A Window Shop viewer sent us this week’s challenge: It’s often said that Miata is always the answer, but what if Miata isn’t the answer? What would we buy instead? Contributor John Pearley Huffman had the exact same idea and the assistant editor, host of that taped zoom call, and author of that sentence. Tony Quiroga decided that maybe he could put the window shoppers to work to find a replacement for his beloved 1995 Mazda Miata.
To tailor the job to itself, Quiroga set a budget of $ 10,000 and requested cars that offered an engaging driving experience, low mileage, and Miata-like reliability (as if such a thing was possible). He also suggested that manual transmission and rear-wheel drive would be preferred but not mandatory, opening up the possibilities for cars and SUVs.
Huffman didn’t opt for a rear-wheel drive car, but his second-generation Honda CRX got the hang of driving fun and reliability. Unfortunately, its CRX suffered from an aggressively applied tire gloss and it also exceeded the budget of $ 10,000. Contributor Jonathon Ramsey also chose a two-seater, a high revving Honda S2000 with nearly 200,000 miles, but the listing left too much to the imagination. Deputy Test Director KC Colwell and Senior Editor Joey Capparella walked completely out of the two-seater box. Colwell opted for an E39 BMW 528i manual, and Capparella cleverly opted for a 2002 Toyota Tacoma that somehow met all of this week’s requirements.
If you make it to the end, you will find that we counted the votes incorrectly and mistakenly thought there was a tie. There was no tie. One vehicle shows up on top of the other, but that really doesn’t matter as Quiroga was only interested in buying its choice.
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