We understand the Mazda MX-5 Miata because it subscribes to our worldview. It’s a manifesto of car enthusiasm in steel, glass, and rubber. Make it small. Make it light. Make it quick. Make it efficient. Make it affordable. Make it reliable. Make us smile.
The Miata isn’t a numbers car, although 2309 pounds and a 5.9-second zero-to-60 time are impressive figures. Light steering effort hints at the low mass, and the feedback is as clear and uninterrupted as a landline call. Fling it into any corner and the Miata’s body moves around more than those of modern sports cars. It reacts to your inputs by diving, squatting, and rolling. It’s floppy and eager, like a puppy scurrying across a wood floor to lick your face.
And how could you not love its face? Restyled to look meaner and leaner, the Miata’s design has finally purged its bogus British affectation. Sharp edges and lines fold over the machinery, while fenders punch outward. The headlights are knee-high; its beltline is more like a thighline. The view out of this two-seater is mostly bumpers and tires of other cars. Lesser drivers would feel vulnerable, but we’re happy down here, even if we can’t find the 12-volt outlet (it’s by the passenger’s left ankle).
With the top tucked away, our senses heighten. Smells roll in—dry grass, dusty pavement, the creaky Ford Aerostar that has finally pulled over to let us by. Vibrations course through the car. We’ve entered a Miata state of mind. Happiness washes over. The little roadster beneath us surges forward to the next corner. Amen.