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2008 Mazda Miata MX-5

Overview
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2008 Mazda Miata MX-5 Review

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The third-generation MX-5 Miata roadster continues to capture the hearts of driving enthusiasts and open-air aficionados everywhere. The lightweight roadster may not be big on horsepower, but its 50/50 front-to-rear weight distribution, dynamic suspension and lightening-quick steering make it a blast to drive, while its excellent fuel economy makes it the perfect commuter car. Despite its small proportions, the 2008 Mazda MX-5 Miata is easy to live with. The top, for example, can be operated from inside the car with just one arm and, when retracted, collapses into a small well behind the seats, as does the new available power-operated hardtop. As a result, the MX-5 Miata's small trunk is unaffected by the top's position, a claim the Pontiac Solstice, for example, can't make.

You'll Like This Car If...

If brutal winters make owning a soft-top car a nightmare, the 2008 Mazda MX-5 Miata's new retractable hardtop is a dream come true. The MX-5's excellent fuel economy makes it a viable commuter car for those looking to leave their gas-thirsty SUVs at home. Driving enthusiasts and sports car club members love its wonderful handling and overall nimble performance.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you're long of leg or over six feet in height, the MX-5 Miata can still present you with a cramped driving position. The MX-5 has a small trunk and does not offer much in the way of interior storage space. If this is going to be your only mode of transport, you're not going to win many friends when it's your turn to drive the co-workers to lunch.

What's Significant About This Car?

The MX-5 Miata gains a manual driver's-seat lift and a tire pressure monitor. Touring and Grand Touring models now feature an in-dash, six-disc CD changer as standard equipment.

Driving the Miata MX-5

Driving Impressions A turn of the key demonstrates a noticeable reduction in vibration from the previous-generation Miata. Past Miatas would buzz and shudder at idle, but the new MX-5 Miata hums as...

serenely as a happy humming bird. The 2.0-liter pulls strongly and keeps right on giving well past the 55-mph mark. Once in motion, the MX-5 rolls comfortably over smooth pavement and takes dips and bumps with few theatrics. The MX-5's 50/50 front/rear weight balance allows the car to perform remarkably nimble maneuvers that would be more difficult if the car had more of its weight biased to either end. We later learned that, at speeds in excess of 35 miles per hour, the MX-5's windshield creates an air curtain above the driver's and passenger's heads, effectively directing at least moderate levels of rain to the rear of the car.
Favorite Features

Bose Audio
It's tough to get a good sound system in an affordable convertible, but Bose finally pulled it off. With crisp highs and a thumping bass, the Bose system can easily defeat the most deafening wind noise.

Retractable Hardtop design
The MX-5's hardtop roof adds a mere 77 pounds to the car's weight and can be raised and lowered in just 12 seconds.

2008 Mazda Miata MX-5 Details
Interior

The MX-5 Miata's interior is wider than the first two generation Miatas, offering much-needed improvements in hip and shoulder room. The driver's-side foot well has been widened by running the exhaust down the right side of the transmission tunnel. While good news for the driver, the passenger now has to deal with limited foot and knee space. Fit and finish are excellent, with easy-to-read instruments, steering wheel-mounted controls for audio and cruise control and a perfectly situated shift lever. The MX-5's center console could do with some padding, though, as we found our elbows starting to smart a bit during aggressive cornering. Bose has created an optional sound system that adjusts equalization settings depending upon whether the top is up or down. The system even has different settings for leather versus cloth interior.

Exterior

The third-generation MX-5 Miata shares not a single part with its predecessors, but the familiar Miata DNA is still evident. The differences become more obvious once you get closer. Where the previous generation Miata's doors bow out, the MX-5's are slab sided. Restrained wheel arches have given way to the same pronounced flair that first appeared on the RX-8. The convertible top is even easier to use than the original, capable of being operated from the driver's seat with just one arm, while the new retractable hardtop permits year-round driving without adding significant weight or cost. In addition, 16-inch aluminum wheels are now standard on the base car, with 17-inch rims offered on the performance models.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2008 Mazda MX-5 Miata SV Convertible comes with a five-speed manual transmission, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes (ABS), 16-inch alloy wheels, glass rear window with defroster, vinyl top, dual power mirrors, power windows, three-spoke tilt steering wheel, cloth bucket seats, mesh windblocker, AM/FM stereo with CD and side-impact airbags. The Sport and Touring models add more standard features such as larger wheels, cruise control and power door locks. The Touring and Grand Touring add a six-speed manual transmission, while the Grand Touring trim adds a cloth (rather than vinyl) top, tan or black leather seats and Bose audio.

Optional Equipment

A six-speed automatic with manual shift mode is optional on the Touring, Sport and Grand Touring trims. The Suspension Package offered on the Sport and Grand Touring adds Bilstein shocks, limited-slip differential and sport suspension. Dynamic Stability Control with Traction Control, the limited-slip differential, Smart Key and xenon headlamps can be had by ordering the Premium Package, which is available only on the Grand Touring trim level.

Under the Hood

The MX-5's 2.0-liter engine has plenty of pep and a newfound reserve of low-end torque that allows for quick off-the-line sprints. Both the five- and six-speed manuals provide precise shifts that make quick work of gear changes. The six-speed automatic delivers crisp gear changes designed to maximize every bit of the engine's power. When switched to manual mode, the six-speed automatic performs admirably, though we think you lose some of the gas-and-clutch driver interaction that makes the MX-5 so much fun to drive.

2.0-liter in-line 4
166 horsepower @ 6700 rpm (manual); 158 horsepower @ 6700 rpm (automatic)
140 lb.-ft. of torque @ 5000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/27(five-speed manual), 21/28 (six-speed manual), 20/27 (automatic)

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2008 Mazda Miata MX-5 Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.4
Out of 10

Based on 191 Ratings for the 2006 - 2014 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.5/10
    Quality
    9.5/10
  • Reliability
    9.6/10
    Performance
    9.6/10
  • Comfort
    8.8/10
    Styling
    9.5/10

Best Car I have Owned

By on Sunday, March 30, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 60,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Light, fast, sporty, more fun than anything!"

Cons: "Limited space for people or luggage"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

Mica Red with Beige Top/Orange Interior

"The Miata is the best car I have ever owned...though not the most practical. It is small, but that means it is sporty, powerful and handles like a Lotus. As a daily driver, it is amazing...it makes me want to get in and drive somewhere, even when I have no place to go. This is the best selling sports car of all time, and once you drive it, you will understand why. Space is an issue, so it is best as a second car, or for someone who understands the limitations up front. Quality and Reliability are a 10...fun is a 10, and even the looks are a 10. Forget the whole "girl car" stuff...this is a car for people who are true drivers."

5 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Mica Red with Beige Top/Orange Interior

fun to drive

By on Friday, March 28, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"handling, exhaust is tuned so perfectly. Not being a turbo it is pretty adequate for performance. Drive it year round with a good snows is very good in a snow storm. Just a great car to drive"

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

So much fun to drive!

By on Wednesday, March 26, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 14,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Great price, fun to drive."

Cons: "Battery (life and placement) some cheap interiors"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I test drove every sports car under the sun, most 2-3 times more expensive than the Mazda Miata, but none felt as right as this car. It was light, fast and nimble. It hugs the road and feels completely balanced unlike many of the other sport cars, though most with more horsepower and a little more guts, felt front heavy. I am a small woman, and often have trouble getting up high enough to see comfortably over the dash without a cushion, but this car has a perfect driving position for me; like a perfectly designed cockpit. My 6"2 boyfriend however, is less than pleased with the head height unless the top is down. Oh well! It does fine in rain, scarey in snow so i try not to get caught which is difficult here in the northeast, but as impractical as owning one here may be, this is one lease that I do not want to return. I can't wait to see the redesign in 2015 which is supposedly a collaboration between Mazda and Alfa Remeo. If you want a fun, reasonably priced sports car, this is it, hands down."

3 people out of 5 found this review helpful

When I drive this car is like putting on a glove.

By on Wednesday, March 19, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 97,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Handling is awesome. Very responsive."

Cons: "Firm ride, interior not plush."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"The most fun for the price car out there. Have not had any problems in 97K. Starts and drives like the day I bought it. Replaced the struts at 70K. Regular service and the usual tires, front brakes."

Fun to drive but not practical

By on Saturday, January 25, 2014

I owned and sold this car
Reason: Inpracticality

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
3/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6

"It's a great car for the suitable person, but I made the mistake of buying a car in a rush. It's a great fun car to drive, except it can't take your daughter's friend when you pick her up at a school chorus practice; you can't take anyone to golf because the trunk won't accomodate a single golf bag, grocery shopping is out as you can't fit two bags of Charmin in the car. It looks too cute people thought it more of a female car. Getting in and out is a chore even for someone with a small figure."

6 people out of 9 found this review helpful

Fun car but not great for everyday driving

By on Wednesday, January 15, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 52,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "It's a hoot to drive"

Cons: "Seats could be a bit more supportive"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Due to the 6-speed manual and Southern California traffic, I feel the car is not the best choice for everyday driving. Drive on a twisty mountain road, however, and a smile will come over your face. The car is not fast but sure is fun! Reliability has been excellent; have only replaced the thermostat in over 50,000 miles (outside of normal maintenance). Comfort is acceptable; cabin is a bit noisy. The body structure is quite good for a convertible and has far fewer squeaks and rattles than my previous sports car. Looking into installing a supercharger as I'd like to have about 60 more hp; the power is adequate for "normal" driving though. I just want a little more power."

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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