The 2021 Mazda MX-5 Miata is Means I/O's Car of the Year Winner

Deciding on Means I/O's car of the year was a difficult decision. Each of the finalists had something (or several things) that made them special and useful. However, at the end of it all, only one of the best cars of the year had enough of that special sauce to ignite our team's hearts. The 2021 Mazda MX-5 Miata is the winner of Means I/O's Car of the Year!

We can't help but love the 2021 Mazda MX-5 Miata

Many of us choose our dream cars from a young age and poster them on our walls (or on our phone screen or whatever young people are doing these days). These dream cars are almost always of the sports car (supercar) variety. I don't know why it is exactly, but it is what it is. Although we often dream of owning these posters, most of us end up driving a reasonable Toyota Camry or Honda CR-V, and for good reason.

The problem with the dream of owning sports cars is that we are constantly told that we will never be able to afford them, they are not really good cars, blah blah blah. So we grow up wanting something that we think is stupid to have. Well, thanks to the Miata, that conditioning is patently wrong.

Is the 2021 Mazda MX-5 Miata really that good?

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The new Miata has almost completely bucked the trends of the modern automotive world and has always made for a sophisticated, exciting, affordable and reliable sports car. It's just not done; on the contrary, it has not been done for a long time.

Mazda's little ripper is decent with a delightfully eager 181-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine mated to your choice of a six-speed automatic transmission (please don't) or - one of the defining features of the MX-5 – a six-speed manual gearbox begging for the next upshift.

Miatas don't know how to miss a turn

You simply can't talk about Miata greatness without its greater capability; superior maneuverability. My first time on the track, our instructor came over in a stripped down 90s Miata doing a wavering 100hp. I was in a 350 horsepower Ford Focus RS, while others on the track were in 911s, Audis and the like to cover up a lack of track skills.

The instructor looked at the fleet and simply said, "try to keep up." He got in his little racer and took off. Between his skill and the Miata's ability to shred corners like an angry hog dog, he stayed way ahead of all of us morons driving our poster cars. His lead would have grown exponentially if our trail leader in a 2021 MX-5.

In our review of the 2021 Mazda MX-5 Miata, Joe Santos wrote, "To say the Mazda MX-5 can carve corners like a 'hot knife through butter' would actually be an understatement. The Miata has always been known for its fighter-jet-like handling. Still, the folks at Mazda continue to tweak the suspension and chassis to rip the skulls even harder around the corners.

Are Miatas safe?

The 2021 Mazda MX-5 Miata is the Midsize I/O Car of the Year

It's fair to see the Miata and worry about what happens if one truck merges on top of another. However, it earned a respectable four-star rating with Euro NCAP in 2015. The 2021 MX-5 has yet to be rated by NHTSA and IIHS.

However, the inexpensive little sports car comes with a bunch of safety features. It might be a sports car, but Miatas come standard with dual airbags, side airbags, and side-impact door beams. Technologically speaking, the MX-5 comes standard with Smart City Brake Support, rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning and a rear view camera. Opting for higher trims will add traffic sign recognition and blind spot monitoring.

How much does the 2021 Mazda MX-5 Miata cost?

The 2021 Mazda MX-5 Miata is the Midsize I/O Car of the Year

It's one of the most appealing aspects of the Miata. All-new, the 2021 model starts at $26,830 and stretches up to $31,770. That means you can get an honest-to-god sports car, something that's capable of beating six-figure Porches (if you know how to race) on the track for less than a quarter of the price. Let it sink in.

We're really excited to announce that the 2021 Mazda MX-5 Miata is Means I/O's Car of the Year

Clichés are so named because a phrase is used so often, so pervasively, so (even if annoyingly) unanimously that the metaphor is no longer seen as creative or profound. However, just because cliches are overused to the point of no longer making sense doesn't deny the fact; in fact, it proves that it worked so well that it was overused.

I'm not saying the Miata is a cliché, but some might find it an uninspired choice due to its popularity. However, we don't believe so. We think the Miata is so complete and beautiful that picking anything else from the pile of cars we've driven this year would be foolish and dishonest. Take a Miata bow; your beautiful, endearing, fun little sports car.