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TheCarConnection.com's editors drove the new Mazda MX-5 Miata in order to give you an expert opinion. TheCarConnection.com's car experts also researched available road tests on the new Mazda MX-5 Miata to produce this conclusive review and to help you find the truth where other reviews might differ.
With fantastic handling and an optional power-folding hardtop, the 2009 Mazda MX-5 Miata brings the classic roadster into the modern era. The four-cylinder engines are zippy and responsive, the steering and handling are sportscar-perfect, and the manual transmissions are a sheer joy to shift.
2009 is the 20th anniversary of the Miata, and to celebrate Mazda refreshed the MX-5’s exterior and interior styling, increased its performance, bettered its fuel mileage, and added two new exterior colors.
Performance-wise, redline on the 2.0-liter MZR engine with a manual transmission increases 500 rpm, from 6,700 to 7,200. First- through fourth-gear synchros on the six-speed manual transmissions are now carbon-coated, and the suspension has been recalibrated with less intrusive Dynamic Stability Control.
The exterior of the 2009 MX-5 features a more aggressive front fascia, a five-point grille, a revised rear bumper, and new lightweight 16- and 17-inch wheels among other changes. Inside, the MX-5’s seats provide both better comfort and support, while the center console has more storage space.
The retractable hardtop became an option in 2007. When the hardtop is retracted and folded away, the Miata has 5.3 cubic feet of trunk space—more than enough for the typical overnight bag. This version of the Miata comes in at just 80 pounds heavier than the standard soft-top roadster, and the top takes just 12 seconds to fold away, so the effect on performance is minimal.
The soft-top is easy to use; just flick the header latches and flip it over the shoulder into a shallow holding area. You'll still have enough luggage room for a short weekend trip.
The new shape of the 2009 Mazda MX-5 Miata is more Mr. Roboto than revived Lotus Elan, but that just means that the Miata has found a personality of its own. The interior is neatly trimmed with high-quality materials, and it's even a little more spacious than before, though no one will complain about too much shoulder room in a Miata.
Standard features include power windows, power mirrors, a CD player, and tilt steering. Optional features include the six-speed automatic, power locks, Sirius Satellite Radio, steering-wheel audio controls, and a sport suspension. Dual front and side airbags, along with anti-lock brakes, are standard, but stability control is only available on the most expensive model. The 2009 Mazda MX-5 has not been crash-tested in the United States.
- Quick, engaging handling
- Peppy, rev-happy engine
- Tactile driving experience
- One of the best manual gearboxes
- Excellent power-retractable hardtop option
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- Lack of stability control
- No crash-test data
- Cramped cockpit