I have spent my entire automotive life hearing just how great the Mazda MX-5 Miata is from practically every journalist, enthusiast, or TV personality. I mean, even Jeremy Clarkson loves the thing... so there must be some merit, right?
I have driven all the competition from various makers over the years as well: Honda S2000, Pontiac Solstice GXP, and Porsche Cayman (I know, I know. BUT it IS the hardtop version of the Boxter which IS a direct competitor). With exception of the Porsche, all competition has come and gone over the over 3 decades of the Miata's lifespan, and with a price tag double that of our tester, the Porsche Boxter really is in a different league when it comes to potential buyers.
While all those competitors have their merits and their place in automotive history, this MX-5 shows exactly why it is the best-selling 2-seat sports car of all time. Since its introduction as a 1990 model, the MX-5 Miata has stuck to its original formula of "everything you need and nothing more." Mazda used a design credo across the four generations of the MX-5's development: the phrase jinba ittai (人馬一体), which translates into English as "rider and horse (jinba) as one body (ittai)" and we believe it.
Getting behind the wheel of an MX-5 Miata immediately takes you back to the 50s and 60s on a small, European back road in a lightweight sports car of the time. That was the genesis of Americans' sports car obsession after all. So, take a seat, buckle up, and take a ride with me down an East Texas back road in the closest thing I can imagine to driving perfection.
2022 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring Specs:
SKYACTIV 2.0L DOHC 4-Cylinder Engine
151 lb-ft of Torque
6-Speed Manual Transmission
Rear Wheel Drive
Ventilated Front Disc Brakes
Sport Tuned Suspension with Bilstein® Shock Absorbers
17-inch Alloy Wheels
Dynamic Stability Control
Near Perfect 50/50 Weight Distribution
Manual Z-Folding Soft Top Convertible with Headliner
Seating for 2
Heated Leather Seats
Wireless Apple CarPlay™
7-inch Color Touchscreen Infotainment
Bose® 9-Speaker Audio System
Proximity Key with Push Button Start
EPA Fuel Economy 26/34/29 (city/hwy/combined)
Starting MSRP $32,300 (Grand Touring)
Price as tested: $34,210