The Mazda Miata has been a staple on the roadways now for about the past twenty five years and it hardly seems fair to put a “newbie” vehicle up against it, but it seems as if the Mini Cooper has been making some great progress since it first came into existence back in 2005. Of course, if you change your perspective, you have to wonder if it’s a level playing field to compare an exciting new vehicle against an old and, well, possibly dated staple like the Miata is started to come across as. The 2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata has had some facelifts though and this particular model has been on the market since 2005, just like the Mini Cooper.
While the 2012 Mini Cooper S Roadster is dubbed as being a bit on the stubby looking side, especially in contrast to the 2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata, the folding soft top adds a more endearing appeal, especially when the top is down. It is heavier and more expensive than the Miata, but the latest version has been given some better proportions, improved visibility and overall more organic appeal.
The 2012 Mini Cooper S Roadster, with all the bells and whistles has a sticker price of $33,500 and a fully loaded 2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata is a bit less at $32,020. With both of them including all the bells and whistles, the Miata comes across as austere, which some people might prefer over the Cooper’s retro-steeped cabin. Of course the Miata is less expensive and has a less expensive feeling to the interior with less soft plastics for comfort and less storage space. It does have an ergonomic feeling to it though.
Despite the Miata having more years to develop a firm driving experience, it seems the critics prefer the Cooper for handling. Editor Ewing sums it up with this note, “The Mini’s better low-end punch allows you to hold gears for longer amounts of time, whereas you have to be careful about gear selection in the Miata to make sure to get the most of the available horsepower.”