Did you know that Mazda has its own club? It’s true. It’s unlike any other club out there. There’s no bouncer out front or overpriced and watered-down drinks inside. You don’t have to like golf or worry about hitting your ball into a sand trap. There’s no dress code to get in. On top of all that, you don’t have to go across town to get to Mazda’s Club. It’s wherever you want it to be. All you have to do is drive it there.
That’s as enjoyable as getting behind the wheel of a 2017 MX-5 Miata. The entry-level trim is called Sport. The top-of-the-line is the Grand Touring model. Between those is the performance-focused Club with hardware add-ons designed to offer a heightened driving experience.
We recently spent a week in a mid-range 2017 MX-5. We didn’t want to leave, but unfortunately, we had to. We’ve written the following review to give you the highlights of our week inside Mazda’s Club.
2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata Club Exterior
At 154 inches long, 68 inches wide, and 49 inches tall, the Miata Club is a small car, but that doesn’t stop it from being big on style. We think Mazda’s designers nailed it. The pinched LED headlights give the exterior a measure of aggressiveness. The large grille opening looks ready to devour the atmosphere in front of it. However, our favorite view of the Miata is its profile. The front fenders softly arch over the wheels. Right before the tail end of each door, the belt line gently rises to curve over and emphasize the rear wheels. Afterburner-like tail lights suggest speed even when the Miata is slowing down.
We would’ve been perfectly happy with a stock Miata Club. Apparently, Mazda was only going to be satisfied by sending us one outfitted with its optional Brembo/BBS Package, which included Brembo front brakes, red calipers, 17-inched forged BBS wheels, and an aero kit with side sill extensions and a rear bumper skirt, which coordinated perfectly with the Club’s standard front air dam and rear lip spoiler. Those visual touches made a sporty car look even sportier – and us even more eager to drive it. When we wanted to do that with the top down, all we had to do was get in, throw one simple overhead latch with one hand, and push the fabric roof back behind us until it clicked into place. It was a quick and easy process. Best of all, it didn’t take away from the Club’s 4.6 cubic feet of trunk space.
2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata Club Interior
Mazda’s Club is an exclusive one. Only two people can fit inside. The black cockpit is brightened up by metallic trim on the door handles, gauge rings, steering wheel spokes, pedals, and shifter surround. Red accent stitching and door panel caps covered in the same optional Soul Red Metallic paint found on the exterior added swaths of rich color to our test vehicle’s cabin.
If the weather kept us from driving with the top down, we usually tried to make up for the lack of wind in our hair with some sound in our ears. We had a variety of sources from which to get it, such as AM/FM/HD/satellite radio, Bluetooth audio, or either one of the two USB ports. Whichever one we picked, the sound came out of the Bose audio system’s nine speakers, including those in the headrests. If we wanted to change the tone settings or the station that we saw on the seven-inch center screen, we just used the big knob between the seats that controlled the Mazda Connect infotainment system. That also came in handy when we first paired our phone with the Bluetooth system or needed to enter an address into the navigation system.
2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata Club Performance
All three grades of the 2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata soft top are powered by a naturally aspirated SKYACTIV-G 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 155 horsepower and 148 lbft of torque. That’s coupled with either a six-speed automatic with paddle shifters or a six-speed manual gearbox, which our test vehicle had.
Being a Club model, it also had a front shock tower brace to keep the front end stiff, a sport suspension with Bilstein dampers for better road holding, and a limited slip differential to make sure power was being put to the road through the Bridgestone in the back with the most grip. The sum of all of those parts was a 2,332-pound car that gave us a feel for the road underneath us, a surprisingly smooth ride in most circumstances, and an idea of the rear rubber’s limits.
A light clutch pedal with a take-up point at the sweet spot a little below the top of the pedal’s travel was the definition of user friendly. The electric power assist steering was responsive and we could feel it progressively loading up with weight in turns. Although we were never as happy scrubbing off speed as we were building it, when we needed to, we were at least confident. The middle pedal made smoothly modulating the brakes a thoughtless reflex. We never had to work to enjoy the Miata Club, but it was always willing to work with us.
2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata Club Safety
Our Miata may have been an eye-catching little red roadster, but its looks alone weren’t going to keep us safe from other drivers. That’s what its front and side airbags, side-impact door beams, and Blind Spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Traffic Alert technologies were for.
2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata Club Overall
In case you couldn’t tell, we enjoyed our time in Mazda’s Club. It’s too bad we couldn’t stay, but we understand. Mazda had to give other automotive journalists a chance to experience it. If you want to know what it’s like to be in Mazda’s 2017 MX-5 Miata Club, go to an AutoNation Mazda dealer. Prices for it start at $28,800*. Our review vehicle had as as-tested price of $33,335*.
*MSRP excluding tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.
**Based on EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.