All hail the best-selling roadster in the world! I'm talking about the Mazda MX-5 Miata. A two-seater that's so fun to drive, I'm pretty sure could help bring about world peace. It's as joyful a time as I can remember behind the wheel of a vehicle. I'm quite convinced that everyone should experience the exhilaration of driving a convertible such as this on a gorgeous sunny day. My test model is the range-topping 2022 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring with a soft top (I reviewed the RF hardtop model in 2019.) Note, a new 5th-generation Miata is coming in 2024 and will reportedly feature a new mild-hybrid powertrain.
Wow is the Miata something to look at in Machine Gray Metallic (+$595) and eye-catching 17-inch dark silver finish alloy wheels that house high-performance tires. Just stunning. It's outfitted with LED headlights, daytime running lights and LED combo tail lights.
The Grand Touring exterior features heated power side mirrors, an auto dimming driver's side mirror and dual exhaust. The Z-shape folding black cloth soft-top is a BREEZE to open and close manually. A mesh aero board wind blocker between the driver and passenger seats helps keep the wind at bay when the top is down.
Power is perfectly suited to the spirited personality of this roadster. But if you're looking for a track star, look elsewhere. The Miata's four-cylinder engine delivers 181-horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. It's mated to a smooth shifting 6-speed manual gearbox. An automatic is available only on the Grand Touring model. Fuel economy is great, too, thanks to its lightweight and the manual gearbox. Premium fuel isn't required but recommended.
The Grand Touring trim's interior features gorgeous, rich-looking Terracotta Nappa (+$300) leather seats that feel just as amazing as they look. (Seats are typically a Mazda strength across the board.) The bucket leather-trimmed seats recline and are quite comfortable.
The interior features piano black trim and silver hardware along with a leather-wrapped steering wheel that's on the decidedly firmer side to match the roadster's sporty stance. There's nothing fancy about the driver instrumentation, but it fits the Miata perfectly. Since it's a manual you'll see a large RPM analog display front and center. A left display is digital and features fuel, road sign info and more.
A 7-inch multimedia screen jets up from the dash. While Mazda's technology could use an update, it displays nice graphics and mapping. Performance-wise response time lags a bit behind other systems when following voice commands. The system features wireless Apple CarPlay but non-wireless Android Auto along with Bluetooth, HD Radio plus Sirius XM availability.
The Grand Touring's 9-speaker Bose sounds system sounds just perfect in the smaller dimensions of a roadster. And what's really cool are the Bose speakers in the seat headrests!
Below the multimedia screen, you find three large climate control dials, 3-level heated seat controls and 2 USB ports. A slim center console houses the multimedia controller, leather-wrapped manual gear shift-knob and parking brake handle. Two floating-style cupholders are placed back between the front seats as to not take up console space.
Standard Grand Touring features include push-button start, one-touch power windows, carpet mats, a driver foot rest and black door sill trim plates with stainless steel inserts.
As you might imagine, you have to get creative with storage space in a roadster. There is a small locking rear storage bin and you'll find some covered storage areas in-between and behind the seats. Trunk space is also limited, but I had no issue picking up a few bags of groceries. There's also a remote trunk release.
Ride and Drive
The rear-wheel drive Miata with its low stance, near 50/50 weight distribution and sport-tuned suspension delivers an engaging ride that connects you with the road in the most exhilarating way that just makes you feel alive. It's equipped with a limited slip differential, front shock tower brace, front double wishbone suspension, and double pinion electronic power steering to name a few. It's far from a quiet ride, thanks to the soft-top, but it's all part of the experience. Braking is excellent. New for 2022, Mazda employs something it calls Kinematic Posture Control which limits body roll.
A word about safety. I was duly impressed with Mazda's Blind Spot Monitoring (w/rear Cross Traffic Alert). BSM is so important to offer standard on a roadster since visibility can be an issue. Not only that, but while I was on the highway, BSM sensed a fast-approaching vehicle on my right to a degree that surprised me. The Miata lineup comes equipped with Blind Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, as well Smart City Brake Support, Lane Departure Warning and Rear View Monitor. The Grand Touring adds Traffic Sign Recognition.
There's a lot to say about the Miata and all of it good. The entire experience of the ride and drive thanks to the suspension and 6-speed manual, along with the ease of use of the soft-top to the interior comforts that include the amazing Nappa Leather seats and the Bose sound system make this a roadster to love.
- What I Liked Most: Oh what a feeling!
- What I would change: While the manual soft-top is easy to operate, a power option wouldn't hurt.
- MSRP: Base price: $32,300; as equipped: $34,210.
- Fuel Economy: 26 city/34 highway/29 combined.
- Odometer reading when tested: 514 miles.
- Weight: 2,341-pound curb weight.
- Spare Tire: None.
- Length-Width-Height: 154.1” long/68.3” wide/48.8” high.
- Fuel Tank Capacity: 11.89 gallons with the filler on the driver's side.
- Official Color: Machine Gray Metallic w/ Terracotta Nappa Leather. (+ cost)
- Towing Capacity: N/A.
- 2022 Mazda MX-5 Grand Touring in a few words: An exhilarating roadster that lives up to Mazda's promise of pure driving enjoyment.
- Warranty: 60-month/60,000-mile powertrain; 36-month/36,000 mile bumper-to-bumper warranty. 25-hour roadside assistance.
- Final Assembly Location: Hiroshima, Japan.
- Manufacturer's website: Mazda