Performance » 9
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PERFORMANCE | 9 out of 10
powerful and capable
pulls strongly and keeps right on giving
Kelley Blue Book
Acceleration is brisk
The 2008 Mazda MX-5 Miata has a nimble feel and quick reflexes like a true sportscar should, and power has hit new heights, according to reviews researched by TheCarConnection.com and the firsthand experience of editors.
Almost all reviews about the performance of the MX-5 Miata are glowing--Mazda has created a vehicle that "changes direction like a go-kart, communicates clearly to the driver and accelerates with an inspiring inline-4 growl," raves Edmunds. The New York Times says, “On paper it seems unremarkable, but a mere spec sheet won’t divulge the essence of this car. Its 166-horsepower engine doesn’t make face-melting power, but it seems to have no flywheel whatsoever, and a blip of the throttle results in an instant, melodic zing that begs you to match revs on your next downshift.”
Both the 2008 Mazda MX-5 Miata roadster and hardtop convertible are powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 166 hp (manual-equipped versions make 170 hp). Car and Driver observes of the hardtop convertible, “at 2560 pounds, it was 135 pounds heavier than our last MX-5 softtop and did the 60-mph dash 0.3 second slower (7.0 seconds).”
The 2008 Mazda MX-5 Miata comes with either a five- or six-speed manual, depending on trim levels. A six-speed automatic is an option. “The six-speed manual has especially short throws,” Cars.com points out, while the six-speed automatic “includes steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles for manual operation.” The manual shifter is a delight, reports the New York Times. “The shifter feels as though a team of engineers spent months working on its action, and a flick of the wrist rewards you with the rare feeling of metal engaging metal, a precision machine at work,” they wax.
Fuel economy in the 2008 Mazda MX-5 Miata ranges from 22/27 mpg to 20/27 mpg.
Impressive acceleration is matched with deft use of power via the 2008 Mazda MX-5 Miata’s rear-drive chassis. Kelley Blue Book says the weight balance "allows the car to perform remarkably nimble maneuvers that would be more difficult if the car had more of its weight biased to either end." Cars.com also notes that “the roadster has a 50/50 weight distribution (front/rear) and precise rack-and-pinion steering for legendary handling and predictability. The Miata is one of the most fun-to-drive cars around, despite its relatively modest engine power.”
Mazda Miatas have long been known to accelerate and handle well, but the 17-inch tires are an option than can sully its usually smooth ride. ConsumerGuide says the "ride is choppy and borderline harsh with the less-compliant combination of the Suspension Package and 17-inch tires."
The 2008 Mazda Miata MX-5 is as nimble as it is stylish.