2013 Mazda MX-5 Miata: The King Of Roadsters – Review – The Car Guide

23 Mar 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on 2013 Mazda MX-5 Miata: The King Of Roadsters – Review – The Car Guide
Mazda MX-5

2013 Mazda MX-5 Miata: The King Of Roadsters

There are certain automobiles that consistently appear on top 10 lists regardless of the publication.  The 2013 Mazda MX-5 Miata is one such car, a vehicle whose almost universal appeal and outstanding driving dynamics have made it the darling of not just journalists, but of both amateur track drivers and professional racers who have embraced the potential embodied by the roadster’s platform.

I must confess that I, too, have been initiated into the cult of the Miata, although like most men my age it was many years ago at the hands of a much older, first-generation model.  When I picked up the latest-and-greatest edition of the world’s most popular two-seat convertible last week, I was curious to see how much of the original formula had been maintained as the years have marched forward.

Still The Lightest Game In Town

It’s almost impossible to fight against the gradual curb weight creep that has been spawned by the demands of federal safety regulators and the vagaries of consumer preferences, but somehow Mazda has found a way.  The 2013 Mazda MX-5 Miata checks in at 1,115 kg when ordered with its base five-speed manual transmission, which is a sprightly number considering the abundance of 1,370 kg-plus sports cars that are currently on the market.  The model I drove was a little bit heavier due to the fact that the GS trim level comes with a six-speed manual transmission (50 additional kilos) and a power-retractable hard top (70 more kilos).

Still, with a total mass of 1,182 kilograms, the MX-5 GS is amongst the most nimble handlers money can buy.  Weight, after all, is the enemy of performance, and nowhere is this more true than when examining a modestly-powered car like the Miata.  167 horsepower and 140 lb-ft of torque are all that can be expected from the Mazda’s 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine, with the motor really coming alive above 4,000 rpm.

  Off the line the Miata isn’t any great shakes, but transport its superbly-tuned chassis to a twisty country road – or highway on-ramp – and you will be amazed at how the car comports itself.  Maintaining momentum in the MX-5 Miata is the key to unlocking its not inconsiderable charms, as the car rewards smooth inputs and careful placement through the corners with tenacious grip and the utmost in steering feel.

Bare Bones Amenities

Mazda MX-5

The 2013 Mazda MX-5 Miata GS’ main nod to modern creature comfort is its power hard top, an affectation that purists decry as an unwelcome deviation from the MX-5’s sports car formula but one which looks great up or down and which undeniably adds security and cold-weather durability to the car’s feature set.  I was quite happy with how fast and easy it was to open and close the Mazda’s roof, and its painted black finish was a nice match for the black mirrors and wheels when contrasted against the white hue of the car.

Other than the hard top, however, it’s back-to-the-basics inside the MX-5’s passenger compartment.  Don’t expect any glitz or glamour with the GS trim – you get a radio that can’t quite overpower top-down wind noise, a nice set of easy-to-read gauges, and a lot of hard plastic on the dash and door panels.

  The car’s seats are decently supportive, but there’s not a lot of adjustment available due to the tight cabin, so tall drivers could very well find themselves boxed out of the Miata.  This is a very functional car, a commuter but not a cruiser, so while you won’t be rattled by an overly-stiff suspension system you should be aware of the fact that luxury is not in the Mazda’s vocabulary.

My Favourite Roadster

In the end, there’s no need for the 2013 Mazda MX-5 Miata to speak any language other than the pure tones that sing out the direct connection that the car makes between the driver and the road.  In an era where most vehicles have largely insulated the individual behind the wheel from getting their hands dirty, and where stability control systems sap the fun out of even the most enthusiast-oriented cars, it’s nice to know that Mazda has stayed the course and not lost sight of its true mission – for the most part.

The asterisk is its price.  Although still affordable in the U.S. market, Canadian MX-5 shoppers have to contend with a considerable mark-up that sees the base version of the car retail for just under $30,000.  The GS model that I drove tacked an extra $6,000 on top of that figure, and the leather-equipped MX-5 GT is jaw-dropping at $40k.

  At these prices, the Mazda is up against considerably more potent – although not necessarily more fun – options, which clouds the decision-making process far more than it reasonably should.  Here’s hoping that the upcoming redesign of the MX-5 doesn’t push its cost up past the point of attainability for a new batch of freshly-minted convertible fans.

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Mazda MX-5
Mazda MX-5
Mazda MX-5
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