Find a nice isolated country road with lots of twists and turns, and this classic convertible sports car comes to life.
Although not the ideal ride for all situations, when it comes to delivering fun, the diminutive Mazda Miata ranks near the top on the list of choices. And that’s high praise for a car one can drive off the lot for around $27,000.
The Miata has been delivering fun as one of the standard bearers in the convertible category for more than three decades. The lightweight roadster debuted in 1989 and is the top-selling, two-passenger convertible of all time.
The 2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata is a sports car that puts a high priority on delivering enjoyment to both driver and passenger. While the list of competitors is reportedly around a dozen, the Miata only has one serious contender in its class – the Fiat 124 Spider convertible.
The lovable Miata isn’t the most practical purchase because it’s tiny, has virtually no trunk space, and can get rather noisy at freeway speeds. Yet the Miata remains a guideline for folks who like the top down, wind blowing slightly in their face, and taking drives for pure enjoyment.
Reminiscent of the British roadsters of the 1950s and 1960s, the lightweight Miata is a rear-wheel drive convertible that delivers precise handling. The driver has a tremendous feel for the road because at times it seems like one is sitting on it, making the steering immediate and extremely accurate.
If you don’t know how to drive a stick, it’s worth learning because shifting gears in a Miata will bring increased enjoyment. The six-speed manual is an easy clutch to master, while the optional six-speed automatic transmission has steering wheel paddle shifting, the next best thing to advancing through the gears in a conventional way.
Available in three trim models (Sport, Club, Grand Touring), the Miata has a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine that produces 181 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. Thanks in part to its light weight (2,341 pounds), the Miata is quick, going 0-60 mph in around 6.0 seconds.
AT A GLANCE – 2020 MAZDA MIATA
- Performance: 2.0-liter, four-cylinder, 181 horsepower
- Mileage estimate: 26-35 mpg
- Price estimate: $26,700 to $32,300
- Warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles; drivetrain: 5 years/60,000 miles; roadside assistance: 3 years/36,000; corrosion: 5 years/unlimited
The Miata cabin layout remains basic and is devoid of practically any storage space. There’s not even a glove compartment and the trunk is miniscule (4.6-cubic-foot).
But this two-seater still offers solid leg and head room for average-size drivers and their companion. The standard Miata has USB connectivity and Bluetooth phone and audio, plus a 7-inch touchscreen that doesn’t require a session in the driver’s manual to master.
For convertible sports car enthusiasts, purchasing the 2020 Mazda Miata will probably not be a regrettable choice. If driving a relatively inexpensive convertible for fun is the desired goal, you’ve come to the right place.
Weidel on Wheels is featured regularly on www.tahoeskiworld.com. Auto writer Jeffrey Weidel can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jeffweidel.