2005 Mazda MX-5 Miata

Change year or car

Change year or car

$22,098

starting MSRP

2005 Mazda MX-5 Miata

Key specs

Base trim shown

Overview

The good:

  • Handling and maneuverability
  • Fun to drive
  • Gearbox operation
  • Fuel economy

The bad:

  • Ride comfort on rough surfaces
  • Engine noise
  • Difficult entry and exit
  • Snug cockpit

2 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2005 Mazda MX-5 Miata trim comparison will help you decide.

Notable features

  • Available six-speed manual
  • Optional suspension packages
  • Convertible body style
  • Traditional sports-car experience

2005 Mazda MX-5 Miata review: Our expert's take

By

The verdict:

Versus the competiton:

Mazda’s Miata has been the archetypical two-seat roadster since it was first introduced in 1989. Because it is lightweight, maneuverable and close fitting, it embodies the sports car spirit. More than 700,000 have been sold worldwide.

Its four-cylinder engine was never overpowering, but it had more than adequate zip for a small car that didn’t weigh much. Getting into the Miata was like putting on a pair of newly washed jeans – a little tight at first but comfortable after a few minutes.

The second-generation Miata had mildly revised styling and a little bigger engine, but now it’s time for generation three, and Mazda debuted an all-new Miata last week at the Geneva, Switzerland, auto show.

The new car will be called the MX-5 Miata. MX-5 is the name used throughout the rest of the world.

The lightweight roadster formula remains intact, but the new car is slightly larger and has a bigger engine. Mazda said it wanted to create a car in which the driver and vehicle operated as one. The concept, in Japanese, is called Jinba Ittai, and means “horse and rider as one.”

The tight-waisted, Coke-bottle shape that was so prominent on the first two Miatas has been subdued in favor of straighter body sides that give a wider cockpit. American buyers will welcome a larger cockpit. Pronounced fender arches accommodate 17-inch wheels that are considerably larger and wider than before.

The wheelbase has been lengthened 2.6 inches, but overall length is up by less than 1 inch. The car is 1.6 inches wider and less than an inch taller. Shaving excess weight wherever possible means the new car weighs just 22 pounds more than the current car. That’s impressive.

The new body structure is 22 percent stiffer, and torsional rigidity is up by 47 percent. Mazda said the improvements are due in part to the use of ultra-high-tension steel.

The engine has been moved back 5.3 inches to preserve the ideal 50:50 front-rear weight distribution. The equal weight distribution gives the car sharp reflexes and excellent handling, a trait that made the original Miata so much fun to drive. The engine is a 160-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder with four valves per cylinder and variable intake valve timing. The block, head and oil pan are aluminum. A light flywheel, electronic throttle and a stiff driveshaft are used to enhance the engine’s responsiveness.

Transmission choices include a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission. The automatic can be shifted manually with paddles on the steering wheel.

A double-wishbone front suspension is combined with a multi-link rear axle for go-kart handling. Lightweight wheels reduce unsprung weight and that, in turn, helps maintain a lively character. Brakes are four-wheel disc.

The interior will be available in three trim packages. Base models will have black cloth upholstery and a matte-silver metallic finish for the steering wheel, instrument rims and door handles. Upper models will have either all black or tan-and-black leather on the seats, instrument panel and doors. A piano-black finish is used in several areas.

Five individual round gauges have polarized glass to reduce glare when the top is down. The cabin is designed to fit a wider range of drivers. The steering wheel adjusts and the seat has more room for adjustment.

Storage, often a problem with the current car, is addressed. There are three compartments on the wall behind the seats, cup holders on the console and bottle holders in the doors. A pocket is affixed to the back of the driver’s seat and the passenger’s side of the transmission tunnel.

Side airbags with head protection are mounted in the seats. They are a first for the Miata. The Z-fold convertible top fits flush when lowered. A detachable hard top will be optional.

Mazda press materials said the MX-5 goes on sale in the second half of the year.

Engine: 2.0-liter, 160-hp 4-cyl.

Transmission: Six-speed manual or automatic

Rear-wheel drive

Wheelbase: 91.7 inches

Curb weight: 2,472 est.

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 3.5
  • Interior design 4.3
  • Performance 4.4
  • Value for the money 4.8
  • Exterior styling 4.7
  • Reliability 4.7

Most recent consumer reviews

4.0

Great Budget Sports Car

I purchased this car as a fun vehicle to enjoy on the weekends and also commute to work with. It is great if you only need to take one person (occasionally two) and don?t need to transport anything. But that is why my main vehicle is an SUV and I didn?t need the Miata to take anything. I loved the car and enjoyed it every drive.

4.7

Awesome Car

Not the fastest sports car, but has good handling.. Have owned 2004 MX5 for 5 years, and shes my baby..

4.7

love this car

absolutely love this car; inexpensive, looks great, handles wonderfully, economical. can't say enough good about it

See all 11 consumer reviews

Compare the competitors

2001

Toyota MR2

$23,585

starting MSRP

2006

Pontiac Solstice

$19,915

starting MSRP

2000

BMW Z3

$31,300

starting MSRP