Ok, so both are better, but how? Well, the $27,050 MS Miata is quicker, due to a new turbocharged engine that applies 178-hp to only 2500 pounds. Handling has been improved as well, toughened up to handle the pony increase while still maintaining the nimble feeling cherished by the legion of Miata loyalists. It's also simple: the power top is easy to operate, there's only one option (cosmetic changes to the seats and top), and no intrusive traction control is offered. Honda's S2000, by contrast, has been sedated— the engine displacement has been upped by 0.2 liters, to 2.2, in order to make its power available at a lower rpm. Although the previous engine was also rated at 240-hp, it took a 6,000+ rpm flogging to extract those equines. So now it's possible to stay in one gear a little longer and enjoy the flexible powerband instead of worrying about being in the correct rpm range. Besides the engine tweak, the S2000 gets larger wheels to put more rubber on the road, and the excellent fit-and-finish of the old S2000 is thankfully carried over. At just over $33K, it's still a bargain.

Correction: the Mazda's top isn't power operated. It's manual only. Thanks to Chris for pointing out my lousy reading comprehension.


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