Miata vs. Solstice
In 1989, Mazda released a car that changed automobile design for the next 30 years. The release of the Mazda Miata was a moment of absolute joy for drivers who desired a two-seater convertible that didn’t spend the majority of its time in the auto shop. Prior to the release of the Miata, the only options were European roadsters like the MGB, Triumph, and Alfa Romeo. These classic convertibles offered absolutely no competition to the Miata because they all had serious problems with reliability. For 17 years, the Mazda Miata dominated the two-door convertible roadster market, until Pontiac made its mark with the Solstice in 2006.
Popular Car from Day One
Once the Miata was released it immediately drew the attention of car critics everywhere. In 1990, the car received its first major recognition, appearing on the Car & Driver 10 Best Cars of the Year. It appeared on the list a total of 14 times – a number matched by Chevrolet Corvette and exceeded by the Honda Accord. The fun little car never won the Motor Trend Car of the Year award, but it usually received some kind of recognition each year.
Best Selling Car in Its Class Until…
Due to the cost, style, and reliability, the Miata was annually the top selling two-seater convertible until 2006, when the Pontiac Solstice surprisingly took over the top spot. After 17 solid years as the best seller in its class, the Miata was knocked to second when Pontiac sold nearly 3,000 more of Solstice convertibles than Mazda did in 2006.
Why So Popular So Quickly
How did Pontiac sell so many Solstices in 2006? Mazda and its fans have been confused by this one-time fluke. Mazda has worked hard to keep Miata fans loyal. Miata clubs exist all over the world and most clubs have regular events to keep members connected and busy. It is difficult to imagine Miata owners leaving their roadsters behind for a domestic convertible. So, the Pontiac Solstice must have brought new convertible owners to the market.
Accolades and Sticker Price
The Pontiac Solstice received a significant award in its first year: the Automobile Magazine Design of the Year. The Solstice also earned the honor of being one of a few cars that went from concept to production with no noticeable alterations. The car was originally priced under $20,000, which was slightly lower than the Miata’s sticker price. The Solstice is also slightly larger than the micro-sized Miata, which may have drawn in more men who need more leg room. Despite the fact that so many reviews panned the Pontiac interior and exterior trunk design, a significant number of people are driving the most innovative American two-seated car released since the Pontiac Fiero in 1984.