Mazda

Mazda’s little two-seat sports car MX-5 has never sold in stratospheric numbers, most years just barely outselling Porsche’s 911. Mazda is a big company with more pressing matters, like figuring out how to add another CUV to their lineup. If they wanted to, their sports car model could just be treated as an after-thought, just floating along at dealerships unchanged for a decade, like Nissan does. The MX-5 actually matters to Mazda, however, as it holds the key to the company’s soul.

For 2018, however, the MX-5 has enough new tweaks to get me excited. First of all, the Cherry Top option, which was a limited-edition model for the U.K. market has now been expanded as a regular series production option. New paint colors include Eternal Blue Mica, Snowflake White Pearl Mica, Soul Red Crystal, and Machine Gray Metallic. I think a white pearl car with a red top would look just stellar, don’t you?

Further changes, the base Sport model receives a standard 7-inch touch screen as standard now (likely because reverse cameras are now mandated by law), LED head and tail lights, bluetooth connectivity, and a new leather-wrapped shift knob. The base price jumps a bit to $26,185 to reflect the new standard equipment. An automatic is available for an extra $1,350, but please do not.

The mid-tier Club model gets a few cool new options. For one, you can now get heated cloth seats as standard, or you can opt for the Recaro sport seats which were previously not available in the US market (part of a $4,470 package that includes Brembo big brakes and special BBS wheels).

The Grand Touring is still the top-of-the-line luxo model, and the $31,085 starting price reflects that. This one comes equipped with standard heated leather seats, climate control, navigation, extra sound deadening, rain sensing wipers, adaptive headlamps, and lane departure warning safety. A new option is Auburn Nappa leather seating for just $300.

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You can order one from your Mazda dealer now, with nationwide dealer lot availability starting from January. There are additional, similar, changes being made to the Retractable Fastback model, which will be announced later.