Hooniverse Asks- What MX5 Competitor Is The Most Unappreciated?

We all know that, since its introduction in 1989, Mazda’s MX5 Miata has been the gold standard of small, light, affordable sports cars. That’s not to say however, that there haven’t been challenges to its throne. Rarely does a car transcend its mere metal, plastic and rubber amalgamate, but Mazda’s MX5 has, over the past 23 years, become just so transcendent. Originally an ode to the everyman (and woman) sports cars of lore, the Miata became not just an aspiration for memorializers of those long gone machines, but an introduction to the breed for a whole new generation.

Not only did the Miata bridge the gap between old and new, it also eclipsed any attempt to peg it with a stereotype, being the accepted ride of either gender without question. The only thing required of MX5 ownership was an appreciation of the joys of sports car driving, and perhaps a sturdy spine as the car’s ride has been one point open to criticism. So successful has Mazda’s littler sports car been all these years, it’s a wonder no other maker has been able to reverse-engineer its mojo to equal acclaim.

 That of course doesn’t mean that other makers haven’t tried, but none has been able to capture that lightning in a bottle so favorably as has Mazda. Why is that? Consider if you will the car above – Toyota’s MR2 Spyder. It seems to have all the right boxes checked – Small, light weight flingable chassis, multi-cam rev-happy four with enough power to make life interesting, a top that goes down. And – seemingly bettering Mazda’s offering – that engine sits mid-ship, sharing its layout with such automotive luminaries as the Lamborghini Miura, and Pontiac Fiero Lotus Elise.

Infortunately the MR was kind of a miss, and even its earlier, less convertible iterations failed to engender the kind of mythos as has the Miata. Cars like the BMW Z3, Nissan’s 350Z and, at the high, high end, Porsche’s Boxster have all tried, but none has been able to knock the MX5’s crown from its head. Sure that list isn’t long, and I’m probably leaving out a bunch of cars because they aren’t sold in the US (Cappuccino anyone?), but still, some heady marques. Which of those do you think has most gotten the short end of the stick?

Image: [mr2forum]

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