Mazda MX-5 Miata Review: Best Convertible?
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During the '50s, '60s, and '70s, roadsters made by Triumph, Lotus, and MG provided no-frills fun for the driving public.
These lightweight vehicles featured rear-wheel drive, quick handling, and open-top motoring — making every drive a joy, no matter the speed or distance.
But as time went on and regulations changed, gradually convertible sports cars became heavier and more complex, losing some unique qualities that made them so great.
But Mazda recaptured the roadster spirit when introducing the soft-top MX-5 Miata in 1989.
Since then, Mazda has continually updated the two-seater Miata's design, now in its fourth generation and designated as the ND.
What makes this Mazda sports car so pleasing to drive? How much does a Mazda convertible cost?
Here's our Mazda MX-5 Miata review and why it's such an excellent convertible.
Mazda MX-5: trim levels and what's new
The Mazda MX-5 Miata comes in five trim levels:
- Mazda Miata Sport — $28,315 MSRP
- Mazda Miata Club — $31,815 MSRP
- Mazda Miata Grand Touring — $33,315 MSRP
- Mazda Miata Grand Touring RF — $36,015 MSRP
- Mazda Miata Club RF — $39,215 MSRP
In 2022, Mazda removed the option for a six-speed automatic transmission from most models, with it only offered on Grand Touring trims as a $500 option.
Mazda added Kinematic Posture Control for handling, which administers light braking force to the inside rear wheel during cornering, reducing roll and improving balance.
A new Platinum Quartz Metallic paint finish is available for extra style and panache as you cruise backroads and boulevards. And optional Terra Cotta Nappa leather upholstery provides a rich environment on all your drives.
The Mazda MX-5 Miata RF comes with an innovative retractable hardtop that lets you have the best of both worlds, depending on your mood. The Miata RF resembles an attractive hardtop coupe with the top positioned up. But with the hardtop folded away, you have an open-air roadster ready for exhilarating country drives.
For the most performance-oriented Miata, the Club models include pieces like 17-inch alloy wheels, a Bose audio system, Bilstein shocks, limited-slip differential, and a shock tower brace. Club RF models add standard Recaro seats, BBS wheels, and Brembo brakes.
Even if you buy a used MX-5 Miata, you'll still drive away in a highly competent sports car similar to the 2022 model. The current ND Miata debuted for the 2015 model year, so there's plenty to choose from on the pre-owned market.
When you're looking for a pre-owned vehicle like Mazda’s MX-5 sports car, buying used instead of new can save you thousands. But finding one in excellent shape can be a hassle. Driving around town and looking at different pre-owned vehicles is time-consuming and may not be productive.
Even if an advertisement looks nice, how can you know a used car isn't hiding mechanical issues? And stressful negotiation often takes the fun out of buying a new-to-you vehicle. But when you buy a pre-owned car from Shift, you don't have to worry about any of that.
You can buy any of Shift's cars directly online from the comfort of your home, know it has no hidden issues (from our 150-point inspection) and get a fair, up-front price. Shift's website has a large selection of fully inspected cars located across the country that are ready to go.
The website is user-friendly, and you'll be able to find various makes and models to suit your needs and budget. Whether you want a Porsche, Subaru, Toyota, or Honda, Shift has what you need.
Mazda MX-5 engine and performance
The 2022 Mazda MX-5 uses a perky and quick 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine with 181 horsepower and 151 lb-ft of torque. The Miata's low curb weight of approximately 2,400 lbs can achieve a rapid 0-60 mph time of only 5.7 seconds, putting it on par with many world-class sports cars.
2015 to 2017 versions of the Miata feature a slightly less powerful version of the same engine with 155 horsepower and 148 lb-ft of torque. But you'll still experience exhilarating performance due to the MX-5's compact size and low weight.
The Mazda MX-5 blends performance with excellent gas mileage, obtaining an EPA-rated 26 mpg city and 34 mpg highway when equipped with a six-speed manual transmission.
Adept handling is the Mazda MX-5's strong suit, with responsive steering and suspension that strikes a nice balance between tautness and ride quality.
Club trims add stiffer springs and shocks for flatter cornering and more composure during spirited drives if you're after a racier performance.
Whichever model you decide on, the Miata MX-5 brings sophistication with all the fun of go-karting wherever you go.
Mazda MX-5 interior
The MX-5 features an interior designed around the driving experience, with supportive seating and no-frills functionality.
There's particular emphasis on positioning the pedals, steering wheel, and gauges for optimum inputs and information like revs, miles per hour, and engine temperature.
Even though the MX-5 focuses on driving fun, it still offers convenience and connectivity with a touchscreen infotainment system that features Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Bluetooth.
The Grand Touring model adds standard navigation for reassurance wherever you drive.
While storage capacity isn't the Miata's strong suit, there's enough room to pack bags for a weekend getaway or a quick trip to the grocery store.
2021 Mazda MX-5 Miata (from $29,950)
Mazda MX-5 Miata review in summary
The Mazda MX-5 Miata offers a fun driving experience that harkens back to roadsters of the past with its lightweight, convertible top and athletic handling.
Mazda offers a wide selection of trim levels that cater to different needs, whether you're more focused on comfort or the utmost driving performance.
The Miata RF models feature an attractive folding hardtop that gives you the all-weather protection of a fixed roof and the convertible's open-air thrills.
A peppy four-cylinder engine provides spirited acceleration and excellent fuel economy, so you can enjoy backroad jaunts and then cruise home without needing to stop at the pump.
And with its driver-focused interior, the MX-5 Miata makes you feel like a race car driver, with the steering wheel, pedals, and gauges all purposefully positioned for enhanced inputs and involvement.
Since the current edition of the MX-5 Miata debuted in the 2015 model year, plenty are available at substantial savings compared to new versions.
When it’s time for a new-to-you vehicle like a pre-owned Mazda MX-5 Miata sports car, you’ll probably want to sell your old vehicle. But that can be a time-consuming hassle, and how can you know if you receive fair value? But when selling your vehicle to Shift, there's no need to worry about any of that.
All you'll have to do is enter the make, model, year, and mileage on Shift's easy-to-use website, and you'll instantly receive a purchase offer that's valid for seven days.
You can get a fair offer, better than at the dealership, driven by powerful machine learning algorithms and tons of data. And with Shift, there is no need to spend the extra time waxing and washing the car. A little dirt won’t affect the quote as we fully detail the cars ourselves anyway before listing them for sale.
2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata (from $21,950)
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All prices are based on vehicle availability and pricing as of
April 22, 2022
Pricing shown is not guaranteed and does not include taxes or other product fees.