Loved and cherished by enthusiasts around the globe, the Mazda Miata jump started the modern roadster renaissance when it debuted for the 1990 model year. Its design principle was a simple one: jinba ittai, a Japanese phrase loosely translated to mean horse and rider as one. Weight has always been the Miata’s enemy, and the company has managed to keep its elemental sports car light, lithe, and incredibly responsive for 16 straight years despite increasingly stringent safety and emissions regulations.
Those attributes remain intact with the all-new 2006 Mazda MX-5 Miata, a car that represents a dynamic home-run but which breaks little new ground as a sum of its parts. In many ways, the new version is a big improvement over the old car, but in just as many ways, the old car is preferable to the new version. And while I’m not ready to swap my 2004 Mazdaspeed Miata for a new MX-5, I suspect that any future Mazdaspeed edition of this redesigned icon will be quite difficult for any hardcore Miata fan to resist.