TK By Steven Macoy Sales figures for the Mazda MX-5 Miata have run parallel with a couple trends in American motoring. Drivers in the United States remain in the grip of a love affair with sport-utility vehicles, and the MX-5, while undeniably sporty, has about as little utility as you can get. Also affecting MX-5 sales, we suspect, is the aging of the U.S. population. Getting in and out of an MX-5 is a task for the young and supple, not the old and creaky. One thing hasn\u2019t changed, however. No matter your size, shape or agility, once settled into the driver\u2019s seat of an MX-5, the driver can\u2019t help but smile. And when the soft top is down, even the access-egress issue fades away, leaving only sunshine, sweet handling and strong performance. The MX-5 hasn\u2019t changed much since its 2016 redesign. Mazda added some tech features commonly found in most new vehicles nowadays, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Desirable safety tech \u2014 notably, lane-keep warning, blind-spot monitor and rear cross-traffic alert \u2014 are standard in all MX-5s. Otherwise, it\u2019s not much different from the MX-5 we test-drove in 2017. The MX-5 can be had with a soft top or retractable steel roof. This time around, we drove an MX-5 Miata Club with the soft top, and the Brembo\/BBS Recaro Package, a $4,470 option. This package included Brembo brakes, Recaro heated sport seats, and BBS forged 17-inch dark alloy wheels. The seats\u2019 bottom-cushion bolsters lock down the driver and passenger but may be too tight for some drivers \u2014 so anyone shopping for an MX-5 should try the Recaro and standard seats on for size before buying. Our test car, priced at $36,275, came with that rarest of automotive rarities these days \u2014 a 6-speed manual transmission. It was delightful to relive the experience of running through the gears by hand, using Mazda\u2019s smooth-shifter and perfectly balanced clutch. On the highway, the car is fairly noisy inside, but the ride is smooth and the handling pristine. Unlike most of the convertibles we\u2019ve driven, the MX-5 provides good sight lines in every direction. The MX-5 is roomy enough fore and aft for tall drivers and passengers, but there isn\u2019t much space side to side. As we\u2019ve noticed before, cubbyholes and cabinets are scanty, and the biggest one, located in the rear panel between the seatbacks, requires a contortionist\u2019s skills to access while seated in the car. It\u2019s strange that Mazda seemingly has made no attempts to solve this problem, which makes the car unnecessarily hard to live with. The radio controls are less awkward to operate but do require quite a few clicks with the Commander knob. Fuel economy is rated at 26 mpg city, 34 highway - and 26\/35 in models with shiftable automatic transmissions. Mazda recommends the use of premium unleaded gasoline. The base MX-5 Sport starts at $27,525, and the RF version has a base price of $33,990. There\u2019s very little competition in this sector. Similar to the MX-5 is the Fiat Spyder; Toyota and Subaru teamed up to build the Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ. Steven Macoy (email@example.com) is a longtime car enthusiast and full-time editor who lives in Bethel.