2006 Mazda MX-5

MSRP ?

$20,435 - $26,700
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Engine Engine 2.0LI-4
MPG MPG 25 City / 30 Hwy
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2006 MX-5 Overview

Passing judgment on the MX-5's performance to some degree depends on the person seeking your council. On one hand the MX-5 has developed a "chick car" rep thanks to a shape that isn't seeping with testosterone and a willingness to drop its top at the first sight of sun. On the other hand it has a cult following of autocrossers that take Mazda's Zoom-Zoom philosophy to heart. To which faction does our MX-5 pledge its allegiance? Read on to find out... The MX-5's engine bay now hides a larger displacement 2.0L four-cylinder engine with variable valve timing beneath its aluminum hood. The 2.0L generates 170 horsepower and 140 ft-lbs. or torque, an increase of 32 hp and 15 ft-lbs of torque over the 1.8L engine it replaces. That extra power felt more than enough to overcome the relatively small weight difference between the MX-5 and Miata, anywhere from 44 to 100 lbs. depending on the model. Despite being more powerful than the outgoing engine, the new 2.0L shares many of its predecessor's traits including the high volume at which it operates. Unlike many four-cylinders, however, that are charged with being raucous, buzzy and thrashy, the MX-5's symphonic cacophony sounds purposefully tuned to delight the ear of an autocrosser. Coupled with the car's short-throw six-speed shifter and finely calibrated clutch pedal, the MX-5 allows the driver to make use of every rev within the engine's powerband. The six-speed's gears are closely spaced to induce as much acceleration as possible below a highway cruising speed of around 70 mph, at which point the engine is turning over at just above 3,000 rpm and begins to grate on your senses. The clutch pedal is also firm, which allows a higher than normal degree of control over the application of power while cornering. While the 2.0L isn't powerful enough to embarrass many cars off the line, it offers the majority of its torque by 2500 rpm and keeps pulling all the way up near its 7,000 rpm redline. Mazda engineers have never designed the Miata for the dragstrip, and instead have focused on designing a balanced roadster that builds speed and maintains it with little drama. The 2.0L engine plays its part, but an ensemble cast of hardware including a stiff yet light chassis, unwavering suspension and grippy 205/45 R17 tires on 10-spoke alloy wheels makes driving an MX-5 fast look easy. The MX-5's standard suspension consisting of a double-wishbone front and multilink rear setup with front and rear stabilizer bars is likely stiff enough for most yet compliant enough for that chick car crowd just looking to cruise around with the top down. Our tester, however, was fitted with the optional Suspension package ($500) that adds a limited slip differential, "sport tuned" suspension with what feels like higher spring rates and Bilstein shocks. The Grand Touring model, along with the Sport model, also receives a front strut tower bar standard. This extra gear is stuff the autocross crowd can appreciate and tightens …
Full Review

2006 MX-5 Overview

Passing judgment on the MX-5's performance to some degree depends on the person seeking your council. On one hand the MX-5 has developed a "chick car" rep thanks to a shape that isn't seeping with testosterone and a willingness to drop its top at the first sight of sun. On the other hand it has a cult following of autocrossers that take Mazda's Zoom-Zoom philosophy to heart. To which faction does our MX-5 pledge its allegiance? Read on to find out... The MX-5's engine bay now hides a larger displacement 2.0L four-cylinder engine with variable valve timing beneath its aluminum hood. The 2.0L generates 170 horsepower and 140 ft-lbs. or torque, an increase of 32 hp and 15 ft-lbs of torque over the 1.8L engine it replaces. That extra power felt more than enough to overcome the relatively small weight difference between the MX-5 and Miata, anywhere from 44 to 100 lbs. depending on the model. Despite being more powerful than the outgoing engine, the new 2.0L shares many of its predecessor's traits including the high volume at which it operates. Unlike many four-cylinders, however, that are charged with being raucous, buzzy and thrashy, the MX-5's symphonic cacophony sounds purposefully tuned to delight the ear of an autocrosser. Coupled with the car's short-throw six-speed shifter and finely calibrated clutch pedal, the MX-5 allows the driver to make use of every rev within the engine's powerband. The six-speed's gears are closely spaced to induce as much acceleration as possible below a highway cruising speed of around 70 mph, at which point the engine is turning over at just above 3,000 rpm and begins to grate on your senses. The clutch pedal is also firm, which allows a higher than normal degree of control over the application of power while cornering. While the 2.0L isn't powerful enough to embarrass many cars off the line, it offers the majority of its torque by 2500 rpm and keeps pulling all the way up near its 7,000 rpm redline. Mazda engineers have never designed the Miata for the dragstrip, and instead have focused on designing a balanced roadster that builds speed and maintains it with little drama. The 2.0L engine plays its part, but an ensemble cast of hardware including a stiff yet light chassis, unwavering suspension and grippy 205/45 R17 tires on 10-spoke alloy wheels makes driving an MX-5 fast look easy. The MX-5's standard suspension consisting of a double-wishbone front and multilink rear setup with front and rear stabilizer bars is likely stiff enough for most yet compliant enough for that chick car crowd just looking to cruise around with the top down. Our tester, however, was fitted with the optional Suspension package ($500) that adds a limited slip differential, "sport tuned" suspension with what feels like higher spring rates and Bilstein shocks. The Grand Touring model, along with the Sport model, also receives a front strut tower bar standard. This extra gear is stuff the autocross crowd can appreciate and tightens …Hide Full Review