Actual ratings will vary with options, driving conditions, habits and vehicle condition.
The Miata?s startling popularity after its debut as an early 1990 model essentially inspired the ?roadster revolution? that followed later in the decade. Considered a basic sports car ? not unlike the British roadsters that inspired the original roadster craze in the 1950s and ?60s ? the Miata also benefited from Japanese quality and reliability, in stark contrast to the pretty but troublesome British two-seaters of the distant past. Like all traditionally styled sports cars, the Miata (officially called the MX-5 Miata) has rear-wheel drive. Restyled modestly for 1999 with minimal dimension changes, Mazda?s still-popular sports car gets a more powerful engine with variable valve timing this year. It now produces 15 horsepower more than before. Additionally, the front fascia is newly restyled and the interior revised, including reworked high-back bucket seats, a new console and chrome bezels for the white-faced gauges. Brakes have been enlarged to improve halting talents, while chassis revisions have enhanced body rigidity. Bending stiffness on models with 16-inch wheels is claimed to be 16 percent better, with torsional rigidity increased by 22 percent (the figures are 13 and 6 percent, respectively, for Miatas with 15-inch tires). Base and LS versions are still available. Previously offered only on limited-edition Miatas, a six-speed-manual gearbox now is available for the LS, which also gets 16-inch tires. Special editions have been part of the Miata picture, and Mazda introduced another one at the Chicago Auto Show in February 2001. At least 500,000 Miatas now are on the road globally, and more than a quarter million have been sold in North America. The Miata now ranks as the best-selling two-passenger roadster of all time. Sales have remained respectable even after more than a decade on the market, with 18,299 units going to U.S. customers during 2000, according to Automotive News.
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