As part of our push for more volunteer and guest driven content, Jeff Glucker of NADAguides.com will be providing us with several of his reviews as a guest contributor. Thanks Jeff, and we look forward to more of these in the near future! – Zerin
I stand 75.6 inches tall. I get physically ill at the thought of the middle row in coach. I am always more than tall enough for any carnival ride. However I was excited at the prospect of getting behind the wheel of the 2009 Mazda MX-5. I have never driven a Miata but I have heard that they are representative of pure motoring joy. Keys in hand and chiropractor on speed dial I sat down in the MX-5 and moved the seat all the way back and all the way down… which wasn’t very much of a move – this could be a long week.
I said “keys in hand” but I should have said key fob in pocket because this is the top of the line 2009 Mazda MX-5 Grand Touring PRHT (Power Retractable Hardtop) and it features a remote keyless entry system. Instead of a traditional lock and key on the column, you twist a plastic knob to start the car. I would have preferred a nice big red START button, but this knob works just fine and won’t scare away those afraid to move to modern technology.
Once I settled into something resembling a driving position, I found the interior to be just the right mix of simple and necessary. Basically, everything I want and nothing I don’t need – all within easy reach and laid out in a way that makes sense. The radio controls were within easy reach in the center stack but I could also control it from the steering wheel. The heated leather seats were supportive and comfortable, which is a necessary combination in a modern sports car.
One thing that was disappointing when driving the MX-5 was the amount of wind noise coming in from the open window when the top was up. Thankfully I could turn the sound system up and it would stay crisp but at any stop light I would have to turn it back down unless I wanted looks of disapproval from the soccer mom in the Navigator to my left and the smug guy in the Prius on my right. Though I guess they could have easily given those looks to each other. Either way, as soon as the light turned green I was first away from the light with a smile on my face and the newest Kanye West/Jay-z collaboration being turned back up to cover the noise of the rushing wind.
I didn’t always listen to the radio though because I listening to that little 2.0L DOHC 16-valve inline four-cylinder engine growl (ok, maybe it’s more of a loud grunt but it sounds great) at each shift was just as much fun as the actual driving of the car. 167 hp on tap doesn’t sound like a lot but with a curb weight around 2,593lbs the MX-5 is ready for fun. This particular MX-5 came loaded with 17-in wheels, front and rear stabilizer bars as well as a set of Bilstein shocks and a limited slip diff which are part of the optional Suspension package. Adding all these up in terms of “how much do they add to the driving” and the experience goes from a 7 to a 9.5 really quick. Adding all these up in terms of “how much do they add to the cost of the car” and it is even better since the Suspension package is just $500. Add that $500 to the base price of $28,190, then throw in the Premium package for another $1,650 (Xenon HID headlights, keyless entry, Bluetooth, Sirius satellite radio, and Dynamic Stability Control) and the final tally for this 2009 Mazda MX-5 Grand Touring with Power Retractable Hardtop comes to $31,010.
I was not surprised by how much fun I had in the MX-5 during my week with the car. I was also not surprised that my back and neck hurt by the end of that week… this car is simply not made for someone 6’3″. However, this is not the Mazda’s fault and I hold no ill-will towards the leather seats which were actually quite comfortable on parts of my body that were not being bent into a Cirque Du Soleil level of flexibility. The 2009 Mazda MX-5 is a true sports car with great amenities for daily driver use. If I were a shorter man I would love to have an MX-5 in my driveway.