2. Mazda MX-5 Miata
2. Mazda MX-5 Miata
Base Price: $22,960

The Miata breaks the two-seat rule, but I've included it because 1) it was an instant classic when it was introduced in 1989 and remains so today; and 2) its canvas top is a model of utility, designed to be pulled up by the driver while seated with one hand.

The optional retractable hardtop doesn't make the cut. The Miata is a sports car any driver can appreciate -- no prior experience required. It's fun to drive even when you aren't going fast. And shifting through its smooth-as-butter six-speed gear box helps you understand why manual transmissions are still manual.


Last updated June 17 2011: 11:11 AM ET
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