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Mazda MX-5 Miata

A new face for one of our favorite sports cars.

The Guinness Book of Records recognizes the Mazda MX-5 Miata as the world’s best-selling roadster, and it’s one of our favorite sports cars ever. The Miata is best enjoyed with a manual transmission bolted to its 2.0-liter four-cylinder. The engine produces only 167 hp, but it’s the way the power is delivered that makes the MX-5 so much fun: the sixteen-valver pulls hard all the way to its 7500-rpm fuel cutoff, with great induction noise piped directly into the cabin. The optional automatic transmission doesn’t kill the fun too severely, but it drops power to 158 hp and reduces the redline from 7200 rpm to a more pedestrian 6700 rpm. All-around independent suspension, disc brakes, and a finely tuned chassis further contribute to a pure and exhilarating driving experience. Even for nonenthusiasts, the MX-5 is one of the best cheap roadsters on the market. It offers a well-designed cabin made of high-quality materials, a small but usable trunk, and a soft top that you can flip up or down without getting out of the driver’s seat. In addition, an optional power retractable hardtop that can be raised or lowered in twelve seconds makes the MX-5 a livable companion in foul-weather states. Changes this year include a mild refresh and an equipment reshuffle. Expect an all-new MX-5 to debut in a year or two.

COMPETITORS

Audi TT

Fiat 500C

Mini Roadster

Volkswagen Eos

new for 2013

All models adopt a restyled front fascia and dark steering-wheel spokes. The leather seats and the soft top can now be finished in tan, and three new colors join the roster: sparkling black, dolphin gray, crystal white pearl. A new Club trim level replaces Touring and features seventeen-inch gunmetal wheels; black mirrors, roof, and headlight bezels; special “Club” decals; a new front air dam; red stitching on cloth seats; and a standard suspension package. Sport models gain foglights and chrome headlight surrounds, and Grand Touring versions score new wheels, chrome headlight surrounds, and a new shift knob.

SAFETY EQUIPMENT

ABS, traction and stability control, front and side air bags, and a tire-pressure monitoring system are standard.

MPG

CITY 21–22

HWY 28

PRO

Pure sports car bliss

Simple and straightforward

Well crafted

CON

Small trunk space

Modest power

Base Price Range: $24,000–$31,000 (est.)

SPECIFICATIONS

DRIVE: Rear-wheel

TRIM LEVELS: Sport, Club, Grand Touring

BODY STYLE: Convertible, 2-passenger

ENGINE: 2.0L I-4, 158/167 hp, 140 lb-ft

TRANSMISSIONS: 5- or 6-speed manual, 6-speed automatic

PASSENGER VOLUME: N/A

CARGO SPACE: 5.3 cu ft

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