The MX-5 Miata has been the default choice for many shoppers looking for a fun and engaging roadster for decades. While the competition keeps bulking up the recently redesigned Miata has gone back to its roots and is as light-weight and fun as the original, although now with modern conveniences and technology. For 2017 it has received a minor change to trim specifications and a hardtop RF model has been introduced.
The MX-5 Miata is now lighter than all but the very first models and still manages to pack in a level of safety and technology that was unheard of 20 years ago. The interior too is modern and a far cry from the cheap plastics that defined the very first generation cars.
The controls and buttons are all well laid out well made, taller adults may find headroom a bit tight with the roof up but the seats offer a range of adjustments and other than an uneven passenger foot well, the MX-5 offers decent leg and knee room. Cargo space is tiny but in line with what rivals offer and the available leather seats and trim details add a level of luxury to the interior.
The focus on the driving experience is immediately noticeable in the redesigned MX-5, the little roadster scythes around corners with superb body control and the suspension, engine and brakes all work together to offer a very satisfying driving experience.
While there are many faster sports cars out there, few are as well-balanced and able to offer such a fine level of control at the limit. When it comes to refinement and noise levels, highway driving can be a noisy affair, in an effort to keep the overall weight down the soft top is not as insulated as on some larger cars, the recently introduced RF model is far quieter (and a bit heavier) with its folding hard top.
The ride is on the firm side and the engine can get a bit breathless at the top of the rev range but these are minor niggles and there is no doubt that the MX-5 is the benchmark in its segment once again.
The 2017 Mazda MX-5 is available with a 2.0-litre 155 horsepower, 148 lb-ft of torque inline-four engine. Drive is sent to the rear wheels through either a 6-speed manual or automatic transmission.
These numbers are less than most rivals like the Subaru BRZ Toyota 86 twins but the featherweight MX-5 manages to produce very competitive acceleration figures and it feels eager and quick to respond to throttle inputs. Fuel economy also benefits and a 26/35 city/highway mpg rating for the automatic models is excellent. You will of course want the manual transmission in which case you will get 33 mpg on the highway run.
The MX-5 Miata is available in three trim levels; all are available with either transmission option.Sport Trim offers LED headlights, daytime running lights, black cloth-trimmed seats, 16-inch alloy wheels, 6-speaker audio system with Bluetooth audio streaming and USB port and leather-wrapped shift knob and steering wheel.
Club Trim adds a 7-inch touch screen, 9-speaker Bose audio system with Sirius satellite radio, piano black trim and additional safety items such as blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert. It also includes 17-inch wheels a limited-slip differential and sport-tuned suspension, although the last two items are not available if you opt for the automatic transmission.
The Grand Touring Trim offers a more luxury focused package with adaptive front headlights, high beam control, rain-sensing wipers, leather seats and a navigation as standard equipment. It does not offer the diff and sport suspension of the Club Trim though.
A number of cosmetic upgrades can be optioned on all trim levels such as aluminum pedals, rear lip spoilers and doorsill trim plates.
The 2017 Mazda MX-5 is that rare modern car that does not try to be a jack of all trades vehicle and it focuses on doing just one thing really well. In this case it is putting a smile on your face on even the shortest of drives.
Offering an exciting and engaging driving experience without resorting to complex electronics and big power figures to achieve its goals, the MX-5 remains a must for any sports car enthusiast.