New for 2015

The Mazda MX-5 Miata remains largely unchanged for the 2015 model year, the last year before the new 2016 Miata arrives. A 25th Anniversary Edition was produced, but all 100 models sold out in 10 minutes.

Vehicle Overview

The Mazda MX-5 Miata is an iconic two-seater front-engine rear-drive sports car that proves a car doesn’t need lots of power to be fun. The Miata comes in traditional soft-top convertible or power retractable hard-top form, and is Mazda’s only drop-top variant.

Summary

The 2015 Mazda MX-5 Miata is powered by a 167-hp 2.0-liter I-4 that makes 140 lb-ft of torque (automatic models make 158 hp), and can be paired with a five- or six-speed manual transmission, or a six-speed automatic with paddle shifters. The EPA rates the five-speed manual at 22/28 mpg (city/highway), and both six-speeds at 21/28 mpg.

The Miata’s two convertible tops (cloth or power retractable hard top) go down quickly: the cloth in seconds (unlatch and throw back), and the hard-top in 10 seconds after unlatching the top while not moving. The 2015 Miata is excellent as a no-frills sports car, but does offer a few modern niceties with the Grand Touring trims, such as a Bose sound system, Bluetooth connectivity, leather seating, HID headlights, and hands-free keyless access,. Unlike the first-generation Miata, this third generation comes standard with air conditioning, power windows, power locks, and a number of other now-expected features on modern cars. If you’re wondering what PRHT stands for, it’s “power retractable hard top.”

Neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS have crash tested the 2015 Mazda Miata.

What We Think

The 2015 model year marks the last year of the third-generation Mazda Miata. The icon still exhibits the same traits that made us love the first Miata, and led it to claim our first Automobile of the Year award, as well as numerous All-Star awards over the years. In an Editor’s Notebook review of a 2012 Mazda Miata PRHT one editor explained, “What I love about the MX-5 is that you can feel every linkage and resistance in the manual transmission, each iota of grip and rebound in the steering wheel, and even the working of the suspension as you accelerate or corner briskly. The Mazda MX-5 is a car that floods the driver with the joy and sensation of driving. Although it’s not especially fast and has only middling amounts of grip, the MX-5 is huge fun to drive due to its subjective qualities.”

When compared to the current crop of affordable two-seater sports cars like Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ, the current Miata has a little more body roll (longer suspension travel), and the steering wheel could be smaller and have a thicker rim. Honestly, our complaints for the Miata can be likened to grasping at straws, as the little roadster is simply an excellent vehicle.
Should you buy a 2015 Miata, or wait for the 2016 to come out? We know you won’t be disappointed with the third generation, but we’re excited to note that the new fourth-gen Miata is smaller and lighter. If you can’t contain your two-seat convertible excitement, and your local dealer is offering some good deals, we think it would be hard to go wrong with a 2015 Mazda Miata.

You’ll Like

  • Simple, no-frills roadster
  • Track days in a PRHT, no roll cage necessary
  • Enough power to run the AC and go up a hill

You Won’t Like

  • Simple, with none of the frills found in other 2015 models
  • Still not terribly fast
  • PRHT isn’t a fully automatic top, you still need to unlatch it at the window

Key Competitors

  • Subaru BRZ
  • Scion FR-S
  • Volkswagen Beetle
  • Mini Roadster

Rating

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