It seems like every month we hear the news of a car being discontinued. The reasons given for this is “because consumers want SUV/CUVs”. One of the recent casualties is the Mazda6 sedan, a car I’m quite fond of, I’ve reviewed on quite a few occasions and I even own one. Life is hard for sedans, and even harder for sports cars, with an ever-decreasing number of choices since the heydays of the 90’s.
But thankfully there are some manufacturers that are catering to the needs of a certain group of customers that not only want cars but sports car. Although Mazda doesn’t produce as many sports cars as it used to, like the RX7/RX8, MX6, and even the MX-3, they do still produce the fan favorite MX-5 (Miata).
What makes the Mazda MX-5 even more interesting is the fact that not only is it a sports car, it’s also a convertible, and more specifically a roadster. There are not that many roadsters currently on the market, the only other ones I can think of is the Jaguar F-Type and Mercedes-AMG GT in the Canadian market, which are out of reach of many people. The Mazda MX-5 is the affordable alternative and it is offered in soft-top and retractable hardtop, known as the MX-5 RF.
The 2021 Mazda MX-5 is offered in four trims. The base car is the GS, with a starting price of $35,170, the GS-P starts at $39,170 and can be equipped with the Sport Package for $4,400. The MX-5 GT has a starting price of $42,270, and currently there’s an anniversary model called the MX-5 100th Anniversary Edition priced at $43,770.
Our review car for the week was a 2021 Mazda MX-5 GS-P with the Sport Package, for an as tested price of $43,650 including $1,850 for Freight & PDE. The Sport Package includes the following additional equipment:
- 17” BBS forged wheels
- Recaro sports seats with leather/Alcantara
- Brembo front brakes
- Red front and rear brake calipers
All trims of the Mazda MX-5 are equipped with 2.0-liter SKYACTIV-G 4-cylinder engines, producing 181 horsepower at 7,000 rpm and 151 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm, with a redline of 7,500 rpm. Power is sent to the rear wheels via a 6-speed manual or automatic transmissions. The automatic is a no-charge option, however, if you’re buying the MX-5, the 6-speed is the transmission to choose. Not that there’s anything wrong with the automatic transmission, but pure sports cars like these need to be driven with manual transmissions. With that said, I would love to review an MX-5 with an automatic transmission, just to see what it feels like, as I’ve never reviewed an MX-5 with an automatic transmission.
The MX-5 is a pure sports car, it’s a nod to the days gone by where cars were simple and light, and a lot of fun to drive without having thousands of horsepower. The MX-5 received a power boost in 2019, increasing horsepower by 26 HP and 3 lb-ft of torque. This may not seem like much, but this is a light car and the power increase didn’t increase weight.
I have driven quite powerful cars recently, however, the smile I got on my face every time I got behind the wheel of our 2021 review MX-5 was much bigger than with those cars. Sure having 500+ horsepower is fun, but that kind of power is not usable in the city and even if you use it outside of congested areas, you risk being caught by the law, ending up with big fines or worse, an impounded car.
The 6-speed manual transmission on the MX-5 is buttery smooth with short throws. It is quite fun throwing the MX-5 into different gears, something most of us don’t get to do much nowadays. Keeping the simplicity theme going, the interior is laid in an extremely simple to understand layout. It still features some modern tech like an infotainment screen with back up camera, navigation (if equipped), Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The center stack houses three knobs for the climate system; the left one changes the temperature, the middle one controls the fan speed, and the right one controls the air direction. Below it is a small storage space for a phone, heated seats buttons, and a couple of USB ports.
The gauge cluster is also quite simple and easy to read. At the center is a large dial displaying the rpms, like a proper sports car, with the speedometer on the right and a TFT screen on the left that displays engine temperature, external temperature, fuel consumption, and fuel gauge. The steering wheel is nice and thick, it features the usual buttons found on most new vehicles, like cruise control buttons, volume buttons etc.
Taking the top down/up is quite simple and is done manually. To take it down, simple unlatch it above the rear-view mirror and push it back behind you, takes about 5 seconds. Putting it back up is just as simple by pulling on a latch placed between the driver and passenger seats and pulling the roof over your head.
Everything about this car is simple and minimal, and I loved that about this car. There is a reason the MX-5 has sold so well over the years and continues to be a part of the automotive landscape that’s being taken over the SUV/CUVs. Thankfully there are companies like Mazda that are catering to the enthusiast. We hope the MX-5 continues to sell well so we can see upgraded/update version of this little roadster.