Mazda MX-5 Miata

The 2009 Mazda MX-5 Miata, or just Miata, as it's more commonly known, comes with a 166-horsepower, 2.0L 4-cylinder engine, matched with a standard 5-speed manual transmission and rear-wheel drive. A 6-speed manual is standard on top Touring, Grand Touring and Special Edition models, and a 6-speed Sport automatic that includes paddle-shifters beside the steering wheel is available on all but the base SV.

The engine is mounted rather far back to ensure a good weight balance, and it uses a modern aluminum block with chain-driven overhead camshafts, plus variable intake valve timing for better low- and mid-rev response. At least 90 percent of engine torque is available from 2500 rpm up to 6700.

The Miata's driving experience is unlike most other vehicles available, with its exceptionally light weight, tight suspension, direct steering, rev-happy engine, and short-throw shifter combining to create a very direct driving experience that gives a feel of open-air speed without actually having to break the law.

The Miata comes with a standard manual-folding soft top with a centrally located latch handle to make it easy and quick. There's also a Power Retractable Hard Top model, which adds a weather-tight folding hard top that opens or closes in only 12 seconds.

The Miata soft top is available in SV, Sport, Touring, Grand Touring and Special Edition trim, while the power hard-top model is offered in Sport, Touring and Grand Touring trim. The SV model, which only comes with a manual transmission, is very basic, with no air conditioning or power accessories. At the top of the range, the Grand Touring model does come very well equipped, with air conditioning, remote keyless entry, cruise control, leather heated seats, a 6-disc CD changer and power windows, locks, and mirrors all on the standard equipment list.

A Premium Package on the Grand Touring model adds a keyless entry and start system, electronic stability control, an alarm system, and HID headlights. Other noteworthy options include satellite radio and a limited-slip rear differential.

Editors' Review

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Roadshow editors love the Miata, and for good reason. Mazda's plucky little roadster is one of the greatest sports cars ever. Four of our editors own MX-5s, and every time I get behind the wheel of one, I'm tempted to become the fifth.

The Miata got a number of updates for the 2019 model year, including more power and torque. Reviews editor Antuan Goodwin recently tested a loaded GT-S model, but for the sake of this review, I'm curious to see how the Miata's oomph matches up with the Club model's slightly quicker reflexes.

Satisfying power

The Miata is powered by a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine sending 181 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque to the rear wheels through either a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic. The 2019 model has 26 more horsepower and 3 more pound-feet of torque than last year's car, and Antuan's review goes into great detail about all the cool stuff Mazda engineers did to achieve that power and torque bump. Unlike the Subaru BRZ and Toyota 86, which could use some more low-end power, the Miata, with its newfound vigor, feels just right.

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The Good The 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata offers one of the greatest driving experiences you can buy today at any price.

The Bad The Club variant places comfort on the back burner, and that sullys the Miata's addictiveness. The infotainment is clunky, too.

The Bottom Line Unless you’ll be hitting the track regularly, consider other Miata models.

Editors' Rating
  • Performance 9
  • Features 8.5
  • Design 9
  • Media 6.5

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