Ever since Mazda introduced the Miata as an early 1990 model, it's officially been known as the MX-5 Miata. Most sports-car fans, however, simply called it the Miata. The roadster was finally redesigned for 2006, and the Miata designation departed at that time. Officially, the two-seater is dubbed MX-5, but don't expect enthusiasts to stop calling it the Miata anytime soon.
The MX-5 is larger than its predecessor but similar to the original Miata in overall design and shape. It is intended to be natural and lively in its reactions. Seat-mounted side-impact airbags are standard.
A new power-retractable hardtop model debuts for 2007, and Touring and Grand Touring models gain an auto-down feature for the passenger window. Stormy Blue and Highland Green are new exterior colors.
Like the original Miata, the MX-5's nose and tail are tapered. The cockpit is wider than the prior generation's and promises greater hip room, shoulder room and elbow room. The roadster's weight distribution is an even 50/50, which should help deliver predictable responses, and rack-and-pinion steering takes only 2.6 turns lock-to-lock.
The folding fabric top incorporates a Z-fold design that uses a single, centrally positioned latch handle. The top fits flush in its lowered position, so a detachable boot cover isn't necessary. Standard wheels measure 16 inches in diameter, but 17-inch wheels are available.
Two occupants fit inside the MX-5. The interior is highlighted with chrome and silver accents, and the driver faces a three-spoke tilt steering wheel. Coated glass covers the instrument cluster for easy visibility, even in direct sunlight. Steering-wheel audio and cruise controls are used.
Three compartments are built into the back wall of the cockpit, and one storage area locks. Pockets and bottle holders are positioned around the cockpit.
Under the Hood
The MX-5's 2.0-liter four-cylinder develops 166 horsepower at 6,700 rpm. The engine operates with four valves per cylinder and has dual overhead camshafts and variable valve timing. Torque output is 140 pounds-feet at 5,000 rpm. Three transmissions are available: a five-speed manual, six-speed manual and six-speed automatic. The six-speed manual has especially short throws and triple-cone synchronizers for the first four gears. The engine's output dips by 3 hp when it's teamed with the six-speed automatic.
All-disc antilock brakes and side-impact airbags are standard.
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