2015 Mazda MX-5 Miata Reviews and Ratings

Convertible 2D Club I4

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2015 Mazda MX-5 Miata
NADAguides Test Drive Review

It’s been often said among journalists that—for the money—you really can’t get a higher performing car with all of the enthusiasm and drive-ability of the Mazda MX-5 Miata. If you’ve already read that before, then you will find this review telling you more of the same…

The 2015 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring PRHT (power retractable hard top) in this review is the company’s last offering before a complete redo of the roadster for the 2016 model year. We don’t know if you should wait until this summer for the Jaguar F-Type-looking version, as we here at NADA Used Car Guide have yet to get our hands on the fourth generation convertible. What we do know, is that the out-going model is a phenomenal car. The following are the biggest impressions the roadster made on us:

Power plant, Transmission and Economy

  • The 2.0 liter inline four cylinder engine (with 167 horsepower and 140 lb-ft torque) and factory tuned exhaust sound sublime, echoing the aural memory of an old Triumph TR4—minus the unreliability concerns of the British classic
  • Power delivery from the engine won't give you neck jerking acceleration like some other small, sporty drives (i.e., MINI Cooper S), but its strong surge of power helps the car confidently jog down the road from a standstill
  • The six-speed manual transmission offers short, crisp shifts, while the clutch is easy to engage
  • With 21 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway (24 mpg combined), the regular gasoline this ‘vert sips will leave you left with plenty of money to get started in your newbie autocross career (a very common hobby for thousands of Miata owners in the U.S.)

Handling and Feel

  • The car is perfectly balanced, taking corners quite well with just enough body roll to feel the excitement found in the apex
  • The words, “planted” and “points well” show up next to this car in the dictionary—or, at least, they should
  • You can feel the road discrepancies through the pedals and seams of the pavement in the steering wheel; all good things to have in an honest sports car
  • Knowing the distal ends of the wheelbase quickly becomes second nature to the driver
  • Tip: Opt for the tested Suspension Package ($650), which gives you a limited-slip differential, and sport tuned Bilstein shocks

Interior, Technology and Cargo

  • Controls are simple and straightforward, with no fussy touchscreens or haptic touch buttons
  • Everything to control the vehicle is within arm’s reach of the driver
  • The power hard top retracts in mere seconds, yet leaves very little room for storage when down
  • The trunk is just big enough to squeeze a set of golf clubs
  • Tip: Opt for the tested Premium Package ($1390), which includes alarm, keyless entry, Bluetooth, xenon headlights and Sirius satellite radio

Overall Lasting Impressions and Value

  • From an aural perspective, the enthusiastic whine you get from the engine is sublime for the money when coupled with the standard exhaust
  • Even if you don’t live near twisty, rolling countryside, this roadster manages to take you away from the everyday routine as soon as you slide into its intimate cockpit
  • At $32,935 after a $790 destination fee, our tester—complete with Appearance, Suspension and Premium packages - retains average value amongst peers in the sports car segment (current retention leaders are the Subaru BRZ at 77 percent, and Scion FR-S at 70 percent)

It will be interesting to see how the new, fourth generation 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata compares to the outgoing model. It has quite a large—in the proverbial sense—trunk to fill.


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