Review by Jacob Black, Jeff Wilson and Ronnie Fung

Photos by Jeff Wilson and Ronnie Fung


It seems like it was just last month we compared the current crop of affordable, rear-wheel-drive sports cars… because it was.

In a four-way-shoot out between the newest and best RWD manuals we could gather up for around $35,000 we ranked a base-model V6 Mustang in second place, right behind the yellow Scion you see again here in this test. They beat out the Hyundai Genesis Coupe and the re-priced and reprised Nissan 370Z.

We thought the more-powerful, better-handling Mustang might have a better shot at price parity with this special edition FRS, so we invited Ford back for a re-shoot with a better matched car. Ford obliged with an Ecoboost Mustang with Performance Pack.

But then something happened on the way to the meet point – an interloper showed its very pretty face. A car not available for the previous test, and one we thought wouldn’t be available for a while yet, suddenly made itself available. We couldn’t resist.

And so, muscling in on this rematch at the last minute Wrestlemania style, we have the all-new 2016 Mazda MX-5.

Practicality would play against it, perhaps, but this test is about fun. We’ve put practicality on the board but more in deference to its past service to the cause than anything else. This time, our focus is on the size of our grin, not our baggage.

Packing less horsepower than the other two but with a larger price tag, we thought the Mazda might still have an uphill battle on its hands. Then again, we thought that about the FR-S last time.

And this Mazda has a neat party trick – it’ll whip its top off more quickly and easily now than ever before. That’s always worth a point or two.

But is it enough? And will the more sport-focused ’Stang score redemption against the FR-S?

You asked.

We answered.

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