When the Mazda MX-5 Miata debuted for 1990, this snazzy little convertible was an instant hit. Marking a revival of the affordable sports car in a stripped-down roadster format popularized by British automakers in the 1950s and '60s, the MX-5 Miata brought reliability and modern engineering to the concept. Buyers lined up outside Mazda dealerships and gladly paid well over sticker price for the fetching new Miata.
Though the initial mania has long since faded, the Mazda MX-5 Miata continues to be a very popular convertible. Today's third-generation car continues the trend. It still changes direction like a go-kart, communicates the character of the road clearly to the driver and accelerates with an inspiring growl from its inline-4 engine. If you're in the market for an affordable sports car that provides plenty of top-down, open-road thrills, we highly recommend putting a new or used Mazda Miata on your list.
Current Mazda MX-5 Miata
The Mazda MX-5 Miata is a two-seat convertible powered by a 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine good for 167 horsepower. Depending on trim level, you'll find this power routed to the rear wheels through a five- or six-speed manual transmission or an available six-speed automatic. With the automatic, engine output drops to 158 hp.
The Miata is available in three trims: Sport, Club and Grand Touring. The lightly equipped Sport is aimed at enthusiasts on a budget, while the Club trim's added performance upgrades (strut tower brace, high-performance tires) and styling tweaks kick the Miata character up another notch. The Grand Touring is downright luxurious with its automatic climate control, leather upholstery and heated seats.
Customers who like the idea of combining open-air exhilaration with fixed-roof refinement can order a Miata with a power-operated retractable hardtop. The "PRHT" might seem to run counter to the Miata's less-is-more philosophy, but its simple design adds just 70 pounds to the car's curb weight and transforms top-up motoring into a much quieter, more weatherproof experience.
For more than two decades, the Mazda MX-5 Miata has been one of the purest forms of automotive fun, and the latest edition is no different. While we'd probably stick with a lightly equipped version for duty as a weekend toy, the many luxury features and roomier cabin of the latest generation make the Miata a more plausible choice for daily driving duties.
Read the most recent 2014 Mazda MX-5 Miata review.
If you are looking for older years, visit our used Mazda MX-5 Miata page.
For more on past Mazda MX-5 Miata models, view our Mazda MX-5 Miata history page.