2011 Mazda MX-5 Miata Sport 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl 6A)
I'd never considered driving an MX-5 until I happened to walk past one at a Mazda dealership one day.
I'd always thought of them as girly cars, as too small, too slow, too something for me.
But I liked the look of this third generation and the price surprised me.
I went home that night and researched the car.
To my surprise, I found respectable publications and enthusiasts loved the MX-5 for its ease of operation, near-perfect handling and balance, quick acceleration, and reliability.
I went back for a test drive and had the keys to one within a week.
There are faster cars, bigger cars, and definitely pricier cars out there.
But I don't think many below $100k are this fun to drive.
The engine is quick, high-revving, and fuel-efficient.
The responsive suspension and light weight make this car feel way faster than it probably is.
The bucket seats really hug you and you often feel like the car fits you like a glove.
That said, I still have plenty of room at 6'2".
Only two significant worries persist:
First, Mazda is notorious for thin paint and I've already noticed an army of rock chips on my front bumper.
This is a bummer but primarily a cosmetic niggle.
Second, the design of the cloth drop-top appears to have a flaw which creates stress-tears near the straps behind the seats.
If you're considering a used model, be sure that these tears have not yet begun as a replacement top is $$$$.
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