Got spring fever? A little zoom zoom might be just what you need. Mazda's 2008 MX-5 Miata is U.S. News' the top-ranked affordable sports car. It's loved for its get-up-and-go, precise handling and smartly engineered retractable top in either the soft or hard version
The sports cars, generally priced under $35,000, were ranked based on an in-depth analysis by U.S. News editors of published auto ratings, reviews and test drives.
This is a group with ample power, nimble handling and eye-catching looks. Common complaints are about interior room -- not a surprise -- and lack of options.
What about U.S.?
The top five picks are all Japanese models, two from Mazda, two from Nissan and one from Honda. Ford's 2008 Mustang comes in at No. 6. It's middle of the pack for performance, although reviewers do like the muscular V-8 engine. It's also middle of the pack for its interior, dinged for a nearly useless backseat. The Mustang does get praise for its iconic exterior looks. The other Americans in this group are the 2008 Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky, both tied at No. 7 with the 2008 Mitsubishi Eclipse, another Japanese model.
Beauty Can Be Only Skin Deep
The 2008 Pontiac Solstice was top-rated among the 10 affordable sports cars for its exterior looks and bottom-rated for its interior space. Reviewers found the outside eye-catching, well proportioned and just plain sexy. But inside, they find the cabin tight for anyone sized above average. They also complain that air-conditioning is optional, and the cargo and storage space is severely limited.
View From the Top
Nissan has both its 350z coupe and roadster in this class. With its fixed roof, the coupe just nudges out the soft top in performance, exterior looks and interior ambiance. Meanwhile, Mazda's top-ranked 2008 MX-5 Miata comes with either a hard or soft convertible top. Both are praised for easy retraction and for not taking storage space from the trunk.
With temperatures heating up, a new sports car might just be the thing to blow winter's last chill away. For more detail on any of these affordable sports cars, including in-depth reviews, check out our full affordable sports cars ranking list.
|1||Mazda MX-5 Miata||$20,585||22/27||Great handling, nice convertible hard or soft top||Cramped, no frills interior space|
|2||Honda S2000||$34,300||18/25||Race car performance||Uncomfortable for daily driving|
|3||Nissan 350z||$28,120||18/25||Powerful performance||Cheap-looking interior|
|4 (tie)||Mazda RX-8||$26,435||16/23||Usable back seat||Roatary engine has reliability concerns|
|4 (tie)||Nissan 350z Roadster||$35,630||17/24||Sporty handling||Poor visibility|
|6||Ford Mustang||$19,490||17/26||Great design, optional V8||Unrefined interior|
|7 (tie)||Mitsubishi Eclipse||$19,999||20/28||Great styling, gas mileage||Underwhelming performance|
|7 (tie)||Pontiac Solstice||$22,165||19/25||Sexy exterior||Few standard features|
|7 (tie)||Saturn Sky||$25,525||19/25||Eye-catching looks||Base model's performance uncompetative|
|10||Hyundai Tiburon||$17,025||20/28||Good value||Interior is lacking|