Sedans & Coupes

All But 1 Roadster Excelled in Consumer Reports’ Testing

There’s something romantic about getting behind the wheel of a two-seat convertible. That’s why it’s no surprise that so many car lovers opt to drive convertible roadsters rather than more extravagant sports cars.

There are several fantastic new convertible roadster options available on the market, and deciding which one is right for you can be challenging. Just about every roadster has similar styling and offers an exciting driving experience. So, does one model stand apart from the others?

Consumer Reports conveniently ranked the newest iterations of this beloved segment. Three models were closely ranked at the top, while one roadster dwindled near the bottom. Notably, the publication did not test the Mercedes-Benz SLC.

Which convertible roadsters should shoppers put on their wish list, and which one should they avoid? Let’s take a look at what Consumer Reports had to say about each of these models.

Unsurprisingly, the 2021 Mazda MX-5 Miata takes the top spot

An orange Mazda Miata parked near the side of the road surrounded by smoke
The 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata | Photo via Mazda

Reasons are abundant why Mazda’s roadster is a favorite among gearheads. Its fun driving dynamics and affordable starting price is quite enticing to just about any driver.

A 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine powers this 2,341-pound two-seater. Shoppers can mate this powerplant to either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission, and it kicks out 181 hp and 151 lb-ft of torque.

Consumer Reports raved about just how exciting this little car is to drive. It gave the 2021 Mazda MX-5 Miata an overall score of 87/100. But even more impressive was the Miata’s perfect scores in predicted reliability and predicted ownership satisfaction, helping it stand out from the rest of the class.

“There isn’t a better fun-per-dollar performance car on the market that delivers the Miata’s magic,” Consumer Reports said in its review of the Mazda Miata.

Two luxury cars meet in the middle

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In such a small segment, it’s not a bad thing to be stuck in the middle. The 2021 Porsche 718 Boxster (83/100) and 2021 BMW Z4 (79/100) trail behind the Miata in Consumer Reports roadster ratings. However, it’s important to note that both models actually performed better in the publication’s road test than Mazda’s roadster.

The 2021 Porsche 718 Boxster is a fascinating case. Consumer Reports noted a 0-60 MPH time of just 4.4 seconds, which smokes the rest of the competition. The 2021 BMW Z4 has the next fastest acceleration time, coming in at a leisurely 6.1 seconds.

Consumer Reports gave both of these roadsters identical scores in predicted reliability (3/5) and ownership satisfaction (4/5). While these ratings are quite admirable, they don’t match the standard set by the 2021 Mazda MX-5 Miata. Additionally, these luxury cars cost an arm and a leg more than the frugal Miata.

The 2020 Fiat 124 Spider brings up the rear

A black and silver 2020 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth driving on a highway
The 2020 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth in action | Photo via Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

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This entry may surprise some car enthusiasts. The similarities between the Mazda Miata and Fiat 124 Spider are undeniable. So, how can these cars be on the polar opposite ends of the spectrum?

The 2020 Fiat 124 Spider shares an abundance of traits with the 2021 Mazda MX-5 Miata. However, it fails to deliver the same thrilling driving experience. Instead, it’s more of a stylish Sunday driver. The 2020 Fiat 124 Spider is longer and utilizes a different powertrain than the 2021 Mazda MX-5 Miata.

Consumer Reports gave the 2020 Fiat 124 Spider an overall score of just 32/100. Fiat’s roadster actually fared quite well in the road test (76/100). But its predicted reliability (1/5) and predicted ownership satisfaction (2/5) ratings tanked its standing.