By Nitish S. Rele

More than 900,000 of the “Best-Selling Two-Seater Sports Car,” which is celebrating its silver anniversary this year, have been sold. Really no tribute can be enough and fair for the entertaining Mazda MX-5 Miata. Even after 25 years, top-down motoring enthusiasts have a blast going down the highway or tackling the daily driving rigors in this fine, tossable convertible.

Power is derived from a 2.0-liter DOHC inline-4 cylinder engine, which makes 158 horsepower at 6,700 rpm and 140 lbs.-ft. of torque at 5,000 rpm. A 6-speed auto gearbox delivers flawless shifts. Guiding the sprightly rear-wheel-drive car is a direct and accurate electronic power-assist, rack-and-pinion steering system. Best of all, the power retractable hard top (PRHT) opens or closes in a mere 15 seconds.

Ensconced on a monocoque, unibody structure are inboard-mounted halogen headlights flanked by a chrome-sprinkled five-point grille, sculpted triangular fog lamp bezels and body-colored bumpers. Keeping true to the MX-5 tradition are the four circular air vents, arched hood over the T-shaped instrument panel and a black center stack. The driver’s seat height adjuster will be a plus point for multiple drivers in the family. Also standard are auto a/c, power windows and door locks, leather on the seats, shifter, three-spoke tilt steering wheel and hand brake, mesh aero board wind blocker, driver information center and a sizeable rear center console bin.

Dual front and side airbags, stability and traction control systems, four-wheel antilock brakes with Electronic Brake Distribution, three-point seatbelts with pretensioners and force limiters, side impact door beams, anti-theft engine immobilizer, remote keyless entry and tire pressure monitoring system are standard.

For 2016, Mazda promises a lighter (by 220 lbs.) next-gen MX-5 with a revised suspension, steering and a stiffer chassis. Till then, open-air motoring enthusiasts can enjoy the familiar but exhilarating ride in the current model. Happy birthday, Miata.

Test drive the MX-5 Miata at Ferman Mazda of Brandon located at 9809 Adamo Dr. in Tampa.

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