2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring
(2.0L 4-cyl. 6-speed Manual)
What our ratings include
Date Driven: 10/11/2011 (2011 retractable hardtop)
In terms of raw performance numbers, the Miata can't compare to thoroughbred sports cars, yet the roadster experience makes the Miata special. There isn't another convertible on the road that is as pure and honest.
Classic RWD driving dynamics with easily approached limits at relatively low speeds make the Miata enjoyable; it's an engaging and involving occasion every time you drive. Hard-top-specific suspension softens the experience only slightly.
Noticeably softer suspension settings for the hard-top model offer an unusually compliant and comfortable ride.
The hard-top does offer quite a lot of isolation compared to the soft-top, but not as much as you might expect. Wind noise and buffeting are far better, but engine and road noise are still quite high.
With such a small cockpit, everything is at arm's reach. Audio system is very basic and intuitive, window switches are between the seats, and surprisingly large cup/bottle holders in the door are very good. Quirky fuel-door release remains.
Even with the hard-top convertible closed, the Miata offers excellent visibility--no need for parking sensors or backup camera. With the top down, there's nothing better.
Seat Access & Space
You have to accept that this is a low and intimately sized car. Getting in and out requires some effort, but the seats are comfy and accept a surprisingly large range of body sizes. Dropping the top make everything easier.
Cargo & Storage
The hard-top model gives up very little in terms of trunk space, but it remains quite small at just 5.3 cubic feet.
Mazda has been building and refining the Miata for decades, so the build quality has become quite good over the years. Even the hard-top integration is excellent without sacrificing tight tolerances.
With a single hand-released latch and a push of a button, the hard-top convertible goes down (and up) in just 12 seconds. An integral tonneau cover makes it a very tidy and neat package.