2008 Mazda MX-5 Miata Convertible Review | Edmunds.com

2008 Mazda MX-5 Miata Convertible

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Mazda MX-5 Miata Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.0 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Rear Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 166 hp @ 6700 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 21/28 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2008 Mazda MX-5 Miata

  • Although less dramatic and powerful than General Motors' roadster twins, the 2008 Mazda MX-5 Miata is still unequaled when it comes to overall driving enjoyment and refinement.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Huge fun factor, precise steering and handling, low base price, economical to operate.

  • Cons

    Still snug for bigger folks, stability control is only available on the top trim level.

  • What's New for 2008

    For 2008, the Mazda MX-5 Miata sees only minor feature changes, a new Special Edition trim level and a 5-horsepower drop for automatic transmission-equipped Miatas.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (17 total reviews)  |  Write a Review

Fun! fun! fun! economical! oh

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Vehicle: 2008 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring 2dr Convertible w/Power Hard Top (2.0L 4cyl 6M)

I used to own a 04 RX-8 which was a total blast to drive. So I was very happy to discover the fun factor is even better with the MX-5! The RX-8 was fast and agile but so too is the MX-5, it just doesn't have all the stress raising quirks of the RX-8! Like poor gas mileage, thirst for oil, and Hot interior due to the hot nature of a rotary engine. The MX-5 seems every bit as quick and is very agile! I love the sound of the engine, quick shifts, and solid road feel! The Bose sound system is terrific and adjusts automatically to compensate for ambient noise top up or down. The feel behind the wheel is fantastic! The dash layout is classic european sports car, I love turn indicator placement!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Let a little zoom zoom

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Vehicle: 2008 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring 2dr Convertible w/Power Hard Top (2.0L 4cyl 6M)

I own two cars now, Miata and an Acura TL. One practical, one fun. One for the brain, one for the heart. And in terms of sheer fun and sun, the Mazda Miata delivers. The PRHT is outstanding. Light, fast, easy and most importantly, no loss of trunk space..AMAZING! The interior is well designed..yes the door mounted cup holders are needed if you have the manual transmission! It has just the right amount of power to weight ratio to make it fun...great gearing provides fun accelerations, the low center of gravity lets you enjoy tight turns. And the exterior styling still turns heads and makes you smile. So go out there and put some zoom zoom back in your life, you'll thank me later.

I want to like this

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Vehicle: 2008 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring 2dr Convertible w/Power Hard Top (2.0L 4cyl 6M)

I really want to like this car, but I don't. Interior design is poor: window switches in a bad spot & centre console won't hold anything by design. The door cupholder bangs knees, the centre ones make centre console useless and prevents shifting properly! Seatbelt connect height is not adjustable. No spare tire means this is a suburbanite-with-a-cellphone ride. Can't go anywhere interesting without a usable spare and MAZDA is NOT helpful! Also, the Bose stereo is awful. Speakers rattle and vibrate. No aux jack. When Mazda tells you Mp3 compatible, they mean you can play a disc in Mp3 format. Even Hyundai has this stuff figured out. Mazda doesn't care, they don't have to.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Near perfection

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Vehicle: 2008 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring 2dr Convertible w/Power Hard Top (2.0L 4cyl 6M)

This is my first true sports car and have to say it's a blast to drive. Besides a small lack in power it's the perfect sports car. The stock handling and braking are superb. Fuel economy is excellent. Short gear ratios make for spirited acceleration when up to speed. Minor modifications are all that are needed to turn this thing into a track car. I took a 3k mile road trip and was still smiling when I got home. Those over 6' will have a hard time getting comfortable in this car.

Fun but noisy

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Vehicle: 2008 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring 2dr Convertible w/Power Hard Top (2.0L 4cyl 6M)

This is definitely one of the funnest cars I have ever had. With that said it is also the noisiest car I have ever owned. Lots of wind noise when the top is up and the more you drive it the more it seems to develop new rattles. (mainly in the dash) Anyone approaching six feet tall will not be comfortable in this car! Fun yes....would I buy this car again. No!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Almost spent $50k on a

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Vehicle: 2008 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring 2dr Convertible w/Power Hard Top (2.0L 4cyl 6M)

And I am really glad that I did not! I was looking for a small, light, nimble and quick roadster with a little emphasis on comfort. Lotus had the performance and the size, but was a little too severe for the street. Corvette was luxurious and fast, but a bit on the heavy side, and do you really need 425HP? Besides, the seats were dreadful for a $60K automobile. Came down to the Audi TT roadster and the Porsche Boxster… almost pulled the pin on the Porsche until I decided to drive the MX-5. What a revelation! Don’t be fooled by the engine size – light weight combined with a willing engine and an utterly fabulous 6-speed manual box make for an incredible driving experience. No regrets!

Full 2008 Mazda MX-5 Miata Review

What's New for 2008

For 2008, the Mazda MX-5 Miata sees only minor feature changes, a new Special Edition trim level and a 5-horsepower drop for automatic transmission-equipped Miatas.


In today's "let the gizmos handle it" world, where some cars offer not just cruise control so advanced that it can stop the car if need be, but also a warning system that alerts a driver who starts drifting out of his lane, it's easy to forget the simple joy of fully involved driving. Should you need to be reminded, we highly recommend the 2008 Mazda MX-5 Miata.

Drawing inspiration from the light and nimble British roadsters of the '60s, the Mazda Miata offers a zippy engine, go-kart-like handling, a quick-dropping top and trim, classic proportions. Unlike those old Brits, however, the dependable Miata won't leave you stranded on the side of the road cursing your bloody head off as you stare, bewildered, under the hood.

Since its debut nearly two decades ago, the Miata has won over legions of driving enthusiasts and earned accolades from auto critics and consumers alike thanks to its entertaining drive and impressive reliability record. It was fully redesigned two years ago for more comfort and performance without losing any of its elemental appeal. Last year, Mazda introduced the power-retractable hardtop (PRHT) version. The Miata PRHT offers the comfort of a coupe when its top is up as well or the full roadster experience when down. It doesn't even exact the weight penalty one may envision, as Mazda says the PRHT weighs just 70 pounds more than the ragtop.

Regardless of which version you lean toward, the ultra-nimble 2008 Mazda Miata is a fantastic choice for an affordable roadster. It does have competition -- General Motors' twins, the Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky, specifically. The Solstice and Sky possess sexier styling and more speed via available turbocharged engines, and combined, they outsell the Miata almost two to one. But in our opinion the Miata is still the superior car. Refined, balanced and eager, it's the ideal car to have when one needs to unplug from the plugged-in world.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2008 Mazda Miata lineup consists of four trims: SV, Sport, Touring and Grand Touring. Aimed at racing enthusiasts, the lightly equipped SV (available in soft-top form only) comes with a black vinyl convertible top, 16-inch alloy wheels, a CD player, a driver seat height adjuster and power windows and mirrors. The Sport adds air-conditioning and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

Step up to the Touring and you'll also get 17-inch alloy wheels, a strut tower brace, cruise control, keyless entry, six-speaker audio (versus four) with a CD changer and steering wheel-mounted audio controls. The Grand Touring trim adds a cloth convertible top (in black or parchment), leather-upholstered and heated seats, a seven-speaker Bose audio system and silver interior accents. Retractable-hardtop (PRHT) models are offered in the top three trims and are identical in equipment except for the substitution of the power-retracting steel top for the soft top. The Special Edition is essentially an Icy Blue Grand Touring with the Premium package (described below).

Options are grouped in numerous packages. Available on the Sport, the Convenience Package provides keyless entry/power locks, cruise control, foglamps, a one-touch passenger window, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls and covered storage cubbies behind the seats. Available on Touring and Grand Touring trims, the Suspension Package features a sport-tuned suspension (with Bilstein shocks) and a limited-slip differential.

The Grand Touring qualifies for a pair of premium packages. Premium Package #1 (not available with the automatic transmission) adds stability control, a limited-slip differential, advanced keyless entry and xenon HID headlights. Number 2 is the same, minus the limited-slip differential.

Most versions offer an interior trim package (which consists of brushed aluminum accents) as well as an appearance package (which adds a front airdam and lower-body skirting). Stand-alone options include run-flat tires, satellite radio and a rear spoiler.

Powertrains and Performance

All Miatas come with a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine that makes 166 horsepower (158 with the automatic transmission) and 140 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission drives the rear wheels on SV and Sport trims, while a six-speed manual is fitted to the Touring and Grand Touring trims. A six-speed automatic with paddle shifters is optional on all but the SV and the Sport PRHT.

Acceleration isn't exactly the Miata's forte, but it's sufficiently quick for daily driving -- we've timed a six-speed manual Miata at 7.5 seconds for the 0-60-mph dash. Fuel economy for 2008 ranges from 20-22 mpg city and 27-28 mpg highway, depending on the transmission.


Antilock disc brakes and side airbags are standard. Stability control is available as an option on the Grand Touring model only.

Interior Design and Special Features

Even though it's larger than previous generations, the current Miata's cockpit remains a snug fit. Still, it can be comfortable enough for two on a weekend getaway, and the well-shaped 5.3-cubic-foot trunk can hold a couple days worth of luggage, provided you pack light. The simple controls and no-frills design serve the Miata and its driver well. Fit and finish are very good throughout. Dropping the manual top can be done in seconds from the driver seat. Those who would use their Miata as a daily driver should strongly consider the PRHT, as it offers the quieter ride and greater security of a coupe.

Driving Impressions

The Miata's peppy four pulls willingly and revs freely. It's a delightful instrument to play, especially with a manual gearbox where snapping off rev-matching downshifts is a breeze. Although tuned for a smoother ride than before, the Miata still changes direction with the immediacy of a roller skate and speaks to you clearly through the steering wheel and driver seat. With a lowered top and a twisting, scenic road stretching out before it, the 2008 Mazda Miata has few equals when it comes to sheer entertainment.

Talk About The 2008 MX-5 Miata

Gas Mileage


  • 21
  • cty
  • 28
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs