2009 Mazda MX-5 Miata Convertible Review | Edmunds.com

2009 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 167 hp @ 7000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 21/28 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2009 Mazda MX-5 Miata

  • Although not as stylish or powerful as General Motors' roadster twins, the 2009 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, choice of soft-top or retractable hardtop configurations, economical to operate.

  • Cons

    Still snug for bigger folks, lacks high-performance engine option, stability control only available on the top trim level.

  • What's New for 2009

    The 2009 Mazda Miata gets a few updates this year. The exterior receives a mild face-lift (a more aggressive grille, headlights and taillights), and the engine gets a one-horsepower bump along with slightly improved fuel mileage. The Miata's features list has also expanded. Highlights include an auxiliary input jack and two more speakers for the base audio system, an auto-dimming mirror for the Touring trim and automatic climate control for the Grand Touring version. Finally, the Special Edition model has been dropped.

Full 2009 Mazda MX-5 Miata Review

What's New for 2009

The 2009 Mazda Miata gets a few updates this year. The exterior receives a mild face-lift (a more aggressive grille, headlights and taillights), and the engine gets a one-horsepower bump along with slightly improved fuel mileage. The Miata's features list has also expanded. Highlights include an auxiliary input jack and two more speakers for the base audio system, an auto-dimming mirror for the Touring trim and automatic climate control for the Grand Touring version. Finally, the Special Edition model has been dropped.

Introduction

Sadly, many people today treat driving like an afterthought, something that has to be done while talking on the phone or doing some other form of multitasking. Seemingly inspired by this show of apathy, carmakers have come up with a wealth of technologies to save distracted drivers from themselves, ranging from "smart" cruise controls to lane departure warning systems. However, there's at least one affordable convertible that remains true to motoring's pre-digital roots: the 2009 Mazda Miata.

Inspired by the small, nimble British roadsters of the 1960s, the Mazda Miata comes equipped with rear-wheel drive, sharp handling, an easy-to-drop top and lean and classic roadster proportions. The latest (third-generation) Miata has also upheld the car's reputation for above-average reliability, which is something that can't be said for those old Triumphs and MGs.

Customers who like the idea of combining open-air exhilaration with fixed-roof refinement had their wishes granted a few years ago when the Miata became available with a power-retractable hardtop. The "PRHT" might seem to run counter to the Miata's "less is more" approach, but its simple design adds just 70 additional pounds to the car's curb weight while transforming top-up motoring into a much more pleasant and secure experience.

Regardless of which version you lean toward, the 2009 Mazda Miata is a fantastic choice for an affordable roadster. There are few rivals. General Motors' twins, the Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky, are the only other games in town. These suavely styled siblings share an available turbocharged engine that blows away the Miata's prosaic naturally aspirated four-cylinder. However, the turbo doesn't come cheap, and we still feel that the Mazda is the superior car. Refined, balanced and eager, the 2009 MX-5 Miata is always a willing partner when one needs to unplug from the plugged-in world.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2009 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 six-speaker audio system with a CD/MP3 player and an auxiliary input jack, a height-adjustable driver seat and power windows and mirrors. The Sport keeps to the same basic formula but adds air-conditioning and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

Step up to the Touring and you'll get 17-inch alloy wheels, a strut tower brace, cruise control, power locks, keyless entry, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, HomeLink, a trip computer, a six-CD changer and steering-wheel-mounted audio controls. The Grand Touring trim adds a cloth convertible top (in black or parchment), automatic climate control, leather upholstery, 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 otherwise identical in terms of equipment.

Options are grouped in numerous packages. Available on the Sport, the Convenience package provides most of the convenience features found on the Touring. 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 the Premium package that adds stability control, keyless entry and ignition, xenon HID headlights, Bluetooth connectivity and satellite radio. Stand-alone options, depending on the trim, include an appearance package (which adds a front airdam and lower-body skirting), 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 167 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.

Brutal acceleration isn't exactly the Miata's forte, but the MX-5 is still respectably quick -- we've timed a six-speed manual Miata at 7.5 seconds for the 0-60-mph dash. Mazda estimates fuel economy at 21 or 22 mpg city/28 mpg highway, depending on the transmission.

Safety

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

Interior Design and Special Features

Even though the current Miata is larger than previous generations, the cockpit remains a snug fit. However, 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 consider the PRHT because of its better noise isolation and greater security.

Driving Impressions

The Miata's peppy four pulls willingly and revs freely, but horsepower junkies will find its straight-line acceleration lacking. Nonetheless, the Miata's engine is a delightful instrument to play, especially with the manual gearbox, which makes snapping off rev-matching downshifts a breeze. Although tuned for a smoother ride than before, the Miata still changes direction with the immediacy of an NHL all-star 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 2009 Mazda Miata has no equal at this price point when it comes to sheer entertainment.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews



2009 mx5 - driven 40k

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Vehicle: 2009 Mazda MX-5 Miata Sport 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl 5M)

Researched a bunch of different roasters. Drove the 350Z, Boxers, S2000 and bought a 2009 with 7k on it. A compelling factor was the PRHT which works perfectly. I just sold my Triumph motorcyce (much to my wife's delight) and I tell you, this little car is ALMOST as fun to drive. I did do a 180 spin in rain, so be cautious in wet conditions. I too would love to have about 50 more hp but you have to know how to squeeze the power out of it, mainly by shifting at higher rpms. I think the build quality is better than a couple used boxers I drove...really tight. The Honda S2000 used car prices were I think, over priced, the BMW I would hate to have to repair, as would be the Boxer. Fun!



1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Mx-5 happy

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Vehicle: 2009 Mazda MX-5 Miata Sport 2dr Convertible w/Power Hard Top (2.0L 4cyl 5M)

This is my second MX-5. I had a 2002 and traded it in in 2006 for a BMW 3 series sedan. I missed it so much, I bought a black Sport with PRHT. I love this car and can't get into it without smiling. It is fun to drive and to cruise the back roads as well as a daily commuter. The greatest improvements since 2002 is that this feels faster, less noisy with the top down and I do not miss having to put on that vinyl roof cover. It still drives like a go kart and handles like a dream. I took it to Stowe Vermont and it was great going through the Mountains with my 6 speed. To misquote Jeremy Clarkson, "The reason I gave this car 10 stars is because i could not give it fourteen."




Poor bose radio

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Vehicle: 2009 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring 2dr Convertible w/Power Hard Top (2.0L 4cyl 6A)

I have had this little gem forever a year now but I am very disappointed with the quality of the Bose radio-- volume has to be tuned up to 24 where other Mazda owners have their radio set at 14 or 15--local dealer says it is normal--I figured with the Bose name on the radio it would be good--not so--can barely hear the radio when top is down--I think the radio is a factory defect but no one wants to admit it--would like a new radio but I don't think it is going to happen as dealer thinks it is a good one




Duel n fun

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Vehicle: 2009 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring 2dr Convertible w/Power Hard Top (2.0L 4cyl 6M)

We have our MX5 8 months and it has been a blast. The little lady fell in love with it. While it's NO Corvette(we have a ZO6, also) in the power dept., it's just fun to zip around in. Just extremely well engineered and designed. However, I don't know why the 6th gear runs at such a high RPM, kills the mpg. And yes another inch or two of leg room would be great (I'm 6'2") but this is livable. We just love the pwht. When up, it fits the design and when down there's still a trunk. And the shift pattern (6M) is a delight and more fun than our Vette. Well maybe they're equal. We would strongly recommend the MX5 with the power hard top. It's dueling in the fun, top up or down.




Best there is!

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Vehicle: 2009 Mazda MX-5 Miata Touring 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl 6A)

I bought this vehicle to drive both for fun and back and forth to work, and it is truly what I expected. It even loads my golf clubs in the trunk! The only real complaint I have is that somehow it could have a spare tire. I just feel real uneasy going out of town far without a spare, even though they do give you an air pump and sealit material. Overall, I definitely recommend this car and would buy one again sometime once i wear this one out, if that is possible.




Fun

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Vehicle: 2009 Mazda MX-5 Miata Sport 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl 6A)

What more do you want in a car, fair price, fun to drive, quality is outstanding and it's a convertible.



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Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

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