1991 Mazda Miata
Morehead City, North Carolina, United States
1991 Mazda Miata
Forgive us for having the distinct feeling of déjà vu, but it certainly feels like we've been here before. By that we are referring Car and Driver and the announcement of its annual 10Best vehicles for 2013. To be sure, it's an impressive selection of cars that combine heart-pounding performance and frugal sensibilities, but it also represents something of a broken record on the part of C/D. We're not so sure that's a flaw, though, as the resulting list is tough to argue with.
Vehicles like the Ford Mustang, Porsche Boxster, and BMW 3 Series have maintained their high-horsepower spots on this list for several years now. Even on the more practical and nimble end, the Honda Accord, Honda Fit and Mazda Miata have not budged. These continued spots are even in light of redesigns for some vehicles such as the Accord, Boxster and 3 Series.
In fact, the only newcomer to the 10Best list this year are the Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ twins, which knocked out the Cadillac CTS-V. We think it would have been a huge misstep to have excluded the FR-S/BRZ, even in light of the supercharged Caddy's lamentable departure from 10Best.
The recently appointed CEO of Mazda is apparently quite the optimist, claiming that the Japanese brand, renowned for its Zoom-Zoom driving character (and more recently its sleek, refined designs and Skyactiv efficiency), is claiming the company will record its best-ever US sales within the next two years. According to a report from Automotive News, Masamichi Kogai expects Mazda to move 400,000 of its Kodo-styled vehicles in the increasingly competitive US market by March 2016, with the recently launched Mazda3 leading the charge. "It will impacted considerably by the trend of the U.S. industry. But... it's my hope we achieve the record by that time," Kogai tells AN.
The brand is currently targeting 300,000 units by the end of this fiscal year in March 2014. Given that production and sales of the Mazda3 (and consumer awareness of the 2014 Mazda6) is still picking up steam, it isn't a stretch to imagine Mazda, which sold 240,000 vehicles from January to October of 2013, hitting its target.
Along with the overall increase in sales numbers, Kogai is expecting the independent brand to take an even larger slice of the US sales pie, claiming 2.5 percent US market share, improving from its current 1.9-percent foothold so far in 2013. "I think the upper limit may be 2.5 percent for the time being," Kogai told AN, before pointing out, "We don't want to use a lot of incentives. That is not the sales approach we aspire toward."
When is a stock, 167-horsepower Mazda MX-5 Miata quicker than a Chevrolet Corvette, Ford Mustang, Lamborghini Gallardo, Lotus Elise and a Porsche 911? When it's raining. Sort of.
Mazda Canada arranged a unique drag race to show off the fact that the Miata's optional power retractable folding hardtop can go from top-down to top-up in just 12 seconds flat. In this video, all six cars line up for a drag race, and it starts to rain (well, sort of - but you'll have to watch the video all the way to the end to see what we mean). The green flag is waved, and the timer starts as soon as the convertibles begin to put their tops up. But because the Miata's roof mechanism gets the car's roof back up a full 5.1 seconds quicker than the second-place car, the Mazda gets a serious advantage off the line for the actual drag race.
It's a fun video. And while we've spoiled the results (come on, the video was uploaded by Mazda, you knew the Miata was going to win), be sure to see how it all unfolds, below.