There are some cars I will not turn down the opportunity to spend time with again. A prime example is the Mazda MX-5 Miata, a car that brings a smile to my face. This past fall, I had a chance to spend some time in a soft-top version and to figure out whether I would have this or the RF.
- What has changed since our last visit with Miata? Only a few things such as the addition of Mazda's i-Activsense suite of active safety features (automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, and lane-departure warning) as standard; and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for the Club and Grand Touring models.
- I find myself drawn more to the standard Miata than RF because it looks a bit neater. The hardtop makes the Miata look somewhat bulky.
- The 17-inch wheels finished in dark silver help set the car off.
- The addition of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto makes using the MazdaConnect infotainment system a bit more bearable to use. I found myself using CarPlay more due to its easier interface layout and brighter graphics.
- Power comes from a 2.0L Skyactiv-G inline-four with 181 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a six-speed manual, while an automatic is optional.
- As I noted in my review of the RF, the new 2.0 makes a dramatic difference to the Miata's performance. Leaving a stop, the engine freely revs and delivers a smooth rush of power. I think this version is slightly faster than the RF, mostly due to it not having the foldable hardtop.
- The six-speed manual is still one of the sweetest transmissions I have used. It feels smooth and precise when running through the gears.
- Handling is still one of the Miata's strong points as it eagerly changes direction and shows little body roll. Steering is sharp and provides the right amount of weight when driven hard.
- Ride quality is slightly better than the RF I drove last year due to the Grand Touring not having as stiff as a suspension setup. Yes, you will still feel several bumps and imperfections. But not at the rate as you'll experience in the Club.
- The Miata is one of those few cars I find myself still being impressed with every time I get the chance to drive one. It offers a level of driving fun that very few models can match, along with a price tag that won’t break the bank. If you were to ask which Miata I would choose, it would be the soft top.
Disclaimer: Mazda Provided the MX-5 Miata, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
Model: MX-5 Miata
Trim: Grand Touring
Engine: 2.0L Skyactiv-G DOHC Four-Cylinder
Driveline: Six-Speed Manual, Rear-Wheel Drive
Horsepower @ RPM: 181 @ 7,000
Torque @ RPM: 151 @ 4,000
Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 26/34/29
Curb Weight: 2,341 lbs
Location of Manufacture: Hiroshima, Japan
Base Price: $31,670
As Tested Price: $32,790 (Includes $920.00 Destination Charge)
Grey Cloth Roof - $200.00