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2010 Mazda MX-5

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Mazda MX-5 Review: I sampled my first Mazda Miata in 1992. It offered the charm and fun of the British Austin Healeys of my childhood, reborn in a modern, reliable car. I dropped the top whenever I could and swooned over the experience of blasting along a curving back road. That feeling remains in today’s car. Now in its third generation, the Miata, now known as the MX-5, is still a car that you wear, rather than one you sit in. Driving it with the top down on a nice road can really change your mood.


The original car featured a 120-horsepower, 1.6-liter four cylinder engine moving about 2,100 pounds through the rear wheels. Today’s car uses a 2.0-liter four with today’s high-tech features, to generate 167 horsepower, and the car weighs 2,500 pounds.


The MX-5 engineers have worried over weight from the beginning, using what they call their “gram strategy.” They assess the weight of every component and take out what they can, and it all adds up. Today’s car has an aluminum hood and trunk lid, and ultra high strength steel in some areas, as part of this process.


The Miata’s zero-to-sixty time in 1990 was about 9.4 seconds. And as with the compact Sprites, MG Midgets, and Lotuses, which are the Miata’s spiritual ancestors, speed isn’t what it’s all about, it’s the driving pleasure. Regardless, today’s car, according to Car and Driver, can move from standing still to 60 MPH in just under 6.5 seconds.


The MX-5 earns EPA mileage scores of 21 City and 28 Highway. I averaged 26.5 mpg. Green numbers are 7 for both Air Pollution and Greenhouse Gas, and worthy of a SmartWay designation.


My test car arrived in Competition Yellow paint, which is a safety feature when your car is so low that you’re looking at the wheel center caps of SUVs on the freeway.


As all MX-5’s are convertibles the standard cloth top is easy to operate. Just twist the center knob to unlatch it and pull it back behind you. It snaps down tight, without a boot, and you’re done. It’s entirely possible, after pulling the release lever, to reach back and pull the top back into place, as long as the windows are down. The Power Retractable Hard Top, introduced in 2007, folds into the same space as the standard manual soft top, so it doesn’t rob trunk space and it drops down in just 12 seconds.


Three models span the MX-5 range, all with the same engine. The Sport, available, with a soft top only, features 16-inch alloy wheels, a five-speed manual transmission, an AM/FM/CD with six speakers and power windows and mirrors. You can add the convenience package, which includes cruise control, keyless entry, power locks, trip computer, and more.


The Touring model incorporating the Convenience Package’s features as standard, moves to 17-inch wheels and upgrades to a six–speed manual transmission. You can order the hard top and the Suspension Package, which includes Bilstein shocks and a limited slip differential.


The Grand Touring model, like my tester, brings in the leather seats, automatic climate control and an upgraded Bose audio system. All models offer an optional six-speed automatic with paddle shifters on the steering wheel.


Driving an MX-5 is glorious. There’s the wind in your hair, but it won’t blow off your hat. A wind-blocking aero board pops up between the hoops over the seats to keep air from flowing back into the car, so peace reigns, even at freeway speeds.


Steering is deliciously precise and the stubby shifter feels directly connected to the engine. The best ride is out in the country, where you hear only the sound of the car and no traffic din. Mazda’s engineers have worked over the years to create the right sporty sound from the engine. In the early cars, the fuel-injected power plant was tuned to mimic the sound of dual-carbureted sports cars of the 1960s.


Today, a lightweight plastic intake manifold transmits certain frequencies that match the classic sports car sound profile, and filters out “undesirable” sounds. Manual-equipped 2010 models employ an “Induction Sound Enhancer.” This seems a little artificial to me, but it certainly works great.


The original Miata started at $13,800. Today’s MX-5 starts at $22,810 for the Sport model, with the Touring at $25,150 and the Grand Touring at $26,410. Add $750 to those numbers for transportation. According to Wikipedia, $13,800 in 1990 dollars, adjusted for inflation, is $24,100 in 2008 dollars, so the MX-5 is keeping pace.


My Grand Touring, with the Suspension and Premium packages, came to $29,310. The MX-5 has moved with the times, but its essence remains pure. With 850,000 cars now sold, it’s the most popular sports car ever made, and it’s still a Miata to me.

By Steve Schaefer © AutoWire.Net - San Francisco


The Bottom Line: The 2010 Mazda MX-5 adds another chapter to the Miata story, taking it into the new century as an updated and refined convertible that has the soul of the original Miata and the heart of a modern car. With 3 trim levels and 3 price points there is an MX-5 for everyone’s budget, and you get the full fun factor with all of them. Nothing beats a top down ride on a sunny day, and the new MX-5 does it with style and grace at a price point everyone can afford who wants a great all around sports car.

Bottom Line Review provided by: Tony Leopardo © AutoWire.Net


The 2010 Mazda MX-5 Review provided by:  Tony Leopardo © AutoWire.Net  “Tony the Car Guy” is an automotive writer, editor and publisher in the San Francisco Bay Area. If you have a question or comment for Tony send it to or visit AutoWire.Net at - And remember: “ You Are What You Drive ”


Mazda Home Page

Column Name: The MX-5 a great all around sports car

Topic: The 2010 Mazda MX-5 Grand Touring

Word Count: 1028

Photo Caption: The 2010 Mazda MX-5

Photo Credits: Mazda MX-5 Internet Media

Series #:  2010 - 38

Download the Microsoft Word version here:   2010 Mazda MX-5

Download the Original Image File here:   2010 Mazda MX-5








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