2020 Mazda MX-5 starts at $33,100 in Canada, $26,580 in the US.
The Mazda MX-5 Miata has been in production since 1989.
More than 1 million have since been sold.
Few cars are more universally loved and simultaneously mocked than the Mazda MX-5. Simply put, those who dismiss the small roadster have never had the opportunity to drive one. Those who have driven one and still put it down have no concept of what it is to actually drive.
I’ve been extremely fortunate to drive all generations of the Mazda MX-5, and on multiple occasions. With the unique exception of once bringing an automatic transmission-equipped model home for a review (it wasn’t that bad finally), all iterations, from the NA, NB, NC and ND, are exceptional. And not only as cars designed, engineered, and built at a certain point in time, but even today. Take a well-sorted 1st generation NA out for a 30-minute drive and call me in the morning.
I’ve faithfully attempted to avoid the following statement over the years as I love all MX-5s dearly but, without a doubt, the current ND2 (from MY 2019) is the best-ever MX-5 Mazda has ever put together. This is possible only because the MX-5 has been perfect or nearly at every round. The ND, launched for the 2016 model year erased the “mistakes” of the NC (shorter, slimmer, and studlier) and the ND2, well it got a mild power boost that has put it over the top.
We could argue all day, and I would win, but the ND2 is a better Miata in almost every conceivable way over the NB Mazdaspeed but truly, there’s no point in fussing. They’re all good, and the ND2 is great.
Here are the five reasons why we love the 2020 Mazda Miata so much:
The Mazda MX-5, all of them, are instantly recognizable. The ND replaced the NC’s “grin” with a more purposeful, sporty, and premium-looking front fascia. The car’s proportions are spot-on classic roadster and if you opt for the RF, the MX-5 is downright sexy.
Onboard, the cabin is surprisingly elegant, and simple. This approach is designed to keep driver distractions at a minimum. Also related to this are commands and controls that fall easily and immediately underhand.
Overall, the car is incredibly attractive. Our only complaint would be the lack of interesting colours like Mariner Blue or Sunburst Yellow.
Balance, neutrality, feedback, and compliance will always trump pulling 1.3 Gs of lateral grip. The Miata is perfectly suited to daily-driving no matter the roads traveled. The chassis’ tune blends impressive grip, reassuring and controlled roll with comfort.
The Mazda MX-5 is never overwhelmed by what the driver asks of it, even when the demand is close to extreme. The near-perfect 50/50 distribution and dialed-to-perfection steering give the driver plenty of leeway if a mistake is made. As a possible last resort, the brakes are plenty powerful.
The combination of track-capable handling and generous damping makes the MX-5 as much fun on the track as it is on the road to the track.
The turbocharged Mazdaspeed Miata was quick and compromised. The Miata is meant to be enjoyed and not a labour-intensive driving experience. The Speed’s chassis was over-stiff, unflinching, and, after a while, too extreme for day-to-day driving. And then, there was turbo-lag to deal with.
The ND2’s power bump to 181 horsepower, 151 lb.-ft. of torque and 7,500 rpm redline feel far more potent than the numbers suggest. The secret lies in the throttle response, which is immediate. From just north of 3,500 rpm, the little naturally-aspirated 2.0-litre engine really can do. I’ve driven the Mazdaspeed Miata three times in my career and I think the ND2 is faster.
Without a shadow of a doubt, this is the MX-5 greatest asset. Whether you’re a novice manual driver, or a seasoned heel-and-toe-rev-matching-double-clutching superstar, the Miata’s shifter and clutch are synchronized to perfection. Pedal placement is perfect, the shift levers throws are perfect, the weight behind the clutch pedal is perfect – less than a handful of cars in the world, most costing 1.5x to 2x the price of the Mazda, come close.
If artificial intelligence is ever to be used in designing the manual shift’s functions, it will never be this good.
It makes all aboard happy:
No matter the situation, be it the pandemic, a recession, or recent personal loss, the Mazda MX-5 is a true getaway car. On a sunny day, with the top down, and only the wind in your hair and the sound of the 4-cylinder in your ears, the MX-5 will take you away. And if you’re already in a fine mood, the MX-5 will make you feel as though you are on top of the world.
For some, it might not be as efficient as therapy with a professional but the difference is that you’ll want to drive the car over and over again, and it probably won’t cost that much more.