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When the Pontiac Solstice first arrived on the scene, the buff books said it was nice but that the new generation Mazda Miata was still the better two-seat, rear-wheel drive ragtop. The Miata has, in fact, proven it's the best low-priced roadster in the U.S. by racking up significant and steady sales for Mazda since it debuted in 1989. Of course, 2006 is the first full year in which the Miata actually has to contend with some competition. Both the Pontiac Solstice, and later the Saturn Sky, were unveiled to extremely high consumer demand, and we've learned that apparently consumers don't care all that much about which car has less body roll, is faster in the slalom or can grip the road with more confidence. The excitement of a reasonably priced rear-wheel drive convertible from our very own General Motors was enough, in fact, to propel the Solstice to 18,362 unit sales by the end of November. The Miata sold 15,873 units through November.

Next year will be even more interesting as each ragtop arrives ready to fight. Production will be up to speed on the 260-hp Pontiac Solstice GXP, and the Miata will be available with a retractable hardtop that doesn't devour trunk space. This will be an extremely fun rivalry to watch over the years.

[Source: AutoWeek]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      Regarding the "chick car" stigma--
      I'm not sure what makes a car a "chick" car. But for any man who doesn't feel the need to stap into a V-8 moto-penis to reinforce his sexuality, the Miata is a fantastic driver's car. Roadsters aren't for everyone, but nothing is better for top-down enjoyment of the open, winding road. I'm not sure how any auto enthusiast couldn't appreciate that. Every woman I know likes Miatas, but I've only met one who actually owned one. Most of the Miata owners I know are guys like me who love MGs & Triumphs but don't want to spend 10 hours under the hood for every 1 hour driving.

      As for the Solstice vs. Miata comparisons--
      I own a 2002 Miata SE, and I love the car. I have also had the opportunity to drive a Saturn Sky, and I think it is a fine car as well. Definitely not the same feel-- it's a bigger car, and it feels like it-- but still a fun drive. The top isn't nearly the pain that it's made out to be. You can't put it up or down at a stoplight, but other than that it's pretty simple. How hard is it to pop the trunk, pull a latch, and push the top down? The trunk space might be an issue for some. I like to take weekend trips with my wife in the Miata which would be hard (for her) to pack for. The Solstice/Sky trades trunk space for a stunning design, and stunning designs are what GM needs right now. The Sky handled just fine when I drove it, and the Solstice is proving its worth in SCCA competition. It isn't the car for me, but I can certainly understand the appeal.
      • 8 Years Ago
      intresting to see so many comments.

      I'm a huge fan of the Mazda MX-5. It's with pain that I read the Mzada was beaten by a Pontiac. But nevertheless I'm happy that there are now competitors on the market. It only means there are now more people who want a rewarding drive from their car. It also makes mazda think where they will go next. They will have to be carefull in future, and thus produce even better cars.

      I am looking forward to the introduction of the Honda s2000. It truly is a remarkable car, but in an entirely different class. In Europe, the s2000 costs around 40000€ (52000$), while the Mazda costs us 25000€ (32500$). So you really can't compare.

      To be honest... Idon't think the soltice is a beautiful car. The Mazda MX-5 NA or NB was a bit bland. But the new NC model just adds up for me. No other car has comparable styling and I think it will wear the years well.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I've read where Mazda has sold more than 700,000 Miatas since they were introduced some 17 years ago. Too bad GM waited so long to come up with a competitor - they could have had a piece of that action all along.
      • 8 Years Ago
      To be honest, I have never seen a girl driving an mx5, not once. I don't think the mx5 is bland, it's definitely not bold in it's styling, but it's still a great looking car. Let's not forget about Honda and the sexy S2000, which is undoubtedly getting a full makeover in the near future to take it's own share of pie. The Solstice is pretty, but I'd take a mx5 over it, because it looks better. The Sky is (from almost every angle) a miniature Vette, not impressed. It's still a Saturn, which really goes without saying. I am happy that there is more competition and choices in this segment now, I think the Solstice and Sky will do a lot to boost Pontiac and Saturn, but I also think it will be short lived. The mx5 won't hurt much from this, especially with the upcoming retractable hardtop, they've already got there foot through the door, GM has a lot of catching up to do. I fully believe Honda will successfully step into the game in the next few years with a new S2000, they are refreshing there entire line up, I doubt they'll leave the S2000 alone, when the market is so ripe.
      • 8 Years Ago
      As for the girly car stigma..... Yep, I can make most men scream like a little girls at the first corner in my Miata.

      As for sale you have to remember that Mazda thought that 2006 US sales would be in the 10-12K range. So at 30-50% over their targeted goals I'm sure Mazda is very happy.

      Let's wait and see how the Solstice/Sky does over the next two years.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I agree with 16, except my current ride is an STI limited... different category though.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I've heard (from a single dealer in west Michigan) that current Solstici have been quite a bit harder to sell than last summer due to the coming turbo GXP. Just wondering how that factors into these "sales" numbers. Anyone else hear anything about a similar circumstance?
      • 8 Years Ago
      I have one beef with sports cars, they are not everyday cars. You really can not drive to work in them everyday. I sat in Miata and Sky and Mustang, all these cars are very very uncomfortable. My friend is 5'7 his head was touching the roof of Rx-8, elbow room...forget it. These cars look great but they are really weekend cars..........the problem is how many people can afford to buy a car for 25-26-28 Gs that is used 2 times a week. Also many of these sports cars have terrible base models, you really HAVE to buy second or after models. Those cost in mid 20's to early 30's.
      • 8 Years Ago
      67. "If you feel like a man driving a Miata, good for you. If you think you look like a man driving one, think again. Nice job GM." - Justin

      Justin, if you think you look like anything but an idiot poseur driving a Solstice, you're only fooling yourself. Try a REAL sports car not GM's pretty-looking cheap fake ones. GM makes Vettes, so they know how to make real ones... but Solstices definitely ain't it! You sound like you're all of 16 yrs. old. If you pick the Solstice for its "image" over an MX-5 or S2000, you're just the kind of buyer GM is looking for..LMAO!

      Maybe if you spent top dealer gouging dollar, then spent thousands more trying to rectify some of the Sols faults, you might end up with a passible imitation of a sports car... but I doubt it.

      • 8 Years Ago
      "In other news, the S2000 slaughters them both."

      for $10k, or 50% more money......

      or you can get a 23k gxp and destroy the honda
      • 8 Years Ago
      Personally the s2000 is in another class.

      I'd go with the mazda anyday - esp since I keep my cars over 6 years - and don't like headaches, if u know what I mean.

      plus lack of trunk space and the ragtop issues are all bonuses for the mx5.

      wonder why gm didn't use the fiero name instead? maybe its a bad taste in the mouth!

      • 8 Years Ago
      had the miata been called the mx5 from day one, they would have sold twice as many over the lifespan of the car.

      GM must be making money hand over fist on the solstice/sky. i know dealers love them. i wonder if the program has paid for itself yet.

      the solstice sells this well, just imagine how well the coupe (with a trunk and a couple grand off the base price) will do.
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