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Quick Drive: 2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring


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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

Year: 2020
Make: Mazda
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)

Options:
Grey Cloth Roof - $200.00


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I am glad that people find the Miata a fun car to drive. Seems they continue to tweak this to be a truly drivers enjoyable rally car and that is a great thing.

Style wise, I find it hideous as it reminds me that someone pinched a load and forgot to flush.

Sad that they can give it horsepower but such weak torque, the Skyactiv motors I feel are a failure.

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Love the car and love the looks of it.  It was my second choice but can't beat a big V8 feel.  How many cars today weight even close to 2300lbs!

 

43 minutes ago, David said:

Sad that they can give it horsepower but such weak torque, the Skyactiv motors I feel are a failure.

LOL, second generation of the GM Ecotec 4-cylinder 2.4L inline four (Buick Regal, Lacrosse, Chevy Malibu) had 182hp, 172lb/tq while this 2.0L gets same hp and only 20 less torque.

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10 minutes ago, ykX said:

Love the car and love the looks of it.  It was my second choice but can't beat a big V8 feel.  How many cars today weight even close to 2300lbs!

 

LOL, second generation of the GM Ecotec 4-cylinder 2.4L inline four (Buick Regal, Lacrosse, Chevy Malibu) had 182hp, 172lb/tq while this 2.0L gets same hp and only 20 less torque.

Yes, I totally agree that GM small motors are crap too. Not a fan of Torque less motors even from American auto companies.

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Were I to buy any car on the planet, i am with ykx. This or a Mustang. 

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2 hours ago, David said:

I am glad that people find the Miata a fun car to drive. Seems they continue to tweak this to be a truly drivers enjoyable rally car and that is a great thing.

Style wise, I find it hideous as it reminds me that someone pinched a load and forgot to flush.

Sad that they can give it horsepower but such weak torque, the Skyactiv motors I feel are a failure.

A car that size doesn't need a lot of torque.

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10 minutes ago, surreal1272 said:

A car that size doesn't need a lot of torque.

I get that, but then I am not a fan of sewing machine high revving engines that do not move you much.  

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Not surprisingly, a Miata is not suited for MrSUV.

I've never gotten the chance to drive a Miata but they've always looked like a little riot to drive. I also think these look really good in RF guise as I'm not a fan of soft tops at all. 

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I have to say I do find the RF very attractive, it is like a mini Jaguar in a way.  And if someone is daily driving it, the hard top is the way to go.  However, if I was buying it as a weekend fun car, I would probably get soft top in a Club spec, cheaper and lighter than the hard top.

2020-mazda-mx-5-rf-gt-sport-tech.jpg

Edited by ykX
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the manual gearing on it is so not "modern" ...6th gear is 1:1

at ~6'2.5" and was ~210lb when i drove a 16'? it was a snug fit, but yes, for an "amateur" driver, it's sooooo fun.

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^^^

depending what she got under the hood and yeah, if she could fly, she a sports car!  

Im willing to bet that your Buick could whip that little Miata's a$$ in a straight line any length.  1/8, 1/4 and the full mile. It wont matter to your Buick.

However...to all that diss that little Miata, the Miata AINT about that.

It IS about the enthusiastic driving. ALL driving. NOT just the straight line driving. Its about hitting the high revs, getting in and out of the corners, using ALL of the horsepower and balancing the car neatly going to and leaving the curves...  When in the straight line, it AINT about leaving two strips of rubber and smoke behind you, its about cornering speed, USEABLE exit speed and then punching it and revving it high and unto the next corner...

THIS is what little Miatas are all about.

 

If we are truly car enthusiasts, then we all, hopefully, understand, that there are many types of enthusiast cars that do many kinds of and specializing in many types of enthusiast types of things.

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Just to say that Im not really a Miata type of guy...just like Im not really a Corvette or Porsche or Ferrari type guy either.   I DO love my muscle cars of all sizes. Fullsize, ESPECIALLY mid-size and thirdly, the pony cars. But THAT does NOT mean I also do the straight line thing. I dont.  I do the cruising thing.  But I DO love the punching the throttle to get the INSTANT V8 torque acceleration and the grunt of that American muscle V8 sound!  

My favorite Miata, however, would be THIS one

The Fiat 124 Abarth Is Now A Used Convertible Bargain | CarBuzz

 

Mostly for cruising.  Open air cruising.  

LOVE that scorpion!  

She got that scorpion on her neck as a tattoo!  😍

 

I dont know how Id wanna die?

By her.   She is probably a black widow type chick, but oh boy the fun!

 

Or by my wife finding out Im crushing real hard ride about now... 

 

Edited by oldshurst442
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3 hours ago, oldshurst442 said:

She got that scorpion on her neck as a tattoo!  😍

 

She is Hot, but that auto is so forgettable. :puke:

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14 hours ago, ccap41 said:

Not surprisingly, a Miata is not suited for MrSUV.

I've never gotten the chance to drive a Miata but they've always looked like a little riot to drive. I also think these look really good in RF guise as I'm not a fan of soft tops at all. 

They are a riot to drive.

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2 hours ago, A Horse With No Name said:

They are a riot to drive.

Seems like they would be a lot of fun on twisty, hilly SE Ohio backroads.   I still love that Miata ad from a few years ago about the guy that had a Miata when he was young and gets a new one at middle age after having his soul crushed by work and family life..

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42 minutes ago, Robert Hall said:

Seems like they would be a lot of fun on twisty, hilly SE Ohio backroads.   I still love that Miata ad from a few years ago about the guy that had a Miata when he was young and gets a new one at middle age after having his soul crushed by work and family life..

It may well fill a slot in my driveway next to the Ranger when the Ranger is paid off. Loved my first two, would happily be a third for me. 

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5 minutes ago, A Horse With No Name said:

It may well fill a slot in my driveway next to the Ranger when the Ranger is paid off. Loved my first two, would happily be a third for me. 

If for some financial reasons I will have to get rid of the Mustang, used Miata is my plan B.  Cheap to own and run and lots of fun.

Edited by ykX
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1 hour ago, ykX said:

If for some financial reasons I will have to get rid of the Mustang, used Miata is my plan B.  Cheap to own and run and lots of fun.

I can relate to the Mustang thing. To me it's even more iconic as an American car than the Corvette. Thought hard about one when I bought the Ranger, but really needed a truck. Serious gut check moment every time I walked past a Mustang at a Ford dealer when I was truck shopping. 

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      Second is Smart Park (or smart parkh as made famous by the Super Bowl commercial from last year). Using the key, you can have the Sonata move forward or back out of the parking spot to allow for easier access to get into the vehicle. It's simple to operate, just hold down one of two buttons for a few seconds; the Sonata starts up and goes into the correct gear to move in the desired direction. I can see the appeal in urban areas where space is limited. But in the current pandemic times all of us find ourselves in, this seems to be more of a gimmick.
      Power Selection
      Hyundai offers two engines for the regular Sonata; a naturally aspirated 2.5L four-cylinder or a turbocharged 1.6L four. A more potent turbocharged 2.5L four-cylinder is available on the upcoming Sonata N Line. My tester featured the turbo 1.6 which produces 180 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. That puts it in line with some of the base engines found in the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.
      I wouldn't call this engine quick, but it handles most driving situations with aplomb. This comes down to most of the torque being situated at the lower end of the rpm band. The only area where you might be wishing for more power is merging onto a freeway or keeping up traffic. The eight-speed automatic does an excellent job of maximizing the engine's output.
      Under the Sonata Hybrid's hood is a system comprised of a 2.0L four-cylinder and electric motor to provide a total output of 192 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. The Sonata Hybrid feels just as fast as the standard Sonata around town and on country roads. It does struggle slightly on the highway due to the smaller torque figure. The six-speed automatic doesn't stumble when the change over from electric-only to hybrid mode like I have experienced on other Hyundai/Kia hybrid models.

      Opting for Limited on the Sonata Hybrid brings a solar panel for the roof which acts as a trickle charger for both the 12-volt car battery and 1.6-kWh lithium-ion pack for the hybrid system. Hyundai says that the panel can add an extra two miles of range with adequate sunlight. I can't attest to this claim, but will say the solar panel did add an extra bit of charge to the battery, even on an overcast day.
      Fuel economy for both models are as followed,
      Sonata 1.6T: 27 City/36 Highway/31 Combined Sonata Hybrid: 45 City/51 Highway/47 Combined My week saw an average of 29 mpg in the Sonata and 39 mpg for the Sonata Hybrid.
      Calm and Collected
      Hyundai has done some work on the Sonata's chassis and suspension to make it more rewarding to drive. It shows on a winding road as both versions show little body roll and feel more agile than the outgoing model. Steering feels direct and has a decent amount of weight. I will say the Mazda6 is still the one to beat if driving pleasure is your key goal.
      But the Sonata has an ace up its sleeve. It is also one of the most comfortable cars in the class. Driving over some of the roughest roads in Metro Detroit, the Sonata's suspension soaks up most bumps and imperfections to provide a serene ride. The minimal amount of road and wind noise that comes inside also helps.
      Rising To The Top

      The previous generations of the Sonata were always so close to being at the top of the class. But there always something that held it back whether it was the design, handling, or powertrains. But this new model shows how much Hyundai has put in. There is a nice balance between ride and handling; powertrains are very competent, and the interior is best in the class. Plus, the Sonata still retains Hyundai's trademark of offering a lot for not much money.
      Where most people will stumble on the Sonata is the exterior. It is very much a love or hate it affair. Plus, some of the tech features feel more like a party trick to show to friends than something you'll use. 
      Nevertheless, I think Sonata moves up to the top of the midsize sedan pecking order. 
      But there is one more question to answer. Between the regular and hybrid versions, which one I would drive away with. The answer which surprised me is the hybrid. I found it to be a little bit more well-rounded and deliver some excellent fuel economy figures during my time.
      Alternative:
      Kia K5: Like the idea of the Hyundai Sonata, but not to sure on the design? Then the Kia K5 may be the answer. Based on the same bones as the Sonata, the K5 takes a more evolutionary approach to the design. The basic shape may remind you of the previous-generation Optima, but its the little details such as a new grille and revised rear deck lid that help it stand out. From reviews, the K5 proves to be a bit sportier. We hope to get our hands on this challenger in the near future. Disclaimer: Hyundai Provided the Sonatas, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2020
      Make: Hyundai
      Model: Sonata
      Trim: Limited 1.6T
      Engine: Turbocharged 1.6L GDI DOHC 16-Valve Inline-Four
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 180 @ 5,500
      Torque @ RPM: 195 @ 1,500-4,500
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 27/36/31
      Curb Weight: 3,336 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Montgomery, AL
      Base Price: $33,300
      As Tested Price: $34,365 (Includes $930.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Carpeted Floor Mats - $135.00
      Year: 2020
      Make: Hyundai
      Model: Sonata Hybrid
      Trim: Limited
      Engine: 2.0L GDI DOHC 16-Valve Inline-Four, Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor
      Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 150 @ 6,000 (gas); 51 @ 1,800 - 2,300 (electric motor); 192 (total output)
      Torque @ RPM: 139 @ 5,000 (gas); 151 @ 0 - 1,800 (electric motor)
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 45/51/47
      Curb Weight: 3,530 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Asan, South Korea
      Base Price: $35,300
      As Tested Price: $36,430 (Includes $975.00 Destination Charge)
      Options: 
      Carpeted Floor Mats - $135.00

      View full article
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