2011 Mazda MX-5 Miata Photo
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On Performance
On Performance
The 2011 Mazda MX-5 Miata behaves like a true sports car, and is immensely satisfying to drive beyond its specs on paper.
9.0 out of 10
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PERFORMANCE | 9 out of 10

Expert Quotes:

For some, it embodies the essence of what driving enjoyment is all about.
Consumer Reports

Some strange combination of open top, high exhaust note, and sport suspension made the car feel a lot faster than its instruments indicated.

Few cars offer as much everyday driving fun as the Miata, and even fewer do it as inexpensively.

The car is not slow, but slow enough that you can drive it flat out absolutely everywhere.
Car and Driver

the 2.0-liter four-banger is as rev-happy as ever (and sounds good, too)
Motor Trend

Just as the 2011 Mazda MX-5 Miata carries on the look and feel of a classic British roadster, it delivers those wind-in-hair thrills with even better-than-expected performance.

The Miata already stood out for its rev-happy yet economical engine, quick, direct steering, and well-balanced handling. For 2009, the Miata got an improved gearbox as well as a raised redline for the engine that made it even more enjoyable to run the eager setup through its paces.

The 2010 Miata's four-cylinder engine—a 167-hp, 2.0-liter four—is very responsive and rev-happy, with sports car-perfect handling, quick short-ratio steering, and short-throw manual transmissions that are a joy to run through the gears. It's not a lot of power, but since the Miata weighs less than 2,600 pounds it can nevertheless get to 60 mph in about seven seconds.

A near perfect 50/50 weight distribution makes its handling predictable, and the quick-ratio steering is both secure at speed and extremely fast for parking or emergency maneuvers. The Miata handles like a go-kart at low speeds and shows a surprising degree of poise for higher track speeds.

The 2011 Mazda MX-5 Miata comes with either a five- or six-speed manual transmission, depending on the trim level; a six-speed automatic is optional and includes steering-wheel shift paddles. In the opinion of the editors, though, the manual gearboxes have nice, neat linkages, with easy-to-manage clutches and are a joy—and the only way to go in a roadster such as this.


The 2011 Mazda MX-5 Miata behaves like a true sports car, and is immensely satisfying to drive beyond its specs on paper.

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