There are hundreds of reviews and articles that wax poetic about how great the Mazda MX-5 Miata is. Make no mistake, this will be another one in the vast sea of the ones that already exist. It’s simple, everyone loves the Miata. Well, mostly everyone, beyond psychopaths and the ultra-wealthy that have the means to purchase Porsche’s latest or the ones that have sat their gold heinies in the seductive seats of a Ferrari.
For the rest of us, that have our feet firmly planted on planet Earth and didn’t buy Dogecoin, there’s the Miata. Hilariously fun, incredibly approachable, and downright cheap, the Miata is one of the best ways to get that unmistakable fizz that makes cars great. One of the best things about the Miata is that you can’t go wrong with any of the sports car’s trims.
The Ground Touring trim that Mazda let us borrow for a week isn’t the enthusiast layout. With things auto-dimming mirrors, heated exterior mirrors, automatic climate control, heated seats, and leather upholstery, the Grand Touring attempts to bring some luxury to the little convertible. Crucially, it does come with a six-speed manual. Mazda didn’t forget that automotive journalists would be testing this car.
It’s easy to sneer at the idea of a fancy Miata. Anyone that’s driven the car knows that turning it into a Mercedes-Benz S-Class is impossible. This thing was never meant to be fancy. Well, there’s some good news and some bad news. These features don’t make the Miata upscale, because at its core, the Miata is a lightweight convertible with a thin soft-top roof, plastics, a tiny cabin, and minimal sound deadening. The Grand Touring trim, though, manages to be a more comfortable version of the sports car. That, for a lot of people, is the whole point of the trim.
From that perspective, the Grand Touring that costs $33,160 (with the extra Snowflake White Pearl Mica paint job and destination fee) seems like it’s worth the extra $1,480 over the Club for a lot of shoppers.
The Grand Touring is still clearly a Miata. There aren’t many features that differentiate the Grand Touring from other trims. Adaptive front headlights and body-colored exterior mirrors are the only standard differentiators that change the way the sports car looks. You can add on a gray convertible top, like our test vehicle, and a Deep Crystal Blue Mica paint scheme, which are both exclusive to the Grand Touring trim, but these don’t drastically make the trim look all that much different.
That’s not really a bad thing, as the Miata looks great. The sports car may be coming up on being six years old since its full redesign, but it still looks sharp. Line the Miata next to the new Toyota GR86 and Subaru BRZ twins, and Mazda’s compact coupe still has the goods.
Simple and elegant, the Miata’s interior is an exercise in minimalism. I love that. Cars these days have hundreds of buttons, odd touchscreens that don’t have any buttons, and enough features to drive you mad. The Miata’s cabin is blissfully simple. You get a small touchscreen, three large dials for the HVAC system, and a handful of controls on the steering wheel. There are a few small buttons and dials, but it’s all straightforward and easy to use. The design means you can focus on driving, the whole point of the Miata.
The main problem, surprise, surprise, with the Miata is that its cabin is intimate. You’ll have to like the person sitting in the passenger’s seat, which is kind of like a real-world test of what Match, Tinder, Bumble, and Hinge expect people to do with a swipe. Do you really like the person? Then go for a ride in a Miata.
Once nestled into the Miata’s cabin, the sports car’s leather seats feel nice and the heated seats do wonders for drives in colder weather. Automatic climate control is another nicety. These features certainly feel nicer than the standard Miata’s barebones features list, but they’re not a necessity. If anything, they highlight what kind of driver the Grand Touring is for. You won’t find many Grand Tourings with the manual, though it’s still fantastic with the gearbox, tearing up country roads. Instead, these are for Sunday cruises to the local coffee shop, a drive to clear the head, or a way to get fresh air. There’s nothing wrong with that.
With the same moves as the rest of the Miata line, but a few extras, the Grand Touring will be the sweet spot for most people. Yes, it’s the most expensive one, but in the grand scheme of just how expensive cars are these days, it’s not all that bad for your bank account. If anything, the Grand Touring proves that the Miata is fun, any way you get it.