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article imageReview: 2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata — Pure top-down driving joy

By Kyle Busch     Jun 18, 2012 in Technology
This article reviews the 2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata an impressive roadster/convertible that provides some of the best driving at any price.
The Mazda Media first came on the American automotive scene in 1989, and since that time, the little roadster has provided a great top-down driving experience.
The 2012 Mazda MX-5 continues the rewarding driving tradition. Here is what this roadster has to offer.
Of the MX-5 Motor Trend has said that it is simply, “The best sports car in America.” These are impressive automotive words indeed!
The MX-5 is a two-passenger two-door rear-wheel drive roadster available in Sport, Touring, and Grand Touring models.
The engine is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder providing 167 hp and 140 ft. lb. of torque. The transmission is a short throw six-speed manual (one of the best in the business) or a six-speed automatic with shift paddles on the steering wheel. This Mazda’s 0-60 mph time is in a quick 6.3 seconds. Its front and rear weight distribution is a balanced 51/49 percent and the car’s lateral acceleration is an impressive .92 g.
The MX-5’s wheelbase measures 91.7 inches and the trunk provides 5.3 cubic feet of cargo space. The car’s fuel tank holds 12.7 gallons and its highway cruising range is 355 miles.
On the exterior this Mazda has compact dimensions that fit well with the car’s sporting nature.
At the front the windshield is laid-back. The hood is broad and features some sharp detail work in the center. The headlights are offset rectangle units that fit well into the curved front of the car. The black grille/air intake is a large single unit that is outlined in chrome. The turn signals and driving lights are combined and housed in the black inserts located at the corners.
With the top down, the MX-5’s side profile is flat except for a downward taper at the front and rear. There is a recessed area that begins just below the door handle and runs down to the bottom of the door. The front and rear fenders are flared at the edges. With the black convertible top up, the car appears to have a bit more height.
At the rear the MX-5 has a short flat trunk lid that is beveled at the edge. The taillights are oblong shaped units that curve into the rear fenders. A black insert down low contains round exhausts at the corners.
The interior of the MX-5 includes much attention to details. The car’s overall fit and finish is very good. There is an open gauge cluster that includes a large round tachometer on the left and a speedometer on the right. At the far left is a smaller semi-circle fuel gauge. At the top in between the tachometer and speedometer is a small round oil pressure gauge. On the far right there is a semi-circle temperature gauge. The dash is a good looking unit that includes round center and outer vents. The front bucket sport seats are comfortable and provide good side bolstering.
The brakes are discs at all four corners measuring 11.4 inches at the front and 11 inches at the rear. The MX-5’s 60-0 mph stopping distance is in 110 feet. The tires measure 205 50 16 inch. Larger tires are also available.
The suspension at the front includes double wishbones, coil springs, gas shock absorbers and a stabilizer bar. At the rear the setup includes multi-links, coil springs, gas shock absorbers and a stabilizer bar.
Standard features on this Mazda include air conditioning, power door locks, windows and mirrors, remote power door locks and windows, cruise control, tilt adjustable steering wheel, electronic speed-proportional power steering, external temperature display, front cup holders, remote trunk release, 12 volt power outlets, interior air filter, 6-speaker AM/FM in-dash CD player with CD MP3 Playback stereo, speed sensitive volume control and more.
Standard safety features include four-wheel ABS brakes, front head air bags, dual front side-mounted air bags, passenger air bag deactivation switch, front fog/driving lights, engine immobilizer, emergency brake assist, electronic brakeforce distribution, stability and traction control, tire pressure monitoring and more.
The fuel rating for the Mazda MX-5 is 21 city and 28 mpg highway.
On the road the MX-5 offers excellent acceleration, precise handling, good fuel economy and great roadster dependability. Overall, this Mazda is an impressive automotive piece that represents some of the best top-down driving anywhere.
The 2012 Mazda MX-5’s price starts at $23,470.
If you want a top-down roadster that is refined, a joy to drive and affordable with low operating costs, the 2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata is your car. It is simply a roadster that is hard to beat at any price!
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