2015 Mazda MX-5 Miata
Over those 25 years, the Miata has been a fabulous roadster with an abundance of charisma and charm.
The new MX-5 has a gaping mouth with fixed headlamps that is an evolution of the original Miata. It gives the MX-5 an identity that is as uncommon as the car itself. A long hood stretches to the windshield with small doors that open wide. The rear end is not exactly short, but it allows enough space for roof stowage and a small trunk. The trunk lid opens high for 5.3 cubic feet of space for a couple of bags for the weekend.
Our tester came with a power retractable hardtop in the Grand Touring trim. When the roof is down, it folds into its own compartment between the cabin and the trunk. It takes about 15 seconds for the roof to retract into this compartment. When the roof comes back up, it creates a racing look covering the cabin perfectly. The Grand Touring model adds seventeen-inch alloys to complete this look.
You might be curious weather this roadster is actually comfortable to drive. Once the leather seats “know” you well enough, it most certainly is. The seats are firm, but are bolstered enough to keep you in place. Taller drivers may have a few challenges, such as headroom when the hardtop roof is up and having the windshield cut off at eye level when the roof is down.
But, looking beyond those items, the optimal experience is with the roof down. You have open sky above and better comfort for everyone. The instrumentation is analog and comprehensive and the switches are basic. There are a few twists to the MX-5. To open up the gas compartment, the switch is located in the small storage cubby in-between the seats toward the rear.
With the roof open or closed, there also is plenty of entertainment to keep you going. It starts with an audio system that features satellite radio and Bluetooth phone connection. Bose provides seven speakers of sound throughout its small cabin. You also get air conditioning and heated seats in the Grand Touring version—both will come in handy for this all-season roadster.
How does it drive? Amazingly. There is a complete sense of purity that combines raw power, immaculate handling and steering and a ride that is balanced and unexpected from a roadster.
It starts with the MZR 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. It will rev to the redline with the perfect note coming from its exhaust. If you have this connected to a six-speed manual, it offers up 167 horsepower. In our tester, it came with the six-speed automatic transmission and an output of 158 horsepower.
Regardless of transmission, the best way to describe this engine is “alive.” The power-to-weight ratio helps in getting the MX-5 the best possible performance in every situation. Power is sent to the rear wheels on all MX-5 Miatas.
If you have never driven a MX-5 Miata, you are missing out on something special. The way it handles corners is remarkable. It does so without any roll or lean—completely flat out. The steering is sharp and will go exactly where you point the MX-5. Steering effort is exact and on-center feel is perfect. Brakes are sharp and react well in normal and panic situations.
The biggest surprise about the MX-5 is its ride. One would expect a firm, jarring ride from a sports car. Not at all. It is comfortable, compliant and absorbent. The way the suspension handles cracks and bumps is astounding. There is true balance between ride and handling in the Grand Touring MX-5.
By reputation, Mazda’s MZR engines never got high fuel economy. However, this MX-5 tester yielded a fuel economy average of 25.8 MPG.
To get into a MX-5, all you need is $24,765 for a basic Sport soft top with a manual gearbox. The Grand Touring power hardtop sits at the opposite end of the MX-5 spectrum. As equipped, this example stickered at $32,735 equipped with the Premium Package.
Driving a Mazda MX-5 Miata is truly a special event. It is a celebration of excellent road manners, power-to-weight ratio and the absolute fun of top-down motoring. Does it have to be practical and full of everything we expect in all other vehicles? Absolutely not. It is for those who love the road and want something rewarding to own for years to come.
This is indeed cause for a celebration!