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Consumer Reports Calls 2016 Mazda Miata Best Sports Car Under $40K

We’d drop the last few words and just call it best, but here’s what Consumer Reports says.

Consumer Reports (CR) has named the 2016 Mazda Miata the Best Sports Car Under $40K in its latest Top Picks list. In one sentence CR may have nailed why the Miata is so special, saying “Nobody packs more fun-per-dollar into a pint-sized package than Mazda.”

Of the hundreds of models of cars in the U.S. market Consumer Reports endeavors to narrow the best down to just ten in its Top Picks of 2016. The process involves reviewing quality survey results from its 740,000 respondents, the organization’s own road testing, safety results from testing by third parties, and finally, a couple of hundred survey responses asking simply “Would you buy the Mazda Miata again.”

Let’s set aside safety for now. The Miata is as good as any tiny aluminum two-seater with no roof in a crash. We must also set aside quality since the 2016 model has not been in production long enough to prove its self. That leaves road test results and owner satisfaction. Interestingly, the affordable WRX beats the Miata by one point with an 84 to 83 score comparison of the two. Besides that, only the Hyundai Genesis Coupe (56) and The Scion FRS/Subaru BRZ twins with a 64.5 are left on the affordable sports car list. So the Miata does well.

Subscribe to Consumer Reports if you like to read the group’s review, but we read it and we pulled this one quote out to share. We think it explains why the Miata wins. CR said, “This Mazda is one of the last intimate driving experiences; you feel like part of the machine that's melding with the road. The Miata's steering gives immediate turn-in response, and the car remains playful and predictable even when pressing the limits of the tires.” That, in a nutshell, is what a sports car is all about.

Read about our recent winter-test of the 2016 Miata here.