The car that started the roadster revival more than 10 years ago is spruced up for the spring and summer with a Special Edition model. Unique features on the Miata Special Edition include a six-speed manual transmission, parchment-colored leather upholstery, mahogany mica paint, a 200-watt Bose audio system and other amenities.
Miata debuted for the 1990 model year as a basic sports car like the British roadsters of the 1950s and 1960s but with Japanese quality and reliability. Though it was redesigned in 1999, the current Miata retains similar dimensions and styling as the original.
With an overall length of 155 inches, the Miata is a trim-sized roadster that is about 3 inches shorter than the BMW Z3. It comes with a standard manually folding convertible top that can be raised or lowered from the drivers seat. The convertible top comes with a glass rear window with a defogger. A removable hardtop is optional.
The Miata is just 4 feet high, so occupants literally have to drop into the two snug-fitting bucket seats. A simple, functional dashboard places all gauges so they are easy to see and controls are within easy reach.
An optional Convenience Package includes a windblocker that mounts behind the seats to reduce turbulence.
Under the Hood
The only engine for the rear-drive Miata is a 140-horsepower 1.8-liter four-cylinder. Regular models come with a choice of five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmissions, and the Special Edition comes only with a six-speed manual.
The engine is rather loud, the ride is pretty stiff, and the Miata cant keep pace with more performance-oriented sports cars. However, it is still fun to drive, reasonably priced and designed in classic sports car style. There was nothing else like it when it arrived as a 1990 model. Even with several other roadsters crowding the market, the Miata still stands out as a great value.