Mazda Miata MX5

Car Review: Mazda Miata MX-5 NC Roadster (Third Generation 2005-2015)

Lauded with many accolades over the years, Mazda’s answer to the small sports roadster is at the top of the game and is the reason to get your hands on one if you’re in the market. So what’s it got that is so appealing? Read on and find out.

Mazda Miata MX5

The Good

1. Optional PRHT (Power Retractable Hard Top) version (recommended) which doesn’t interfere with the trunk space and gives you added security and less road noise

2. Suspension works well over bumps

3. Plenty of cup holders – four in all (essential for any two-seater car!!!!)

4. If you’re after a manual – this is the best budget sports car on the market

5. Has Mazda reliability

6. Great, fun ride

7. Low costs to maintain

8. Brilliant styling

9. Soft Top has an actual glass window

10. Available in a ‘Touring’ and ‘Grand Touring’ versions which are preferable with different trim and ‘limited edition’ models and more speakers (the ‘Grand Touring’ featuring a Bose stereo system and 7 speakers)

11. Listed in ‘Car and Driver’ magazine’s annual ’10 Best List’ an amazing 17 times

12. ‘Grassroots Motorsports’ magazine cited the Miata as ‘the most important sports car built during the previous 25 years’ – it’s now in its 32nd year and still going strong

13. It won the 2005 ‘Car of the Year’ award in Australia and 2005-2006 ‘Car of the Year’ in Japan

14. Ideal for that overnight getaway with a small suitcase in the trunk

15. Plenty on the market in a variety of trim levels

16. Amazing how many are on the market with mega-low mileage (8k-50k) for around the $20,000 mark, and roughly between $12,000 and $17,000 for mileage of 50k-100k with no damage history

17. Carbon Miata Quilted Floor Mats are an awesome after-market accessory available in heaps of colors

18. ‘Supercharger’ and ‘Turbo’ aftermarket kits available would enhance the power output

Mazda Miata MX5

The Bad

1. The automatic transmission is problematic

2. Tight cabin space – no room for ‘Fido’ the dog when there’s two people in the car – but hey, you can leave the passenger at home if need be

3. Limited trunk space – especially for large shopping sprees or going to an airport to pick up or drop off luggage

4. Soft Top is a target for vandals and louder on the road

5. If you’re 6 foot 3 inches or more, you will struggle with head and leg room

6. Limited to a 2.0 liter 4 cylinder engine (although it’s an improvement on previous models)

7. Base model has only 4 speakers and a base model stereo

The Essentials

With the size of the engine, it’s unlikely to have been ‘thrashed’ by its previous owner/s. With that said, I always recommend getting a thorough inspection to give you peace of mind. Watch out for rust along the bottom of the doors or the undercarriage. If the driver has an accident, it’s most probably the fault of the driver as this car has reliability and handling in spades.

The Alternatives

Honda S2000 (1999-2009), Volkswagen EOS (2006-2015), BMW Z4 (2003-2014)

The Verdict

8 out of 10

You can’t go wrong with a proven winner – not only of awards, but popularity with buyers. The only let down is the lack of a turbo engine, however you can pick one up aftermarket and have it fitted  by a reputable Mazda mechanic. Take one for a test drive so you can see what all the talk is about. 

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