The 2021 Mazda MX-5 retails from $33,200 in Canada and from $26,830 in the United States.
A blast to drive, bulletproof reliability, fuel efficiency.
Tight cockpit, cumbersome cupholders, limited outward visibility (with the top down of course).
We worked hard all our lives, or most of it, and it’s now time to reward ourselves. Why not a car? One that’s fun to drive and that allows us to soak up the sun during our too-short summers. That’s where the 2021 Mazda MX-5 comes into play.
The MX-5, which is still called the Miata in the U.S., is available with a manual-folding soft top, but also a power-retractable hardtop in the case of the MX-5 RF, the latter being marketed is a more luxurious grand touring car.
This fourth-generation Miata was developed in collaboration with Fiat, who reportedly wanted to market its own version under the Alfa Romeo brand. The Italian automaker changed its mind and introduced its variant as the Fiat 124 Spider, which is unfortunately no longer on sale in North America since last year.
The Mazda MX-5 2021 has very few adversaries. Among them, we find the MINI Convertible, the Subaru BRZ and the Toyota GR 86, even though the two last ones are obviously coupes and not droptops. We can also consider the Ford Mustang and the Chevrolet Camaro convertibles, which are very different beasts, but positioned in the same price range.
Unsurprisingly, the MX-5 isn’t a torque monster. Its naturally aspirated 2.0L four-cylinder engine develops 181 horsepower and 151 pound-feet, modest numbers compared to those of its competitors, save for the MINI. With a base curb weight of 1,066 kilograms (2,350 pounds), or 1,116 kg (2,460 pounds) in the case of the MX-5 RF, performance isn’t breathtaking, but interesting nonetheless. And we can still row through gears ourselves with its standard six-speed manual transmission, for those who prefer three-pedal driving.
Starting price for the 2021 Mazda MX-5 is set at $33,200 in Canada before freight and delivery charges. The power-topped RF is available from $40,200 and a fully loaded RF GT rings in at $47,200. A 100th Anniversary Edition is available for the 2021 model year from $44,800, but as these lines are being written, it’s unclear if there are any left on dealer lots. In the U.S., the Miata starts at $26,830 and the RF ranges from $33,045 to $38,860, while the 100th Anniversary Edition was priced from $32,670.
Why You Should Buy a 2021 Mazda MX-5
- Where the 2021 Mazda MX-5 Miata shines is in the driving dynamics department. It benefits from very precise steering feel, a low centre of gravity and perfect weight distribution, allowing us to tackle sinuous roads in confidence and have loads of fun without surpassing our driving skills or even the speed limit.
- The MX-5 offers peace of mind, as it benefits from an excellent reputation for reliability, unlike other sports cars much costlier to purchase and upkeep.
- Fuel economy is pretty good in the 2021 Mazda MX-5. With the manual gearbox, it’s rated at 8.1 L/100 km or 29 mpg, and with the automatic, the numbers improve slightly to 7.9 L/100 km and 30 mpg. Premium fuel is required. During our test composed mostly of country roads, we managed an excellent 6.7 L/100 km or 35 mpg.
- We love the simplicity of the of the ragtop that can be lowered and raised in a matter of seconds with little elbow grease—while we’re sitting in the driver’s seat.
Why You Shouldn’t Buy a 2021 Mazda MX-5
- The Miata is a small car, obviously. The cockpit is tight, with little room to wiggle around. The seats have some adjustments, but finding a great driving position might not be easy for all types of occupants.
- The cupholders seem to have been an afterthought. They’re detachable and can be installed either near the passenger’s left knee, or on the console between the seats where our elbows will hit whatever’s in the cupholders.
- With the top up, outward visibility isn’t all that great, and we can feel confined, especially at night or in the rain. Or both.
- While the soft-top MX-5s are relatively affordable, the MX-5 RF is costlier for what could be considered a secondary car or weekend toy. That kind of coin could be spent on a V8-powered Mustang or Camaro which offer more exhilarating performance and sound.
The 2021 Mazda MX-5 Miata is a blast to drive, looks good and doesn’t cost too much to maintain. It’s one of the rare pure sports cars still available on the market, and its convertible top is a bonus for the summer season.
However, shoppers must be aware that this is a small vehicle and has near-zero versatility, other than to put smiles on the faces of its passengers. That may just be enough to deserve a place in our driveway, and if we were choosing, we’d go for a basic, soft-top MX-5 for its bang for the buck. Or a GS-P with the Sport package (Club with Brembo/BBS package in the U.S.) for the supreme driver’s Miata.