The Miata offers balanced handling, pinpoint-precise steering and a crisp six-speed manual transmission.
Its cloth top can be raised and lowered with one hand without leaving the seat. A new power-folding hard-top is available for 2007.
Reliability is fair, but that's good enough to earn a recommendation.
The Miata competes against the Pontiac Solstice and the closely-related Saturn Sky. So far, the Solstice has been outselling the Miata.
"I think [the Solstice] is going to do very well for the first couple of years," said David Champion, head of Consumer Reports' auto testing, "but I think, over the long term, this is the better sports car."