2008 Mazda MX-5 Miata Convertible Grand Touring 2dr Convertible w/Power Hard Top (2.0L 4cyl 6M)
I've only had this are for a month, so it's difficult to rate some aspects. For example, under reliability, it's bee too short time wise. The car has achieved 30.2 mpg so far, which surprises me as it's rated 21/28 city/highway. My driving has been a mix, but mostly suburban roads, averaging 35-40 mph. Some of my four star ratings has to do with the age of the car. Many features now found on new cars either didn't exist in 2008 or were found on only a few luxury brands. Being a low sitting two door sportscar, some of the questions I rated based on that. For example, getting in an out is more difficult than a four door sedan, but this should be expected.
I went from a 1990 Miata that I loved to drive to my 2008 with I LOVE to drive. It is a different type of fun. My 90 was manual and a mini-beast. So much fun. But commuting with a stick was taking some of the fun out of it. My 2008 was purchased with only 42K miles and had a power retractable hardtop. LOVE LOVE LOVE IT ! Automatic transmission shifts smoothly with surprisingly alot of power. I still get to zoom zoom but with no more abuse on my clutch. The interior is no-frills but very comfortable. Radio and cruise control buttons are on the steering wheel which is ultra convenient. The hardtop retracts quickly and does not take up any of my trunk room. I have almost twice the trunk space as my 1990. Though still not the amount of a proper sedan, it is pretty roomy for a convertible. I have no regrets at all over my 2008 Mx-5 and can see why Mazda has such a dedicated fan base. This was really is great. Seats are good sized and comfortable. At least for short hauls of only a few hours. And the looks of the car are always turning heads. I get compliments almost daily.
If you are a person whose passion is improving his driving skill set, this is a perfect tool. The MX5 will reward you with increasing satisfaction and fun as you learn to master driving skills. Routinely switch off traction control after engine start-up to obtain linear throttle response and to learn the car's traction characteristics. This car is quite capable even in stock form; resist the urge to modify its performance until you have fully utilized all it has to offer.
When you are not in the mood for spirited driving, you can chill and enjoy the scenery and the MX5 will not annoy you with a bad temper.
Some 2008s had a defect in the manual trans. Mazda fixed mine under warrantee. THX!
-mild oversteer, predictable drifting due to near 50/50 weight distribution
-engine likes high revs
-strong brakes with good feedback
-solid chassis integrity
-well designed soft top: easy to convert from the driver's seat in a few seconds. With the top down, the visibilty of surrounding traffic and road conditions far exceeds that of a car with a roof: better visual input= better decisions. I routinely drive top-down. Even in rain and snow the interior remains nearly dry when at 40mph+
-with top down you need a good heater and heated seats; the MX5 has these
-simplicity: In a sports car, less is more. Analog gauge set easy to read. HVAC controls simple. No computer interface
-Ford-designed manual trans could be smoother shifting to consume less of my concentration. Used Motorcraft XT-M5-QS GL4 75w-90 oil in the gear box and improved shifting by 75%
-removed 2008 center console cup holders and replaced with aftermarket cubby
-angled front of seat bottom upwards to increase thigh support using spacers
-replaced stock horn with Nautilus air horn
-I prefer window switches in doors instead of center console
And that's about it! Since I usually ride motorcycles, which are inherently more engaging than cars, I regard most cars just as a mode of transport, but not the MX5. The MX5 is a car that makes you live in the moment yet rewards you with lifetime satisfaction.