The Mazda MX-5 Miata is such a popular car that for a lot of people, the only competition it has in the market is, well, the Mazda MX-5. Yep, as strange as it sounds, the MX-5 is one of those cars that really competes against itself, specifically the different variants competing against one another. In the case of the current generation MX-5, there are two versions that customers can choose from, each coming with its own set of pros and cons. The first one is the 129-horsepower version that features a 1.5-liter, four-cylinder engine. The second one is the 2.0-liter four-banger that pumps out 155 horsepower. This issue isn’t so much of a problem here in the US since we don’t have the 1.5-liter MX-5, but over in the UK and Europe where both versions are available, picking one over the other could be difficult. Fortunately, Auto Express has prepared a test review on both cars to enlighten us which of these two MX-5 Miatas provides more bang for its buck.

Steve Sutcliffe took the task of trying to answer what customers can expect from the 2.0 Miata with that extra £4,000 ($6,100) price tag. Other than the extra 26-horsepower increase, the 2.0 Miata ended up being much quicker on the track, beating the 1.5’s lap time by 3.5 seconds. It also has a more responsive engine and limited-slip differential, which some owners of the MX-5 Miata might find particularly useful. On the flip side, the 2.0 Miata also has stiffer dampers on account of it being the Sport trim of the model. That’s all well and good on the track, but that stiffness also translates on the road.

So, while the 2.0 Miata has the performance edge on lock and key, the softer 1.5 MX-5 Miata is cheaper at just £20,000 ($30,500) compared to the £24,000 ($36,500) price of the 2.0. Just as important, it’s a little more pleasant to drive, especially for prospective owners who prefer to use their MX-5 Miatas for joyrides more than quarter-mile runs.

2016 Mazda MX-5

2016 Mazda MX-5 High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2016 Mazda MX-5 here.

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