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

What can I say about the Mazda MX-5 Miata that hasn't been said before? It's the best-selling two-seat sports car in history, with more than 1 million sold around the world. It's been called the answer to everything and the greatest car ever made. We at Roadshow like it so much we have five in our personal-car fleet, and I own two: a 2004 Mazdaspeed Miata and Buddy, my lifted 2001 Miata. Suffice it to say, I love this car.

But the Miata isn't perfect. If you value the latest tech, ergonomic comfort or oodles of storage you'll definitely be disappointed. If you're taller than 6 feet, you'll have a hard time living with one. But if you've made it past these hurdles and are still good to go, you're rewarded with a driving experience like no other.

Weighing in at a svelte 2,339 pounds, the 2021 Miata pushes 181 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque out of its 2.0-liter naturally aspirated engine. Power runs exclusively to the rear wheels, and while you can opt for a six-speed automatic transmission, as far as I'm concerned you are required by law to buy a Miata with the six-speed manual. It's just better.

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The Good ~ Excellent handling ~ Happy, high-revving engine ~ Oodles of smiles per gallon

The Bad ~ Lackluster infotainment ~ Taller drivers are left out of the fun

The Bottom Line The 2021 Mazda MX-5 Miata remains one of the best sports cars you can buy today.

Editors' Rating
  • Performance 9.5
  • Features 8.5
  • Design 8.5
  • Media 6.5

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