2011 Sexy Car Buyer's Guide by Martha Hindes
2011 Mazda MX-5 Miata
It took about five seconds for the first Mazda MX-5 (Miata) to make its mark when it burst on the automotive scene some two decades ago. That "WOW! What a hottie!" impact has been its hallmark ever since. Small, with the undulating curves of the earlier tiny roadsters that once graced the narrow roads of Will and Kate's English homeland, the Miata just nailed it. And for 2011, the deliciously tantalizing revival continues to captivate -- top up or top down.
Whether adhering to proper decorum like the Brits, or loosening the laces for less rigid, topless fun, Miata continues to cast its spell. (Think Jennifer Aniston, of Hollywood royalty, nearly baring it waist up and you get the idea.) Absolutely gorgeous, with the riveting appeal of its sensuous lines and limber stance, Miata provides a lyrical ballet of fold-down motion in the few seconds needed for the power button to convert it from hard top to no top. (The ragtop version is more conventional.) Then there's the continuing tendency of folks to abandon the sterile MX-5 designation for the touchable “Miata" name.
The Miata, at its inception, took off where earlier, less capable roadsters had limped along. Firmly built and mechanically superior, it was like the beautiful woman who has perfected the technique of tempting her suitors, then sits back to watch them fall all over themselves to gain her attention. As a minimalist, lightweight two-seater, it doesn't need more than its 2.0-liter, 167 HP four cylinder engine to provide a nimble and responsive drive, with 22/28 best mileage. Whether manual or automatic, it just offers a sensory pleasure as it scoots around.
In its third generation, the Miata brings few surprises for 2011, but offers a limited Special Edition model at $31K. The base of three trim levels starts at $23K, but one can add a delicious array of techy, comfort or performance options...
Considering the Japanese roots, American influence and worldwide acceptance of the Miata, maybe staid British elite wouldn't actually be smitten with its delicious lines, free-wheeling attitude and ubiquitous presence. (And if you have an Aston-Martin in the stable, it might even seem a bit déclassé.) But if we remember our British history correctly, a lot of past monarchs knew how to have some naughty fun while appearing to be properly nice.
For more information on the 2011 Mazda MX-5 Miata, click here.