By   December 17, 2015

Mazda MX-5 Miata, Subaru BRZ, Nissan GT-R, Nissan 370Z

Import of the Year Nominees

At one time many thought that vehicles produced from Japanese car companies were pieces of junk. That perception has largely changed and now these same automakers produce some very dependable cars.

Beyond daily drivers they all make some very good performance cars. These range from the Mazda MX-5 Miata roadster to the supercar beating Nissan GT-R. Without further hesitation we announce our nominees for our Import Car of the Year.

Mazda MX-5 Miata

The Mazda MX-5 Miata recently received a refresh attempting to get back to its low weight roots. Our verdict is it is near perfect for what it aspires to be. It will take you back to when a sports car was often thought of as a small roadster perfect for back roads. It may only have 155 horsepower, but it provides great handling and it is just a joy to drive.

Nissan GT-R

The Nissan GT-R is rightly called Godzilla. It is a powerful machine that can keep up with and beat many European supercars. Powering the GT-R is a twin-turbocharged V6 engine outputting as much as 600 horsepower in NISMO form. It is an incredible technical machine, but because of this it can leave drivers a little numb compared to other driver’s cars.

Nissan 370Z

The Nissan 370Z offers as much as 350 horsepower from a V6 engine in NISMO form. The car has plenty of performance for its price range and can hit 60 mph from a stop in 5 seconds flat. It has performance to rival the Porsche Boxster, but for a much lower price. While the specs put it in league with more expensive cars many will find that the ride quality leaves something to be desired when not on a smooth road.

Subaru BRZ / Scion FR-S / Toyota GT86

The Subaru BRZ / Scion FR-S / Toyota GT86 is just the same as it was when it was first introduced. A car with rear-wheel drive and a 200 horsepower boxer four-cylinder engine. The layout keeps the center of gravity low and handling is a dream. The Scion FR-S 2.0 refresh was announced, but the changes all had to do with giving the car a more luxurious feel. Most FR-S / BRZ fans were hoping for a turbocharged higher horsepower version, but a factory version is not in the works at this time.

And The Winner Is…

Mazda MX-5 Miata

The new Mazda MX-5 Miata managed beat out the more powerful competition. It may not be able to best many sports cars in a drag race, but it is so well balanced and just plain fun that you quickly forget that it isn’t the fastest car ever made.

It is just a roadster that is hard to drive without a huge smile on your face. The Mazda MX-5 Miata will now be a nominee for our Performance Car of the Year.