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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
TonyLeo@pacbell.net or visit AutoWire.Net at
www.autowire.net - 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
Photo Credits: Mazda
MX-5 Internet Media
Series #: 2010 - 38
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2010 Mazda MX-5
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2010 Mazda MX-5