, we might add, it’s not like we’re talking about slow cars that won us over with their styling or great handling (although they did that too). The Subaru-based naturally aspirated 2.4-liter flat-four is gloriously rev-happy, making its 228 horsepower at 7000 rpm but still offering a chunky 184 pound-feet of torque at 3700 rpm. Pitted against a mere 2843 pounds of weight in the Subaru BRZ Limited, that’s enough oomph to deliver a 5.4-second run to 60 mph and a 13.9-second quarter-mile at 101 mph. With rear-wheel drive, a standard six-speed manual transmission, and a limited-slip differential, the BRZ and GR86 have all the right ingredients for a rollicking good time. And they deliver with a delightfully direct shifter and a chassis that you can steer with the throttle and brakes as well as the steering wheel. They are basically Porsche Cayman S performance models circa 2007 but for about half the price and with tiny but usable back seats.

They look the part too. The GR86, with its Toyota badges, is sometimes mistaken for a Supra, especially when it’s painted bright Neptune blue. The Toyota and Subaru twins eschew big wings and splashy graphics for a purposeful, tightly wrapped rear-drive aesthetic. They look fast but respectable, which can be a tough trick to execute, especially for a small sports car.

Yes, the interior is a little basic, with decidedly eight-bit graphics for the instrument cluster and center touchscreen. And of course, we daydream about the antics that might ensue with the arrival of a turbocharger and, say, 300 horsepower.

But a fancier interior might raise the base price, which stubbornly remains below $30,000. And more power would mean a beefier drivetrain, bigger wheels and tires, and additional weight. All of those things lead away from the reasons these cars are so great—they’re light, sharp, unfiltered, and inexpensive. Long may they remain so. We don’t need anything more.