blank 10/09/13 09:34AM Auto Reviews, Mazda Roadster, Sports Cars

A Review of the Mazda MX-5 Roadster

Mazda MX-5 Roadster

The MX-5 has been one of the most popular two-seat convertible sports cars in the world ever since it was launched in 1989. Due to the success the first generation had, Mazda has continued to produce the MX-5 for over two decades, and the current generation features various improvements over its predecessor. This is the best-selling roadster in the history, and in order to keep it at the top, Mazda has introduced several changes to the car's exterior design, and it has improved its safety, along with its acceleration and braking. Now, the MX-5 looks more elegant, and it's more powerful than previous models.

Starting with the powertrain, Mazda has decided to offer two versions of the latest MX-5, one powered by a 1.8-liter engine providing 158 horsepower, and the other with 2.0-liter, inline four-cylinder engine, which delivers 167 horsepower. The 1.8-liter engine allows the car to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 9.9 seconds, while the 2.0-liter engine makes it much faster, going from 0 to 60 mph in 7.6-seconds. Both engines provide 140 lb-ft of torque. The engine is paired with a 5-speed manual transmission, and it delivers a top speed of 123 mph.

A stylish, attractive design has always been one of the strongest suits of the MX-5, and this current version continues that tradition. It features a power-retractable hardtop, which can be lowered in 14, and raised in 15 seconds, but it has to be done when the car is not moving. You can raise and lower the hardtop simply by pushing a button on the center console. It features twin exhaust tailpipes, halogen headlights and 16-inch aluminum alloy wheels as standard equipment.

As far as the interior is concerned, it's a quite comfortable roadster, with a leather steering wheel, leather gear knob, audio controls mounted on the steering wheel, air conditioning, power windows, rear window defogger, driver and passenger behind-seat storage, power-adjustable driver and passenger seats, padded center console, FM/CD/MP3 with 6 speakers, and auxiliary-audio input jack. Instrumentation includes a tachometer, fuel and oil pressure gauge, as well as a trip computer as an optional feature.

Mazda has invested a lot in vehicle safety, and has equipped the MX-5 with plenty of sophisticated features that improve both passenger and pedestrian safety. For starters, there are front air bags with seat belt-use, passenger-weight and driver's seat-position sensors, along with side-impact door beams, and side-impact air bags. It comes with dynamic stability control and traction control system, and electronic brakeforce distribution. The Japanese car maker has included an innovation that addresses the issue of pedestrian safety, too. It's the hood that is raised automatically in case the car hits a pedestrian, which results in a bigger crumple zone and helps the pedestrian sustain less severe injuries. The aerodynamic capabilities are improved by the lower stance and the new chin spoiler.

The current Mazda MX-5 has a combined fuel economy rated at 39 mpg with the 1.8-liter engine, and 36 mpg with the 2.0-liter engine. The starting price is $23,720.

Jordan Perch is an automotive fanatic and “green cars” specialist. He is a writer for DMV.com, which is a collaborative community designed to help ease the stress and annoyance of “dealing with the DMV”.


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