2023 Mazda MX-5 Miata Performance

9.0
Mazda MX-5 Miata Performance Rating

2023 MX-5 Miata Performance

All models use the same 2.0-liter naturally-aspirated four-cylinder engine delivering 181 hp and 151 lb-ft. All the power is sent to the rear wheels. The power output might seem minuscule, but a 2,341-pound body doesn't require a lot of power to move it around. Mazda doesn't provide claimed performance figures, but independent tests have shown that the Miata can go from 0 to 60 mph in under six seconds and it can reach a top speed of around 140 mph.

The performance figures are irrelevant, however. There are only two figures that matter. The first is the weight, while the second is the weight distribution. Once again, if you look at the Miata from the side, you'll see the balance. The steering wheel sits in the middle, with the engine mounted directly in front of it but behind the front wheels. It's essentially a front mid-engined car. The front weight is balanced by the rear wheels, trunk, roof folding mechanism, and passengers. As the driver, you are seated in the perfect location to feel everything: the front diving down under braking, the body leaning during hard cornering, and the rear end losing traction. Simply put, it's the distillation of driving, as pure an experience as you're ever likely to encounter in the modern era.

2023 MX-5 Miata Performance Photos

2023 Mazda MX-5 Miata Aft View CarBuzz 2023 Mazda MX-5 Miata Gauge Cluster CarBuzz 2023 Mazda MX-5 Miata Engine Bay CarBuzz
2023 Mazda MX-5 Miata Aft View
2023 Mazda MX-5 Miata Gauge Cluster
2023 Mazda MX-5 Miata Engine Bay

Engine and Transmission

Every once in a while, we drive a superb turbocharged engine with almost no turbo lag at all. The power delivery is also linear, and the engine is happy to rev to 6,000 rpm. As a motoring writer, you trick yourself into believing that perhaps turbocharging is the answer. And then you drive a Miata and realize what a big load of baloney it all is. Sure, there's something to be said for turbocharging, but nothing responds as eagerly as a naturally aspirated engine. You also forget that the final third of the tachometer is by far the most fun. An engine that revs to 6,000 rpm is fun, but an engine that revs all the way to 7,500 or even 8,000 rpm is exponentially more fun.

Here, the full 181 hp only arrives at 7,000 rpm, but this isn't the most tuneful four-pot Mazda's ever built. Because of that, you might be tempted to shift at 5,000 rpm, but it's well worthwhile just keeping your foot in it until it hits the red line at 7,500 rpm. This tiny car will love it.

As this is a car that wants to expose you to as much of the driving experience as possible, it comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission. It's a lovely short-throw box that clicks and clacks joyously through its ratios. There's something to be said for taking charge of the gears. Nothing is standing in your way if you want to tackle a corner in third gear at 7,200 rpm.

A six-speed automatic transmission is available, but if we owned a Mazda dealership, we'd employ a large burly man with a baseball bat to chase away anyone who enquires about said self-shifter. There is a delay between when you pull the paddle and the actual shift. You have to learn how to time downshifts perfectly. This would be fine if the manual didn't exist, but it does. Do yourself a favor and get a manual Miata. If you don't want to put in the work, this probably isn't the right car for you anyway, but then again, even an automatic Miata is better than none at all.

2023 Mazda MX-5 Miata Performance Specs:

Mazda MX-5 Miata TrimsMazda MX-5 Miata EnginesMazda MX-5 Miata HorsepowerMazda MX-5 Miata TransmissionsMazda MX-5 Miata DrivetrainsMazda MX-5 Miata MPG/MPGE
Sport2.0L Inline-4 Gas181 hp @ 7000 rpm6-Speed ManualRWD29 MPG
Club2.0L Inline-4 Gas181 hp @ 7000 rpm6-Speed ManualRWD29 MPG
Grand Touring2.0L Inline-4 Gas181 hp @ 7000 rpm6-Speed Automatic
6-Speed Manual
RWD29 MPG
30 MPG

2023 MX-5 Miata Gas Mileage

Miatas are a firm favorite amongst enthusiasts because they make great weekend and track cars. One might even say that Mazda is responsible for democratizing fun because you don't need a big budget to run a Miata. The automatic model has the best fuel consumption, according to the EPA. Its gas mileage figures are 26/35/30 mpg city/highway/combined. The six-speed manual is just one mpg behind on the highway and on average with figures of 26/34/29 mpg. Both models have an 11.9-gallon tank, resulting in a range of around 357 miles with the automatic model. Our previous road test of the Miata proved that these figures are easily achievable, even if you drive it in the manner it's meant to be driven, which is perfect for those who have a tight track day budget. While premium gas is recommended, the Miata can run on regular unleaded too.

2023 Mazda MX-5 Miata Fuel Capacity

Mazda MX-5 Miata TrimsSportClubGrand Touring
Mazda MX-5 Miata Tank size4.6 gal.4.6 gal.4.6 gal.
Mazda MX-5 Miata Fuel Economy (Cty/Hwy)26/3426/3426/34
Back
To Top