The 2022 Mazda MX-5 (Miata) continues to live on in a time where sports cars are losing the battle to SUVs. This is one of the last 2-seat convertible affordable sports cars that you can still buy in the 2020’s.
Engine – 2022 doesn’t see any changes to the engine. The MX-5 is still powered by a 2.0L naturally aspirated 4-cylinder that can produce 181 hp and 151 lb-ft of torque (135 kW & 205 Nm). The engine is able to accelerate the car from a stop to 100 km/h in around 5.7 seconds. Peak power is in the top rpm range while peak torque is in the mid rpm range. However, when driving around town, you don’t really need to push too hard on the throttle pedal to get the car going. The rpms can be below 3,000 when shifting through the gears to get up to speed.
Fuel Economy – With the manual transmission, the 2022 Mazda MX-5 is rated for 9.0 L/100km (26.1 mpg) in a city and 7.0 L/100km (33.6 mpg) on a highway. With the automatic, the city fuel economy remains the same but highway drops down to 6.6 L/100km (35.6 mpg). During my time with the car, I averaged 7.3 L/100km (32.2 mpg). The only caveat is that Mazda recommends Premium fuel.
Transmission – The MX-5 Miata can be had with either a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic. This demo vehicle had the former. Throws between shifts are short and it is a satisfying motion when swapping cogs manually. The shifter slides into position with ease and there’s no “notchy” feeling throughout any gear with this 6-speed. The clutch is light and the engine has no rev-hang so your right foot controls how much jerky motion there is when engaging the clutch.
Braking – This GS-P trim of the 2022 MX-5 is the only trim available with the Sport package which adds 4-piston Brembo front brakes. Unfortunately this demo vehicle did not come equipped with this package. The standard brakes feel a little bit smoother than the Brembo brakes, as in, they allow for more brake pedal travel and modulation in order to bring the car to a stop. With the Brembo brakes, it doesn’t take much pedal motion to bring the body to a stop. If you find yourself on a racetrack often though, the Brembo brakes are a worthy investment.
Handling – The 2022 Mazda MX-5 Miata tips the scales at just 1,066 kg (2,350 lbs). That is its secret to providing a fun driving experience. The MX-5 is not about straight line speed or lap times. It’s about putting a smile on your face. The steering response is quick and direct. It provides excellent feedback as to what the front tires are doing. The MX-5 responds well to smooth inputs from the driver but can be a hooligan’s dream toy when you’re being more aggressive. The MX-5 feels playful on winding roads, like a small lap dog with an abundance of energy.
This GS-P trim receives a limited slip differential and Bilstein dampers to better control body roll. New for 2022 in the Mazda MX-5 is Kinetic Posture Control (KPC) which further reduces body roll through corners. Due to the unique way that the rear suspension is set up, Mazda found that if the inside rear brake is applied midway through a corner, it can further reduce body lean and maintain traction. This system is controlled by the car’s computer and is active when stability control is active. The system is very, very subtle when you’re just driving around town but it is a little bit more noticeable when you’re driving the MX-5 on a twisting mountain road at a brisk pace. However, because it is tied to the stability control system, it doesn’t work when you’re on a race track. Usually, you would turn off the stability control when on a race course. Maybe for 2023, Mazda will not integrate this system into the stability control.
Ride Comfort – The Bilstein dampers of the MX-5 GS-P provide a slightly firmer ride than the base MX-5 without them. However, the ride is firm but not completely unbearable on city streets. Though you’ll definitely want to swerve around some of the bigger potholes and uneven manhole covers.
Interior Space – I am 6’4” tall. This car was not designed for people that are above 6’2”-ish in height. So I have difficulty being comfortable in the Mazda MX-5. With the top up, my hair is not brushing up against the roof but it is perilously close. If you go often to a race track, your helmet will touch the roof if you’re as tall as myself. But if it’s a sunny day, you can drop the top for a limitless amount of headroom. My knees are also not touching the dashboard but, again, perilously close to doing so. It is only when slowing down and braking that my right knee is braced against the dash. One more inch of seat travel would make all the difference in this car for someone as tall as myself.
The trunk has 130 L (4.59 cu-ft) of space which is actually enough to fit a small carry-on size luggage.
Noise, Vibration, & Harshness – This being a soft top, there is a lot of wind noise intruding into the cabin at almost all speeds with the top up. Thankfully there are no annoying noises being produced by the interior trim as it feels well put together. The engine makes just enough noise to let you know when to change gears without having to look down at the tachometer. Unfortunately it doesn’t have the same “meaty” and “powerful” sound of the 2.5L engine that is found in other Mazda vehicles.
Odds and Ends
Pricing – The 2022 Mazda MX-5 soft-top starts at a very reasonable $33,300 CAD ($27,650 USD). But from then on, things get expensive. This GS-P trim costs $37,300 CAD ($31,150 USD) but it doesn’t feel complete without the Sport Package which will cost you an additional $4,400 CAD ($4,470 USD). When it’s all said and done, a properly equipped Mazda MX-5 GS-P with the Sport package can cost as much as $50,000 CAD with taxes & fees in. That’s a lot especially considering that a fully loaded 2022 Toyota GR86 is $10,000 CAD less (taxes & fees included).
Gadgets – At least for the money, this GS-P Mazda MX5 has everything a sports car driver would need. That’s a 7-inch infotainment screen with Apple CarPlay & Android Auto integration. The screen is a touchscreen but only while the car is stationary. Once it’s moving, it has to be controlled by the rotary dial on the center console. Also, CarPlay & Android Auto is wired but if you opt for the GT trim, CarPlay becomes wireless. Just not Android Auto. Other features on this GS-P include heated seats, Bose premium audio system, Bluetooth, push button start with keyless entry, LED headlights and heated exterior mirrors.
Interior Design – The MX-5 has a simple interior design that is not meant to distract the driver from the job of driving. All of the controls are well labeled and are either buttons or rotary knobs. There are no finicky touch controls. As well, because of the small dimensions, storage in the MX-5 is thought out by the engineers. The cup holders are interchangeable pieces. There are two slots between the seats and one next to the passenger’s knee. The ones between the seats can get in your way as you may hit them with your elbow. There is no traditional glove box and instead you get a little bit of storage in a bin between the seats and one behind each seat. There’s also an ever so small center console that can hold maybe $7 worth of change. So this is not the most practical car but Mazda’s engineers have made use of every little nook and cranny they could find.
Exterior Design – Over the decades, the Mazda MX-5 has earned a reputation as being a car for only women due to its small and “cute” looks. With this 4th generation, Mazda tried to make it a bit more masculine with angry looking headlights and sharp lines in the front bumper. The side and rear though have smoother flowing lines with the rear taillights mimicking the center mounted air vents on the inside. Overall, I like the design and to me, it doesn’t look like it’s a “girls car”.
The top is not power operated like other convertible cars but it is very easy to open or close. If you practice, you can get the top up or down in 5 seconds, or less. It is just one latch that holds it in place.
Safety – The 2022 Mazda MX-5 is equipped, as standard, with Smart City Brake Support, Advanced blind spot sensors, lane departure warning, and rear cross traffic alert. The only available “safety” option is traffic sign recognition that is only available on the GT trim.
Warranty – Mazda offers a very unique industry warranty for all of their vehicles but it’s only for Canadian customers. The Mazda MX-5 GS-P is covered by a 3 year / unlimited km basic warranty and a 5 year / unlimited powertrain warranty. Unfortunately this unlimited km warranty is not available in the United States. In the U.S.A, the warranty is more “normal” at 3 year / 36,000 mile basic & 5 year / 60,000 mile powertrain warranties. For more info on Canadian warranty, click here. For more info on U.S.A. warranty, click here.
Conclusion – Although 2022 doesn’t see many new changes for the Mazda MX-5 Miata, this is still the quintessential sports car of the time. Sorry for sounding like a cliche but this is the perfect marriage between man and machine. Its agile driving dynamics make it a lot fun to drive on a winding road or race track. The only car that comes close to offering almost as much fun as this is the new Toyota GR86. But that is not a convertible.
Thank you to Mazda Canada for providing the vehicle. www.Mazda.ca