I have always like Mazda’s, but never truly realized their driving potential. Sure, the Speed3 and others are fun to drive, but they still are too big. Looking for a smaller car, and a convertible to boot, I came across the Mazda MX-5, otherwise known as the Miata. Now most say this is a girl’s car, but I doubt those bow-tie Camaro driving “men” can truly understand and appreciate what this car has to offer.
Interior: Most of the time with Road Reviews, I focus on style, then functionality. However, it is the other way around with the MX-5. This car is very similar to others, like the BMW Z3-Z4, and the late Honda S2000. However, I believe it is the best of the others.
The gauges are a breeze to see and read, in any kind of light. They might seem a little cluttered at first, especially with all of the red lighting, but it is the best color for all conditions. The dashboard and buttons are also very easy to find and use. Very few of them, and they are right at your fingertips. Other cars would rather have glossy gauges and other items to make the interior look better, but you loose visibility in direct sunlight. You also get to see a pretty good amount of leather and other materials besides plastic, which is well-welcomed.
The MX-5 can fit pretty much anyone in the car. I am 6’3”, and I fit fine. The windshield is a bit low, so for larger people, you might have to slouch a bit.
Exterior: The MX-5 has a very subtle exterior. No flashy gadgets, no crazy chrome, no huge headlights. Only the basics. You can choose between a soft-top and hard-top convertible. The soft-top will save you space and weight, which is what most driving enthusiasts want. However, I would recommend the hard-top, but that is just me.
With the MX-5 being as small as it is, the top actually folds up behind the seats, rather than in the trunk, leaving plenty of space behind. And because of the small size, the hard-top only adds about 300 lbs.
Hardware:A/C and heat are fine, especially for a smaller car. The radio is also fine, but like always, I would go with the better satellite radio. The Mx-5 comes in the soft-top or hard-top convertible. There is about a $5,000 difference, but the hard-top is only available in the top 2 of the 3 trims offered.
All buttons and knobs are within easy reach, plus they work great and are easy to use. The steering is the best in the business. It is not powered, so you may need to muscle it a bit, but it offers the most direct feeling.
Powertrain: Powered by a 2.0 Liter Inline 4 (I4), it pumps out 167 HP and 140 Lb/Ft of torque. The automatic gets only 158 HP. However, the power is transferred by the recommended 6-speed short throw manual or 6-speed automatic. The soft-top sport trim gets a 5-speed. Feeding premium gas into this engine, it gets 21/28 MPG City/Highway. Not great, but pretty good for a sports car. When you get passed 5,000 RPM, the car sounds amazing.
Overall: This is a true sports car. No rev-matching from a 370Z, no expensive materials from a BMW Z4, no road noise from a Honda S2000, just pure driving. Only you, the engine, 4 tires, and the road.
To give this car a 1-10, it deserves an amazing 10 and more. Why the 10? I couldn’t find a single problem with the car, plus you get the reliability from Mazda, and a great driving experience.
Thanks to: Mazda Dealership of Medford, NY for the extended test drive and best model.