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2003 Mazda Miata MX-5

  • 2003 Mazda Miata MX-5 Base Convertible

    Base Convertible

    • MAX MPG
      28
    • SEATS
      2
    • HP/TORQUE
      142/125
    • ENGINE
      1.8L I4
    • MSRP
      $22,643
  • 2003 Mazda Miata MX-5 LS Convertible

    LS Convertible

    • MAX MPG
      28
    • SEATS
      2
    • HP/TORQUE
      142/125
    • ENGINE
      1.8L I4
    • MSRP
      $24,623
  • 2003 Mazda Miata MX-5 SE Convertible

    SE Convertible

    • MAX MPG
      28
    • SEATS
      2
    • HP/TORQUE
      142/125
    • ENGINE
      1.8L I4
    • MSRP
      $26,178
  • 2003 Mazda Miata MX-5 SV Convertible

    SV Convertible

    • MAX MPG
      28
    • SEATS
      2
    • HP/TORQUE
      142/125
    • ENGINE
      1.8L I4
    • MSRP
      $23,253
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  • Review

2003 Mazda Miata MX-5 Review

Great, fun ride. Don’t buy it if you want something practical.

Reviewed by Automotive on

Overview

There is certainly nothing practical about the two-seat convertible Mazda Miata MX-5. For some that is a drawback, but for others it is the main selling point. The engine has significantly more power than the pre-2002 model years. The steering is precise and thrilling, and the front and rear wishbone suspension keeps the wheels gripping the road. The attractive, minimalist design of the Miata has brought the roadster back from near extinction.

The Range

Body Styles: two-seat, two-door convertible
Engines: 1.8-liter DOHC 16-valve four-cylinder
Transmissions: five-speed manual, six-speed manual, and four-speed automatic
Models: Mazda Miata MX-5convertible, Mazda Miata MX-5Shinsen, Mazda Miata MX-5LS, Mazda Miata MX-5SE

What's New

There are only minor changes for this model year. The standard model has 16-inch alloy wheels standard. The top of the line LS model is has cloth texturing instead of vinyl. A built-in child-seat anchor was added. There are some cosmetic changes including new optional leather colors and trim changes. There is an optional auto-dimming rear-view mirror.

Exterior

When the Miata was first introduced it was unique, but now thanks to its exciting look every car company seems to have a competing roadster. The sleek lines and enticing convertible inspire envy in drivers everywhere. There is a decent amount of storage space with a 5.1-cubic feet trunk. The car is certainly not big with an 89.2-inch wheel base and a 155.3-inch total length, but there is plenty of legroom and adequate headroom for the driver and passenger. There is an optional spoiler and an optional hard top roof.

Interior

All of the models have power windows and cruise control. A NARDI steering wheel is standard. All models from the Shinsen up have power locks. The LS and SE both have leather seats adding to the comfort. Those top models also have a premium sound system. There are numerous sporty touches inside all models, like a leather-covered shift knob and aluminum trim. The SE has a chrome fuel door, a leather-wrapped hand brake, and a Bose in-dash six-disc CD changer.

The biggest downside is that the Miata is terrible at shutting out road noise.

Performance & Handling

In 2001 variable valve timing (VVT) was added to the Miata’s 1.8-lilter, DOHC, 16-valve, four-cylinder engine and the compression ratio was increased from 9.5:1 to 10.0:1, raising the horsepower to 142 @ 7000 rpm. The torque is an equally satisfying: 125 lb-ft at 5000 rpm. The front and rear wishbone suspension provides a very tight ride. Furthermore, an optional suspension package enhances road feel and structural integrity with a strut tower brace, Bilstein shocks, a Torsen limited-slip differential, and 16-inch alloy wheels. An anti-lock braking system (ABS) is available on the LS and SE models complete with electric brake force distribution.

The steering is incredibly precise, making cornering in the Miata a joy. The automatic transmission works fine, but the manual transmission is just more fun to drive. The shifting is precise, the shifter is ergonomically perfect, and the response is immediate.

Safety

The MX-5 has dual front airbags, with a de-activation switch for the passenger side. There are also built-in child seat anchors. ABS is optional on some models.

EPA Fuel Economy

Mazda Miata MX-5 Convertible five-speed manual: 20 mpg city/26 mpg highway
Mazda Miata MX-5 Convertible automatic: 20/25 mpg city/highway
Mazda Miata MX-5 Shinsen five-speed manual: 20/26 mpg city/highway
Mazda Miata MX-5 Shinsen automatic: 20/25 mpg city/highway
Mazda Miata MX-5 LS five-speed manual: 20/26 mpg city/highway
Mazda Miata MX-5 LS six-speed manual: 20/26 mpg city/highway
Mazda Miata MX-5 LS automatic: 20/25 mpg city/highway
Mazda Miata MX-5 SE six-speed manual: 20/26 mpg city/highway
Mazda Miata MX-5 automatic: 20/25 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • The engine power
  • The tight suspension
  • The lines and the look

You Won't Like

  • The road noise
  • The impracticality of a two-seated convertible

Sum Up

Great, fun ride. Don’t buy it if you want something practical.

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