More than any other car, with the possible exception of the Porsche Boxster, the Mazda MX-5 Miata has always felt like a car you wear more than drive. And while we can’t predict whether that ready-to-wear style will remain en vogue come the next generation, it still holds true for the 2013 Mazda MX-5.
This tidy two-seat drop top remains one of the sweetest cars we’ve ever driven. Some of our newer staffers who haven’t had the pleasure of driving a Miata were instant believers; and for those of us that have driven plenty of MX-5’s around the block, not to mention owned a few, climbing inside this one felt right at home.
The snug confines that we remember are still there, with both gear shift and steering wheel right where you want them to be, and it’s a good thing, as the steering wheel still only tilts for adjustment.
The MX-5 is not a car that you have to drive fast to get great enjoyment out of, this is also a good thing as there’s only adequate power coming from the MZR 2.0-liter I4; which oddly enough recommends Premium fuel to produce its 187-horsepower, accompanied by a meager 140 lb-ft. of torque.
Getting reacquainted on our favorite back roads, we found this latest MX-5 to feel a little more refined, but that’s okay as we realize some things have to change. And though it has lost a little of its back-to-basics feel of the original, with things like an optional power folding hard top; the quirky window switches, and the hidden fuel release are reminders that you are in a unique vehicle. Taking in a few more curves, had us pondering why Mazda even feels the need to redo it for 2014, as it doesn’t really need it. I guess new competition from the Subaru BRZ and Scion FRS is a concern.
The MX-5 has always been about dropping the top, both hard and soft, and getting out in the elements, and we were so eager to do just that, we didn’t even wait for warm weather. Fortunately, our car came equipped with Bridgestone Blizzaks. And while they didn’t grip as well through the cones at our track, they had no effect on the MX-5’s razor sharp steering with dead-on turn-ins.
The tires didn’t seem to help acceleration efforts either. Never a straight line rocket, the MX-5 does snap off the line spritely, but here it took us a full 8.0-seconds to climb to 60, over a second slower than the last Miata we tested. The ¼-mile was also slower, taking 16.2-seconds to trip the lights at 89 miles-per-hour.
For this last go-around for the current gen, the looks haven’t changed much, but there is a new front fascia, and a new Club trim that replaces the Touring trim in the line-up and includes 17-inch gray alloy wheels, black side mirrors, and Club badges. Inside, Club trim adds a body-colored dash panel and red stitching throughout the cabin.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings come in at 21-City, 28-Highway, and 24-Combined. We topped all of those numbers, even with some back road blasting, netting a great average of 28.6 miles-per-gallon of Premium.
Cloth top down summer fun in a Miata is only $24,515 away. Club trim comes in at $27,500. A Power Retractable Hard Top will add $1,760 more, and while it also adds a little quietness, you don’t really need it. We say buy the cheapest one you can find, drop the top and hit the road.
If we made a list of the most enjoyable cars that we’ve driven in our generation on the air, the Mazda Miata would be a serious contender for the top spot, and our time spent with the 2013 Mazda MX-5 Miata just reinforces that. Let’s just hope that continues as the MX-5 zoom-zooms its way into the future.
Engine: 2.0-liter I4
Torque: 140 lb-ft.
0-60 mph: 8.0 seconds
1/4 mile: 16.2 seconds @ 89 mph
EPA: 21 mpg city/ 28 mpg highway