Danielle Villeneuve

Cruiser: Mazda MX-5 Miata

It may have been a bit brisk for a convertible, but at Limited Slip Blog, we still gave the 2015 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring a fair shake. Its old-school roadster charm makes it an appealing option to those interested in the driving experience rather than speed. While most roadsters have met their demise, the Miata remains popular to this day—celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. When the 25th Anniversary Edition was announced, it sold out in a matter of 10 minutes. The Miata is a cult classic. But sometimes it makes you wonder, what has kept this little gem alive?

2015 Mazda Miata 4

First of all, Mazda offers something for everyone – as long as you’re expecting a 2-door roadster. With three different trim levels, Sport, Club, and Grand Touring, it’s possible to make it just the way you want it. In our last encounter, we drove the 2013 Mazda MX-5 Miata Club.

Mazda MX5 1
Ace of Spades: 2013 Mazda MX-5 Miata Club

April showers bring May flowers. May flowers brought us the Mazda MX-5 Miata Club, which in turn brought us a week of driving joy. Mazda has been refining the MX-5’s formula since 1989 and the resulting distillation is one of the most rewarding driving experiences that money can buy.

There are some distinct differences between the two lines. The Club is about spirited driving and style. It’s equipped with a shock tower brace, increasing front-end rigidity and “Club” graphics. On the inside, it had black cloth seats stitched with red contrast thread. To keep up with the spirited driving theme, there’s a body-color-matched panel with trim-related graphics. But this week’s tester was the Grand Touring trim.

2015 Mazda Miata 8

The Grand Touring is considered top-of-the-line with a more luxurious than race-inspired theme. Instead of a cloth interior, you’ll have a choice of black or spicy mocha leather-trimmed seats. The Grand Touring also offers a Bose seven-speaker premium surround sound audio system and an in-dash six-disc CD changer (unheard of nowadays, and a sign of the Miata’s age!). A leather-wrapped parking brake and matching shift knob finish off the look of the Grand Touring edition. The Power Retractable Hard Top (PRHT) is available on both the Club and Grand Touring. However, whereas the Club top comes in gloss black, it’s body-colored for the Grand Touring.

2015 Mazda Miata 1

What the Mazda Miata lacks in speed, it makes up for in handling. It’s a fun car to drive with precision steering and handling. With the top down, heat blasting, and the heated seat on, it tackled the cold backroads of Upstate New York like  champ. Behind the wheel, you’re infused with confidence and get an innate sense for how the car is handling and how it will respond. Our tester had some added agility from the Suspension Package which provides sport tuned suspension, bilstein shocks, and a limited slip differential. This is all powered by a 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine buzzing out 167 horsepower and 140 pound-feet of torque. The six-speed manual provides the driver with plenty of control and its short-throw and easy clutch makes shifting a breeze.

2015 Mazda Miata 2

There’s a reason why the MX-5 Miata continues to hold the title of best-selling two-seat roadster in the world. And that’s not just a statement, it’s a Guinness World Record! Also important in today’s day and age, is price. For just over 30K you get a lot of car. In its price range it’s one of the best handling cars out thanks to the sport tuned suspension and eager to play engine. A drive behind the wheel of a Miata is refreshing. It brings you back to the basics of what spirited driving is all about. It’s meant for the purist who is interested in the getting back to the relationship between car and driver. It’s a big, open-air reset button to the cars that seek to marginalize the subtle art of actually driving. So as this generation bows out, a new MX-5 will be hitting dealerships soon, to continue setting records and resetting minds.

-Danielle Assenheimer

2015 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring
Suspension Package $650
Premium Package $1,390
Destination Charges $795
As Tested MSRP $32,285

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