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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.