What can I say about the Miata that hasn't already been said more eloquently by others? It was a dreary, cold October day when I hopped into the little Mazda, and yet, by the time I had exited the garage, the top was down, and I had a huge grin on my face. Remember that old commercial where the guy in the Artic (or wherever) climbs into his Miata to catch one moment of sunshine? For once, I can assert there's truth in advertising.
Top down and heat blasting, I cruised the highway to a photo shoot in West Bloomfield, Michigan. Unlike other cars the Miata's size, there was absolutely no skittishness to speak of, and wind noise was perfectly acceptable. As I dropped down two gears for an off ramp and heard that wonderful four-cylinder snarl -- thank you, Mazda engineers, for further finessing the engine and gearbox for 2009 -- I wondered briefly why anyone would pay six figures for a sports car when one of the best in the world starts at $22,500.
This particular Miata is bloated with rather unnecessary goodies, such as Xenon headlamps, leather seats, and steering wheel controls (redundant controls are a bit, well, redundant in a car this tiny). Still, I challenge anyone to come up with another vehicle that offers this much top-down fun for its price.
David Zenlea, Assistant Editor