Most Low-Budget New Thrill of the Year|
2006 Modern Racer Car Crazy Awards
Not all of us have the money to buy, rent or even oggle at that Ferrari, or even a BMW or Corvette. So the more ordinary among us will have to make-do with what we can afford. Fortunately, car manufacturers have listened to the cries of the less fortunate, and have released droves of new models in the past few years for the car enthusiast on a tight budget. And these are the cars that inspired Modern Racer in the first place. This year's new crop diversity is limited but still palatable.
2nd Runner-Up :
Honda Civic Si
Ricer boys and SEMA release notwithstanding, the Civic Si has been winning accolades left and right for being the best Civic ever, at least for the American market. With superb handling for a front-driven car, a willing 200 hp engine featuring i-VTEC, pricing below 20 grand and the funkiest dashboard layout since the space shuttle cockpit, it should have won this category outright. But we feel that 200 horses should make a faster car, especially since the "luxury" 200 hp RSX Type-S is quicker, and the low-rent 205 hp Cobalt Supercharged SS downright wipes its ass with the turdy-looking Civic.
1st Runner-Up :
The Solstice roadster really is a major surprise from the General. It is mindblowing that the bean-counter-controlled company whose recent offerings below 20 grand includes the Cavalier and the Malibu could take a risk and introduce a Fiero-style two-seater rear-driver, especially while getting whipped by the UAW. It looks great for the price, has an acceptable amount of power and has tires almost as thick as Bush. It loses out to the leader in its niche simply due to the fact that low-power roadsters should not have tires thick enough to kill all the sideways fun. Which brings us to our obvious winner.
The new Miata--temporarily known only as "MX-5"--keeps everything that made it a legend while improving on everything that was holding it back from appealing to a slightly wider audience than just weekend racers and hair-dressers, female or otherwise. Now featuring a standard four-banger that has as much power as the previous turbo MazdaSpeed, it beats out the Solstice with a more upscale interior and using the right kind of rubber for the mischievous kind of fun. This well-balanced package is the epitome of Mazda's pathetic Zoom-Zoom campaign that actually covers the entire Mazda range.
Mazda MX-5 Miata
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