Pretenders to the Throne

THE 5TH GENERATION MIATA © 2014 Mazda North American Operations.

Mazda recently introduced the fourth generation of it’s legendary roadster the Miata or the MX5 to the rest of the world. Even though its an epitome of excellence, it has had more than its fair share of challengers. Starting from the fwd Lotus Elan, Pontiac Solstice to the Toyota MR2, the MX5 has seen them off.

So I was curious. I have never seen all the pretenders … sorry …. challengers reviewed in one go. So let’s go! and take a look at a few challengers.

Lotus M100 Elan

The only FWD Lotus - The M100 Elan
The only FWD Lotus – The M100 Elan ©wikipedia Commons

The Lotus Elan was a bit of a shock for Lotus enthusiasts – both for it’s front wheel drive and it’s anodyne styling. The Lotus happened to have a long gestation period with Lotus-worthy handling. The problem with the Lotus was that Mazda made a better and more worthy Elan than the original Lotus Elan.

Toyota MR2 Spyder

In my view, the problem with the MR2 is that it forgot its original mission of being a lithe mid-engined affordable sports car and tried to turn into a Miata. As is the case most of the time, the original 1st generation MR2 was the best ever. The 2nd generation became porkier and more powerful. The 3rd generation was when the MR2 tried to moult and become a better Miata than the Miata itself.

03-05_Toyota_MR-2
The 3rd generation MR2 © Wikimedia Commons

 

Pontiac Solstice / Saturn Sky

Screen shot 2016-02-01 at 10.38.07 PM
Pontiac Solstice   © media.gm.com

I give this car more credit than most people. Yes, it did try to muscle in on Miata territory but its undeniable that the car was a looker. It did garner seven thousand bookings with a fortnight of its reveal and the car sold quite well. But the 2008 recession and the axing of the Pontiac and Saturn brands spelt doom for the Solstice and Sky. Bummer!

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