About nine years ago I began to look for a roadster. Based on my budget and my interest in a car with a warranty, I narrowed the field very quickly down to just two candidates. The new 2007 Miata, then only in the market for less than a year, or a certified pre-owned (CPO) base Porsche Boxster. For a variety of reasons, I chose the 2007 Mazda Miata Grand Touring with every option. With the new ND Miata now appearing in dealerships we thought it would be fun to take a look at that comparison again.
The all-new fourth-generation 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata has been driven by the media and the initial reports are all unanimous in their praise for the car. Mazda has moved the 2016 Miata into the modern era with much better performance, improved driving characteristics, better comfort, and modern infotainment. Even better, the prices haven’t changed. With the new Miata now being tested by Car and Driver and hitting sixty mph from zero in just 5.9 seconds, the Miata has suddenly gotten a lot closer to the quickness of a base Boxster. The current generation Boxster can run to sixty in about 5.5 seconds, but back in 2005, the Boxster ran to 60 in exactly the same 5.9 seconds the new Miata does. Unlike past matchups, the new Miata also offers creature comforts that match or surpass the base Boxster. Mazda’s new Miata has its engine between the axles, just like the Boxster, and both have perfect balance. These two are a natural matchup.
A quick scan of the local prices for CPO Boxsters reveals two choices. 2005 models priced in the mid-$20Ks, or newer Boxster S models priced at about $50K. Neither is a bad deal, but for many the Boxster S is out of the ball-park price-wise. A base CPO Boxster would never cost you anything for repairs during its two-year warranty, but sadly, even well-loved ten-year-old Boxsters come with a scary cost of maintenance. And they look, well, used... On the up-side, we are talking about a Porsche. A mid-engine, boxer-6-cylinder-powered sports car that many say is the best grand-touring roadster ever made for Sunday drives and fall road-trips.
A brand-new 2016 Miata with performance matching that of a 2005 Boxster costs about the same as a high-mileage CPO Porsche. The Miata's 30K mile major maintenance is years away, and the Mazda drivetrain warranty won’t expire for six years. Pay for your Miata and you basically have a fixed cost of ownership. A fully-loaded Miata with either all the go-fast bits (Club) or the comfort package (Grand Touring) only costs about $5k more and would be a lot more compatible with Pandora, Aha, and your iTunes than an older base Porsche.
Is there a right and wrong answer here? We don’t think so. The only wrong choice would be to let another year go by without a mid-engine roadster.
Main story image courtesy of MazdaPartsUSA.com (slightly modified.)
John Goreham is a life-long car nut and recovering engineer. John's focus areas are technology, safety, and green vehicles. In the 1990s, he was part of a team that built a solar-electric vehicle from scratch. His was the role of battery thermal control designer. For 20 years he applied his engineering and sales talents in the high tech world and published numerous articles in technical journals such as Chemical Processing Magazine. In 2008 he retired from that career and dedicated himself to chasing his dream of being an auto writer. In addition to Torque News, John's work has appeared in print in dozens of American newspapers and he provides reviews to many vehicle shopping sites. You can follow John on Twitter, and connect with him at Linkedin. You can find most of John's stories at Torque News Toyota, Lexus and GM News coverage. Search Torque News in Google for daily automotive news analysis from experienced and expert automotive reporters.