The Question is this: What is the winter-ready daily driver alternative to the Miata?
2-doors, maybe even 2 seats. Fixed roof allowable, as convertibles and winter are not likely playmates, but not a big huge chassis and body that isn't needed for commuting for one or two people.
Modest weight and relatively nimble handling.
Reliable, fun, and affordable.
But with a bit of ground clearance, and preferably with full-time AWD traction.
Not much is coming to mind, and I don't count the Wrangler, which is an off-road crawler, more than an on-road AWD independent-suspension machine that can handle a curvy road when the pavement is dry.
The pictured Miata isn't mine, but the snow is relevant. The Miata has been getting a lot less use, because we have had 4 significant snowstorms in barely more than as many weeks, even this late in the season. Ice, re-freeze, blowing snow, black ice... icy snow being piled up by snow plows, and ruts on the streets... Ice-heaved pavement and wheel-swallowing pot-holes even when the snow cover is temporarily gone.
The Subarus are suffering for it... the suspensions are beaten into submission, and the SVX's wheel bearings and drivetrain are really starting to complain about it. The Legacy is rattling more than ever with bushings beaten to death.
So today, the Miata came out of the garage, since the roads are mostly clear again, and the forecast is finally back into the 40s, and above freezing all day.
It was a nice drive this morning. But It makes me wonder... What would be a good year-round, nasty-weather-superiority alternative to the Miata, as a driver's car for every day of the year?