With an all-new Mazda Miata MX-5 arriving for 2006, the only change to the 2005 models is Titanium Grey Mica as the Mazdaspeed version’s signature colour.
The regular Miata comes in GX, GS or GT trim lines. All use a 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine; the GX comes with a five-speed manual transmission, while the GS and GT use a six-speed. The GX and GT can be optioned up to a four-speed automatic.
Should the 142 hp Miata not be enough, the Mazdaspeed version offers a 178 hp turbocharged version.
The GX includes speed-sensitive steering, four-wheel disc brakes, 15-inch alloy wheels, power mirrors, fog lights, power antennae, CD player with two speakers, leather-wrapped wheel, power locks with keyless entry, power windows, floor mats, trunk light and black vinyl top.
The GS adds a limited-slip differential, sport suspension with Bilstein shocks, 16-inch alloy wheels, four speakers, and foldable windblocker.
The GT adds ABS, air conditioning, cruise control, and leather interior. It comes with a cloth top and boot cover that is either beige or black, depending on the interior colour.
The Mazdaspeed model features six-speed manual transmission, limited-slip differential, gas-filled Bilstein shocks, black vinyl convertible top, 17-inch Racing Hart alloy wheels, projector-type headlights, cloth upholstery, alloy foot pedals, six-CD Bose system with six speakers and speed-sensitive volume control, power locks with keyless entry, and the Mazdaspeed logo everywhere – it’s even on the rearview mirror, pedals and exhaust tip.
The Guinness Book of World Records says the Miata is the world’s best-selling roadster, and it’s understandable: it’s small, it’s lightweight, it handles so well it feels like an extension of your hands and feet, it’s great fun to drive, and it comes in at a reasonable price. Sure, it’s the midlife crisis car of choice, but if you’re driving down the road with a big smile on your face, who cares what people think?
The Mazdaspeed is an even bigger smile, with a firmer suspension, shock tower brace, lower ride height and aggressive tires that improve handling. It suffers from turbo lag, but once it’s there, acceleration is impressive.
The top is manually operated, but it’s so small and well-balanced that you can practically raise and lower it with one hand. The accompanying boot isn’t as simple, as it’s fiddly and tough to attach. Inside, the interior is perfectly proportioned, with miniaturized heater and radio controls. The fuel and trunk release buttons are tucked into a lockable storage bin that keeps them out of the way of those who like poking around unattended top-down convertibles.
The Miata fits like a glove, which can be a downside; if your shirt label says XXL, this is not your car. Tall drivers tend to look at the windshield frame.
The upcoming Miata (which will be called the MX-5 in North America, as the rest of the world calls all Miatas) has somewhat more generous proportions and smoother, more “mature-looking” styling, but don’t expect the price tag to stay the same as the outgoing 2005 model.
The Miata is built in Hiroshima, Japan.