Suggestion No. 2 – 2014 Ford Mustang Convertible
Pondering America’s original ponycar Hall said “a base Mustang might be in there.” While it can’t match the Mazda’s driving finesse he noted that “a base Mustang is going to be faster than a Miata.”
Like the Nissan, today’s entry-level ‘Stang is powered by a big ol’ V6 engine. It displaces 3.7-liters and delivers 305 hp with 280 lb-ft of torque. Unlike the 370Z, Ford’s Mustang is reasonably fuel efficient, in fact it stickers at 19 miles per gallon city and 29 highway when equipped with the six-speed manual gearbox; the automatic version is even more efficient.
Appropriately, power is routed to the car’s rear wheels the way God intended. But there’s a catch. “It’s got a 1951 truck rear-axle” Hall said, referring of course to the Mustang’s iron log propping up its hindquarters. Despite its crudity the car actually drives pretty well considering what the suspension is comprised of.
On that subject Hall mused about Miata development once again, noting that it actually started with a solid rear axle “but it went away relatively quickly” he said after it became a serious project at the company. That was undoubtedly a wise move because he also mentioned that the spirit of the Miata is “in the chassis.”
Initially Miatas were going to share the RX-7’s transmission and rear end to in a bid to keep capital expenditures to a minimum and profit margins as high as possible. As development continued they were able to design a proper independent rear suspension and according to Hall, overall development for the car “cost less than most people expected.”
Anyway, back to the Mustang; like a Miata it’s pretty affordable as far as convertibles go, with a starting price of right around 28 grand. Interestingly an MX-5 with a retractable hard top is more expensive.
SEE ALSO: 2014 Ford Mustang GT Convertible Review
Unfortunately this Ford is a bit heavier than even the portly 370Z so it really can’t match the Mazda’s dynamics. “It is a friggin’ great Mustang but that doesn’t mean it’s a good Miata,” said Hall, adding that “it’s no swipe at the car because a Mustang isn’t supposed to be a Miata.”
Wrapping things up, he also said “if the next generation car [2015 Mustang] were out it would be a more credible recommendation” since it should be significantly lighter and feature an independent rear suspension.