One happy roadster

2.0-liter engine

Quick, but not fast

HID headlamps

Suspension package

Not much of a Grand Tourer

Manual soft top

How's that for headroom

Macho Miata

Low is the only way to go

A usable trunk

A functional cabin

Bose audio

Manual transmission

Instrumentation

Steering wheel controls

Pure driving experience

The MX-5 gets a styling update that looks more aggressive from some angles. But from straight on, it just looks happy to see you.
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET
Behind the MX-5's goofy grinning face is a 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine that generates 167 horsepower and 140 pound-feet of torque.
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At no point does the MX-5 feel underpowered, but she's no neck-snapper. 0-60 comes in about 7 to 8 seconds.
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET
As part of an optional premium package, the MX-5 Miata receives upgraded Xenon HID headlamps, keyless entry and start, antitheft alarm, Bluetooth hands-free calling, and traction control.
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET
A suspension package upgrade adds a sport-tuned suspension with Bilstein dampers and a limited-slip differential. Oddly, the MX-5 Grand Touring's suspension package and premium package must be purchased together, making us wonder why they are separate packages to begin with.
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The Mazda MX-5's short wheelbase, thin canvas soft top, and relative lack of sound deadening make highway blasts a loud and bumpy affair.
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET
The MX-5 has one of the easiest-to-use manual soft tops on the road and can be opened or closed from the driver's seat. Simply release the roof latch, toss the top back, and snap it into place for open-air motoring. The whole process takes about 5 seconds.
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET
Our taller editors wished for a bit more top-up head room. Stowing the roof seemed to--at least, temporarily--solve their problems.
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The MX-5 has a bit of a reputation as a "hairdresser's car," but aggressive fenders--reminiscent of those on the Mazda RX-8--add a bit of masculinity.
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The MX-5 is not a wide vehicle, but with a very low center of gravity--and a stiff sport suspension--it exhibited almost no body roll.
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The MX-5 features a surprisingly spacious and useful trunk for a vehicle of its small stature and the convertible top doesn't intrude into the storage space when the top is down.
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The MX-5's cabin is quite simple and practically devoid of tech. Leather seating surfaces, steering wheel, shift lever, and e-brake handles add a high-quality feel to the Grand Touring model.
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Cabin tech is virtually nonexistent. A six-disc, seven-speaker Bose audio system plays back MP3 CDs and features an aux-input, but there's no USB/iPod option and no navigation to be had. Bluetooth hands-free is added as part of the premium package that is only available at the Grand Touring trim level.
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The Miata Grand Touring is available with a six-speed automatic transmission, but that really defeats the purpose of driving a small, simple roadster. Our tester was equipped with a six-speed manual gearbox with a short-throw shifter.
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The MX-5's simple instrumentation includes (left to right) a fuel gauge, tachometer, oil pressure gauge, speedometer, and coolant temperature gauge. Hidden in the center is a small monochromatic trip computer.
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET
The MX-5's small, chunky wheel fits well in the driver's hand with a race-car feel that suits the Miata's direct, goes-where-you-point-it steering. Audio controls, cruise control, and a button to activate the voice-commanded Bluetooth hands-free system reside on the wheel's face.
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET
The MX-5 Miata may not be a stellar tech powerhouse, but it is a great car. Its simple, focused design keeps the driver involved and offers fantastic handling and balance. Starting at $22,500 ($29,250 as tested), it is one of the purest driving experiences you can have on this side of a $50k Lotus Elise.
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET
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