FrontRunners: Reborn Roadster

The 2006 Mazda MX-5 (www.mazdausa.com) features a redesigned body and a more commodious cockpit than its predecessor’s, but the final form leaves little question as to the car’s pedigree. Every aspect of the much-loved Miata has been improved upon, from the simple folding top to the compact 2-liter engine, which now develops 178 hp. A superb suspension derived from Mazda’s other sports car, the RX-8, combines with 4-wheel disc brakes and a 5- or 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic gearbox to make the MX-5 (beginning at $21,000) a back-road runner par excellence. 

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