Mazda is giving away 50 of its 2020 Mazda MX-5 Miatas to honor individuals who have made contributions to their community during the Covid-19 pandemic. The popular two-seater will be outfitted with a 100th Anniversary Special Edition trim, a nod to the Japanese automaker’s century of building cars.
The winners of the program, aptly named “Mazda Heroes: Honoring the Human Spirit,” will each receive the commemorative Miata that’s based on the fourth-generation 2020 MX-5 Grand Touring, which sits at the top of the lineup. The winners were nominated by peers for using creative thinking to selflessly protect high-risk individuals from coronavirus exposure.
Mazda chose to giveaway the limited-run version of it’s top-selling coupe because of its deep ties to Mazda’s design and engineering history. Additionally, the selfless acts of the chosen “Heroes” align with omotenashi, the Japanese way of putting other’s needs first and a value that’s highly regarded within the brand’s culture.
Mazda arrived in the U.S. in 1970 and didn’t gain much notoriety until 1978 when it launched its RX-7 coupe, an affordable sports car that was also fun to drive. The MX-5 Miata debuted for the 1989 model year and embodied Mazda’s mission to capture the spirit of British roadsters, but with improved reliability.
The first-generation Miata was powered by a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine paired to a five-speed manual transmission that delivered 115 horsepower. Initially it was available only in matte red, white or blue, and with a removable hardtop. Despite its modest power output, it quickly cultivated a fanbase.
The Miata became so popular that for each milestone year, Mazda released special edition models with exclusive mechanical parts and tuning as well as distinct exterior colors. The ten-year anniversary Miata came in Innocent Blue Mica. For the 20th year, Mazda swapped to Aurora Blue Mica and added True Red and Crystal White Pearl Mica. Mazda marked the 30-year celebration with a departure from the patriotic palette in favor of Racing Orange.
The 100th Anniversary trim comes in Snowflake White Pearl Mica as a retractable fast-top or with a red soft top. Exclusive “100 Year” badges also are sprinkled throughout the exterior design. Inside, the Miata’s boasts red leather seats and floor mats–something Mazda said pays tribute to the R360 Coupe, the automaker’s first passenger car that debuted in 1960. The 100 Year badge also is used throughout the interior.
Under the hood is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that can be mated to either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission with paddle shifters. The zippy powertrain produces 181 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. Miatas outfitted with the manual transmission will have a limited-slip differential, Bilstein dampers, a front shock tower brace, sport-tuned suspension. RF versions will sport a black roof. Like the regular Grand Touring trim, the limited-run Miata will have Apple CarPlay and Android compatibility, a Bose premium audio system and 17-inch dark grey wheels.
The 2020 MX-5 Miata is on sale now and costs $33,615 (including a $915 destination fee) when configured with the six-speed manual transmission and soft top. The hard top is an additional $2,755. The six-speed automatic transmission with the soft top is priced at $34,140, and the hard top adds $2,555.
Though winners will be announced throughout December, the first three to be honored are Triana Davis, a teacher from Byram, Mississippi who developed custom curriculum to improve the online learning environment for her students; Jason Erdreich, a teacher from Randoph, New Jersey, who used 3-D printers to make personal protective equipment for the transition back to in-school learning; and Christie Purviance, an ICU Nurse from The Woodlands, Texas, who displayed exceptional compassion for her patients during long 15-hour shifts at the hospital where she works.
Mazda will be sharing more of the winners’ stories on www.MazdaUSA.com/mazda-heroes.