The Mazda MX-5, formerly and commonly known as the Miata, is like a guilty pleasure for motorists.
It's nice looking, in hardtop or softtop form, lightweight, agile and so much fun to drive.
It's just not very practical. And if you ever have the misfortune of sharing the exact same space at the same time with a larger vehicle, you more than likely will absorb a pretty damaging blow.
But for sheer enjoyment at an affordable price, the 2009 MX-5 is a winner.
The MX-5 has gotten a few refreshes for this model year, most notably a sound-enhancer system that gives the engine a better growl but doesn't raise the volume.
Also, the transmission now has a higher top-gear ratio, which improves fuel-economy, and horsepower increases by one notch, to 167.
It's a car that seems to really appreciate being driven in a spirited fashion.
It is capable of breaking into a sprint with little hesitation, and its 140 pounds-feet of torque might not, on paper, knock your socks off, but on the road, it is quite formidable.