1. 2014 Mazda MX5 Miata
Starting price: $23,720
What did retirees drive before this car existed? Were they all in Cadillacs and Corvettes? Were cheap convertibles such as the Chrysler LeBaron just more widely available?
That last element has a ring of truth to it, as convertibles have become just slightly more scarce in the years since this car's debut. Mini has made strides in the low end and Chrysler's 200 is filling in admirably for the Sebring, but neither of them are the sporty little two-seater the Miata is.
But neither provides Porsche Boxster performance at roughly half the price. You don't go shopping for a Porsche Boxter and come home with a Miata, but the Porsche's label is about about all that's separating these two vehicles. The two cars have similar acceleration (zero to 60 in 6.5 seconds for the Porsche, seven seconds for the Miata), similar ratings from Consumer Reports (90 for Porsche, 89 for Mazda) and similar customer satisfaction. The Miata's available hardtop that kicks the starting price up above $27,000 only closes the gap further. What the Porsche does have that the Miata doesn't is engine, cooling, electrical system, power equipment and significant brake problems that add up to a lot of future costs over the life of the car. Boxter owners pay twice as much for that privilege, but at least they're getting a bit more trunk space out of the deal.-- Written by Jason Notte in Portland, Ore. >To contact the writer of this article, click here: Jason Notte. >To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/notteham. >To submit a news tip, send an email to: email@example.com.
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