6.23.2010

Mazda MX-5 Miata PRHT Grand Touring Review


This may be the first car I've driven where the name, if put on a badge, would be longer than the car itself.

It is the heaviest and most expensive Miata I've driven in 13 years of professional TireKicking, but I can't say I love it any less (for just how much that is, see last year's review here). And that's because Mazda is now doing the kind of magic that used to be solely the province of Honda.

Retractable hardtops, while offering security from knife-wielding thieves and a lower level of cockpit noise, usually add weight and cost and steal a large chunk of what little trunk space the ragtop version of a car has in the first place.

But Mazda has kept the weight gain to 80 pounds...lighter than putting a passenger onboard. And because of how it folds into place, it takes up less than one cubic inch of trunk space.

That, folks, is just plain brilliant.

Cost? Yes, it's more. In the case of the Grand Touring model, going with the PRHT (let's just call it the "retractable" from here on out) adds $1860 to the tab.  And while $1860 is $1860, that's less than most cars charge for a nav system that will be obsolete by the time you need new tires.

So the starting point for the retractable Grand Touring is $28,400. Yeah, that's a chunk for a Miata, especially when the base Miata Sport softtop starts at $22,960. But here's what you get by going with the Grand Touring:


  • Run-flat tires

  • Xenon headlights

  • Automatic climate control

  • Advanced keyless entry

  • Leather-trimmed  heated seats

  • Bose audio system

  • Sirius satellite radio

  • Bluetooth hands-free phone capability

  • Dynamic stability control

  • Traction control system

In short, a seriously loaded luxury Miata. And Mazda added the Suspension Package (a sport-tuned suspension, Bilstein shocks and limited-slip differential) for $500....which just enhances this real-life version of a slot car. Bottom line: $31,300 including delivery charges.


                   


If you have never driven a Miata, you owe yourself at least a test-drive. They are addictive cars...delivering what the old MGs, Triumphs and Austin-Healys only promised...embarrassing the earnest efforts of the now-dead Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky. If you've dismissed them as merely cute, or a "chick car", you're wrong, pure and simple. 68 percent of all Miatas are bought by men, and it's because they are the next-best thing to a Porsche Boxster at a fraction of the price. They reward energetic, involved driving...20 minutes on a winding road will put a smile on your face that will last all day.

Go.

Buy.

Drive.


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