With its classic profile and hand-operated ragtop, what the 2011 Mazda MX-5 Miata convertible lacks in luxury, it makes up for in driving fun.
With its classic profile and hand-operated ragtop, what the 2011 Mazda MX-5 Miata convertible lacks in luxury, it makes up for in driving fun.

2011 Mazda MX-5 Miata

Budget Ragtop
Budget Ragtop
With its classic profile and hand-operated ragtop, what the 2011 Mazda MX-5 Miata convertible lacks in luxury, it makes up for in driving fun.
Overview
Overview
The Mazda MX-5 Miata offers the finesse and quickness of a classic rear-wheel-drive British sports car, yet remains so inexpensive ($23,905 starting price) that you can go out and buy one on a whim without breaking the budget. A hand-operated ragtop is standard, but a power retractable hardtop makes the cabin quieter and provides extra protection against the elements during winter driving. With the demise of the Pontiac Solstice and Honda S2000, the Miata's closest competitor is the Mini Cooper convertible, which is fun but doesn't have the same classic sports car pedigree. Our biggest gripes about the Miata are its downscale interior and mediocre fuel economy that barely bests that of heavier high-end sports cars such as the Porsche Boxster. But it's still a great little second or third car for shoppers on a budget.
Interior
Interior
The standard interior is similar to that of an economy car, with inexpensive materials and lots of hard plastic. There's little storage space inside the car. Trunk space is 5.3 cu. ft. with the top up or down, not much but adequate for a couple on a weekend jaunt.
Engine/Transmission
Engine/Transmission
Under the hood is a 2.0-liter, inline four-cylinder engine rated at 167 horsepower with a stick shift and 158 hp with a six-speed automatic with steering-wheel paddle shifters. The standard stick shift is a five-speed in the Sport, and a six-speed in higher trim levels.
Performance
Performance
The Miata only weighs between 2,447 lb. and 2,619 lb., depending on its top and transmission. It accelerates from zero to 60 in about seven seconds but feels much quicker because it's so light and agile. Front/rear weight distribution is close to 50/50.
Retractable Top
Retractable Top
Unless you're into squeezing every last ounce of performance out of the Miata, the retractable hardtop is highly recommended. It adds about 80 lb. to the car's weight but makes the cabin noticeably quieter and goes up and down in 12 seconds.
Fuel Economy
Fuel Economy
The base model with a five-speed stick shift is rated to get 22 miles per gallon in the city and 28 on the highway, 24 on average. Mileage drops slightly to 21/28/24 with the six-speed stick shift, and 21/28/23 with the automatic.
Safety
Safety
The 2011 MX-5 doesn't have government crash-test ratings but standard equipment includes antilock brakes, braking assist and brake force distribution, seat-belt pretensioners, and front and side air bags.
Price
Price
Starting price is $23,905 for the Sport with a stick shift, rising to $26,245 for the Touring, $27,505 for the Grand Touring, and $31,720 for the Special Edition. An automatic costs $2,260 extra in the Sport but only $1,100 in the Touring and GT, and $600 in the SE.