Could Mazda Be a Solution to Making Honda Great Again?
For me personally, Honda was at its greatest around the year 2000 or so. You had the Civic Si coupe that was tearing up the streets — and the subsequent refreshed sedan that wasn’t too bad either. The NSX was still in production, though without popup headlights. Plus, the glorious Honda S2000 was on sale. When it comes to authentic sports cars, not much was better than the Honda S2000, especially at the time.
For many years now Honda has been S2000-less. Sure, it had a good run and went out with a bang featuring the CR version with the big wing, but sales were rapidly declining towards the end. However, the car will always hold a special place in my heart because I personally owned a 2004 version with the Silverstone exterior and the two-tone red and black interior. Not only was it the greatest car I’ve ever owned, but it’s still one of the greatest cars I’ve ever driven — and I drive some pretty epic stuff these days.
Every chance I can I hound Honda about making a replacement to the car. We’ve seen renderings and heard rumors about a forthcoming roadster from Honda, but nothing official. Though, the people that I do talk to would absolutely love to have a proper sports car back in the product portfolio.
How could they do it and still do it economically? I have a solution. Recruit the folks at Mazda to help!
Before you call me absolutely insane, hear me out. The ND, 4th-generation Mazda MX-5 Miata is one of the greatest little cars on sale today. While it’s down in power from the previous S2000, it’s just as roomy (or roomier), and is still the benchmark for a proper roadster. Mazda also has shown that they’re willing to work with other automakers. The Fiat 124 Spider is a prime example of that.
While the 124 Spider is basically a Mazda Miata underneath, there are some key differences that actually makes the 124 Spider feel like a completely different car than the Miata. The main difference is, of course, the engine. Fiat’s 1.4L turbocharged engine replaces Mazda’s 2.0L naturally-aspirated engine.
The same thing could apply to a Honda-badged version. Honda could use their turbocharged engine, preferably from the Civic Si that we’ll see debut at the Los Angeles auto show in a couple of weeks, which would be just the right amount of horsepower for the ND chassis.
Obviously mate it to a 6-speed manual transmission as the default transmission — but make an automatic available so people will actually buy it — and you’d have the makings for a pretty fun little car that is uniquely Honda.
Honda, of course, would also design the exterior in the same way that Fiat is allowed to design the exterior of the 124 Spider. Seriously Honda and Mazda, you’re welcome!
Honda is doing pretty well these days, with the CR-V being a strong seller, the new Civic being pretty awesome, and the Ridgeline that’s genuinely impressive, the company might not need a roadster in its lineup. But gosh I wish they’d bring one back, and this is just one possible way for them to make it happen.