Mazda MX5 Is The Affordable Two-Seater Sports Car

By Veeno Dewan

Taking a mere 12 seconds from open to close the powered top drops effortlessly.   the “MX-5  PRHT”  sets a new standard for the affordable two-seater sports car market. For 2011  this incredible little car is not only the world best selling roadster, the addition of a power folding hardtop (PRHT) that disappears seamlessly into the rear deck makes this car very special.

For 2011, the Mazda MX-5 is unchanged, except for a Sparkling Black Mica replaces Brilliant Black as an exterior colour.

The MX-5 uses a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine with one of three transmissions: a five-speed manual on the GX, and a six-speed manual on the GS and GT; all can be optioned to a six-speed automatic with manual shift mode that includes paddle shifters on the GS and GT.

There are actually three tops available on the MX-5: a black vinyl roof on the GX, a black cloth roof on the GS, and the power retractable hard top, optional on the GS and standard on the GT.

Features on the GX include 16-inch alloy wheels, vinyl top with glass rear window and electric rear defogger, power mirrors, intermittent wipers, fog lights, black seatback bars, CD/MP3/WMA stereo with auxiliary input, cruise control, leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, power locks with keyless entry, auto-down windows, floor mats, reclining cloth seats, anti-theft alarm, and locking glove box. Air conditioning is available as an option.

The GS adds 17-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning with climate control, sport suspension with Bilstein shocks, stability control, traction control, limited-slip differential, cloth top, mesh grille with chrome trim, silver seatback bars, premium dash trim, driver’s seat height adjuster, exterior temperature gauge, and trip computer.

The GT adds power retractable hard top, xenon headlamps, six-CD Bose stereo, Sirius satellite radio, Bluetooth hands-free connectivity, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, garage door opener, intelligent key with keyless start, and heated adjustable leather seats.

The MX-5 is powered by all- aluminum, 2.0-liter, four cylinder motor with 140 foot pounds of torque and 167 horsepower (158 when equipped with an automatic gearbox). The MX-5 PRHT    standard features including 16″ alloy wheels and color-keyed mirrors and door handles. Anti-lock brakes with brake assist and front and side airbags are standard on all MX-5s as well

On the road, the MX-5 is still the one of the best fun ways you can have with you clothes on!

Whether it’s powering around on an open road with top down or even doodling along in rush-hour traffic, the little roadster feels as if it is going much faster than you actually are.  The driving experience is so pure in the MX-5 that even novice drivers can carve corners with precision and skill.  It’s   a blast but does not scare the pants or skirts off you!    The cabin is snug for average-sized adults, but not cramped. MX-5 interior highlights include simple, legible gauges and well designed ergonomic controls.

The power-retractable hardtop takes a bit longer to transform from coupe to roadster, but the added convenience, noise isolation and security make the MX-5 an excellent daily driver.

Downsides are minor and include the small 5.3 cubic feet of trunk space and the lacklustre stereo that is disappointing with the   top down. Also some may want more power, but I would argue it would upset the balance of the car without other modifications

Back to the road and the MX-5’s supple suspension and steering will have performance driver and those who just like to feel at with car very happy. The peppy, willing four- cylinder engine and slick short-throw manual gearbox make driving fun and exciting. If you need affordable top down thrills, but want the comfort and convenience of a closed roof coupe- look no further  than the PRHT.

2011 Mazda MX5 PHRT   Priced from $39,995

Read the review at www.shiftinggears.ca

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