POSTED: Wednesday, October 31, 2012 - 4:15pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 - 10:03am
This is a shout out to my youth. In fact, the Mazda MX-5 Miata was an instant time machine for a lot of us of a certain age when it came out in 1989.
Time was when the British and Italians ruled the sports car roost. From the 1950’s through the early 1970’s, MG, Austin Healey, Triumph, Fiat, Alfa Romeo, jags and more…they were all the stuff of a young man’s dreams.
I owned all of the above…cranky, leaky, undependable old crate they were. And the Miata is like that, without the leaky, cranky undependable part. It’s an MG without the heartache.
Outside, it still has a slightly Lotus look to it…and though it isn’t as pretty as the model that went before, it’s still just plain good looking.
Inside, it is classic small sports car with everything you need and nothing you don’t. and when the day turns wet, the top is a model of simplicity to put up. In fact, it can all be handled without leaving the driver’s seat.
The Club Edition we drove is a special trim package, but the basic goodness of the MX-5 shines though. The twin-cam 4-banger is 2.0-liters and cranks out only 167-horsepower. But the Miata only weighs 2400 pounds, and feels like even less. 0-60 takes about 7 seconds, and feels like even less.
We saw around 25 miles per gallon in mixed driving, by the way.
The gear box is a smooth 6-speed, and buying an automatic in a car like this should be a felony punishable by not less than 2 nor more than 5 years of Pinto ownership.
Handling is superb, and taking on a twisty country road is a lesson in finesse. Unlike a lot of sports cars I get to drive, the little Mazda roadster doesn’t power it’s way around a curve, and scare the bejabbers out of you in the process. It claws its way around, with a responsive throttle and roadholding that feels like Velcro.
Base price is $22,400 and our Club Edition with special trim, and most importantly, 17-inch alloys wheels, came to $26,700.
But you can’t put a price tag on how it makes you feel. Ponce de Leon may never have found the fountain of youth, but Mazda managed to build it.