2015 Mazda MX-5 Miata Review

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Nelson Ireson Nelson Ireson Senior Editor
May 4, 2015

The 2015 Mazda MX-5 Miata is still the lightest, most fun-to-drive sports car you can buy for the money.

With an all-new fourth-generation Mazda MX-5 Miata due to reach the market soon, you might think the third-generation car currently on sale is chopped liver. You’d be wrong. It’s still as affordable, fun, and inspiring a sports car as ever, worthy of duty as both weekend warrior and daily driver. For the 2015 model year, a special 25th anniversary edition celebrates the car’s heritage with a unique appearance package, while the MX-5’s inherent lightweight, rev-happy nature remains intact across the range.

The 2015 Mazda MX-5 Miata sees no changes from last year to its standard versions, which continue forward in both soft top and Power Retractable Hard Top (PRHT) form and a range of trim levels. The one new addition to the 2015 MX-5 range is the MX-5 Miata 25th Anniversary Edition, which goes on pre-order sale through a special microsite the morning of May 20, 2014, running through May 31. Only 100 examples of the 25th Anniversary Edition will be sold, though Mazda will allow up to 250 registrations through the microsite.

Special features for the MX-5 Miata 25th Anniversary Edition include hand-selected pistons, connecting rods, and flywheel to yield a smoother, more free-revving engine; a standard Soul Red Metallic paint job with Brilliant Black A-pillars, windshield surround, side mirrors and PRHT; 17-inch Dark Gunmetal alloy wheels; Almond leather seats and door trim; satin chrome trim; leather-wrapped steering wheel, armrests, and shift boot; red contrast stitching throughout the interior; and aluminum alloy pedals. All 25th Anniversary models will also feature special embroidering in the leather headrests and logos in the stainless steel door sill plates. A badge on the driver’s front fender indicates the car’s 1/100 serial number.

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For all 2015 Mazda MX-5 Miatas, a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is standard, rated at 167 horsepower when paired with either the five- or six-speed manual transmission; examples equipped with the six-speed automatic are rated at 158 horsepower. All versions offer 140 pound-feet of torque. Both power and torque reach their maximums rather high in the rpm range, meaning the MX-5 Miata’s 2.0-liter four has to be pushed hard to deliver best results—exactly as you’d want in a lithe sports car.

While base models come standard with Mazda’s smart Z-folding soft top that forms its own tonneau when down, the available PRHT folding hard top is available. Adding an extra layer of security as well as noise isolation and comfort, the PRHT system effectively turns the MX-5 Miata into a coupe when the top is up. The PRHT does carry a weight penalty, however, adding about 80 pounds to the soft top’s weight. Curb weights for the range start at 2,447 pounds and range up to nearly 2,600 pounds, depending on equipment and trim level.

There are no crash test results for the 2015 Mazda MX-5 Miata, nor have earlier versions been tested. Despite this lack of data, the car’s rigid structure, standard airbag complement, potent brakes, and nimble handling should make the most of both accident survival and accident avoidance.

Available upgrades for the 2015 Mazda MX-5 include a Suspension Package, automatic climate control, Bose audio, and Bluetooth connectivity, though some of these upgrades are only available on higher-trim variants, such as the top-tier Grand Touring model.

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