2011 Mazda Miata
The 2011 Mazda MX-5 Miata is an affordable, two-seat roadster that combines performance with riding enjoyment. An awesome, fun and sweet-looking ride, the Mazda MX-5 Miata has always managed to make reviewers purr with contentment. Ranked as #1 among 5 Affordable Sports Cars by U.S. News Rankings and Reviews for 2010, the Mazda MX-5 Miata carries over into 2011 with few changes.
For sports car enthusiasts who don�t have a lot of pocket money to spend on a high-falutin� Ferrari or Maserati or even a Porsche or Corvette, the sub $30,000 MX-5 Miata represents a wonderful opportunity to look like a champ and drive like one as well. For 2010, the MX-5 Miata also scored as one of Car and Driver�s �10 Best�. The 2011 MX-5 Miata is due to hit dealerships in the Fall 2010.
Sitting behind the wheel of a 2011 Mazda Miata, you'll get the feeling that you're wearing the car, rather than sitting in it. The fit is snug for average-sized adults, but not cramped. Taller drivers, however, have found that the seat runs out of rearward travel, although there's loads more room than in previous-generation Miatas. As always, this Miata features simple, legible gauges along with well-placed, user-friendly controls.
The manual convertible top's operation is as simple as it gets -- push a button, pull a lever and toss the top over your shoulder. Dropping the top takes only a few seconds and raising it is just as easy. With practice, some longer- and stronger-limbed drivers can raise the roof without even leaving the seat. The power-retractable hardtop takes a bit longer to transform from coupe to roadster, but the added convenience, noise isolation and security make it a good choice as a daily driver.
One of the biggest drawbacks for small convertibles is a lack of trunk space, and the Miata is no exception. The 5.3 cubic feet of trunk space is barely enough for a weekend getaway and golf bags take quite a bit of wrestling to stow -- if they fit at all. Points are also deducted for the disappointing top-down stereo performance. Even the upgraded Bose system suffers from poorly aimed speakers that fail to envelop the occupants.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2011 Mazda MX-5 Miata is a two-seat roadster that is offered in three trim levels: base Sport, well-equipped Touring and premium Grand Touring. All come standard with a manually operated soft top, while the top two trims can be had with a power-retractable hardtop (PRHT).
In Sport trim, standard features include 16-inch cast-aluminum wheels, a black vinyl convertible top with a glass rear window, air-conditioning, cloth seats, a six-speaker sound system with a CD/MP3 player and an auxiliary audio jack, a height-adjustable driver seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and power windows and mirrors.
The Touring model adds 17-inch alloy wheels, a shock tower brace for the front suspension, foglights, cruise control, power door locks, keyless entry, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a trip computer, a six-CD changer, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls and a leather-wrapped shift knob. The Grand Touring steps up with the choice of a black or beige cloth top, automatic climate control, leather upholstery, heated seats, a seven-speaker Bose audio system and silver interior accents. The PRHT models are identically equipped.
Most options are grouped in packages. Sport models can be equipped with the Convenience package that includes most of the Touring upgrades (this package is included in Miatas with automatic transmissions). Touring and Grand Touring models can enhance the Miata's already nimble handling with the Suspension package (only available with a manual transmission), which includes a sport-tuned suspension with Bilstein shocks and a limited-slip differential. The Grand Touring qualifies for the Premium package that features stability control, keyless ignition/entry, xenon headlights, Bluetooth and satellite radio. An Appearance package adds a different front spoiler and extended rocker sills.
Also available this year is the limited-production Miata Special Edition. It's essentially a Grand Touring PRHT with the Premium package and, if it's a manual transmission, the Suspension package. The Miata Special Edition also includes unique exterior and interior colors.
�Zoom-Zoom� automaker may have a new high-tech 4-cylinder engine, code named �Sky-G� in the works for their 2011 Miata. Reports put the potential mileage as high as 70 miles per gallon.
According to InsideLine, the naturally aspirated 1.3-liter 4-cylinder engine that was first introduced at the 2009 Tokyo Auto Show is expected to produce power in the same realm as the current Miata, roughly 150 hp, and would easily retain the Miata�s existing power-to-weight ratio with the 2011 model�s expected weight of 2,200 pounds.
The eye-brow raising fuel economy figure of 70 mpg was speculated by some speaking to InsideLine, as well as a 50 mpg figure. Both figures were reportedly based on testing with a vehicle approximately the size and weight of the Mazda Kiyora concept car that debuted at the Paris Auto Show in 2008.
Although specifics on how the engine achieves such high mileage have not yet been released by the automaker, it is reported that the engine achieved these figures in a natually aspirated form, and was between 1.3 and 1.5-liters.
One of the Miata's greatest attributes continues to be its ability to bound from corner to corner on a tight and winding road. This ability is due in no small part to a suspension and steering feel that are as communicative as a political pundit in an election year. The seat-of-the-pants feel and feedback from the wheel give the Miata the goods to satisfy nearly any driving enthusiast, though some horsepower junkies may yearn for more under-hood punch.
Still, the free-revving four-cylinder always seems eager to play and the short-throw manual gearbox is as good as it gets. Drivers with less sporting intentions should still find the 2011 Mazda MX-5 Miata easy to live with and comfortable for long stints in either top-up or top-down mode.