The Miata turns twenty this year, and from the looks of its cartoonish face, it’s never been happier. The front fascia’s wide-eyed smile isn’t the only smirk you’ll be seeing, though, as the diminutive roadster has been tweaked to deliver even more fun behind the wheel.
Manual-transmission Miatas (and why would you even bother with the optional six-speed automatic?) receive a revised version of the 2.0-liter four that makes one additional horsepower. Yep, a single Mr. Ed’s worth. But it’s the power delivery that’s so much more fun: redline is up 500 rpm to 7200, and the sixteen-valver now pulls hard all the way to its 7500-rpm fuel cutoff. Upgraded synchros make the Miata’s short-throw, snick-snick shifter even snick-snickier, and a new resonance tube pipes intake noise straight into the cabin. Long story short? It’s more enjoyable than ever to keep your right foot buried in the Miata’s carpet.
Several interior upgrades complement the Miata’s exterior and powertrain changes, including recontoured seats, new padded armrests, and improved cabin storage. Touring models now feature an automatically dimming rearview mirror with Homelink and a trip computer, and all Miatas now have an audio auxiliary jack and six speakers, up from four. As before, you can choose a simple, manual soft top or a power-retractable hard top.
Twenty years into our romance with the little Mazda, few automotive pleasures remain greater than dancing with a Miata – on the back roads, the high road, or just stuck in traffic. And the standard-equipment smile is now wider than ever.
On Sale: Now
Price: $22,420/$29,170 (base/as tested)
Engine: 2.0L I-4, 158/167 hp, 140 lb-ft