- The Washington Times - Friday, November 29, 2002

From the very beginning we knew the Miata was going to be a hit.
Even though it was considered to be underpowered and a bit cramped, this little sports car served its owners well. It was a fun car that you could drive the wheels off and not be too concerned you were going to hurt yourself. I mean that in the most positive of ways. This car was, and is, fun to drive.
As the Miata progressed, we pleaded with Mazda to give it just a little more power, and they responded.
But wisely they didn't carry it too far. The Miata has progressed to just over 140 horsepower.
Plenty to keep it fun, but not so much that you would start to be intimidated by too much power.
The situation could not be resolved unless the car changed its character, and that was something neither Mazda, nor enthusiasts, wanted.
Keep the car's character intact.
The interior became more inviting and more comfortable. Of course, that meant that if you were less than 6-feet-2 tall, you could fit comfortably behind the steering wheel.
And that is my conundrum, I am right at the upper limit. Although I can get behind the wheel and I can drive the Miata, it is just a bit cramped.
With the addition of numerous special editions, the Miata also became more individualized. My test car came in Special Edition Blazing Yellow Mica, with unique front spoiler, side skirts and rear-end treatment.
This is a car that will stick out like a sore thumb even at a Miata convention.
To say it is brightly painted would be a real understatement. Be sure to bring your sunglasses when you come to drive this car. It's like driving a ball of blazing sun down the highway.
And, considering all the thumbs-up I received, the car still gets noticed and receives lots of positive reaction. And this is after being in the same basic form for more than a decade. Mazda sure has gotten its money's worth on this car.
Power can be considered still on the low side, especially when you consider that most of the economy cars out there have more power or at least as much.
But even with 142 horsepower the Miata is so light it maneuvers like a go-cart. In fact, it is so nimble you will have so much fun with the car driving under the speed limit that you will definitely think you are being a bit naughty.
And, guess what? You are.
Yes, I know all of you sports car nuts are grumbling, saying that the car has turned into a chick car. That it really isn't a true sports car and if Mazda really wanted to do something special with the Miata they would put a whole bunch of power into the engine bay and install fat tires and on and on, and.
Yes, I suppose it could be considered a woman's car and, yes, Mazda could do all those things to make it faster, handle better and all that stuff.
But guess what? They don't need to do all of that because enthusiasts out there are doing that to their own Miatas to make each an individual statement.
There are plenty of "chick" cars that will beat the pants off some of you brawny guys anytime, anywhere. But hey, that is what makes this little two-seater such a cool car.
Do whatever you want, or nothing at all; each driver is going to have an equally large smile wrapped around his face.
This is a car that can emulate any type of personality and do it in a way that will not break the bank. As I said before, this is still one cool little car.


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