Friday, August 8, 2014

2014 Mazda MX-5 Miata: Abundant Fun

Some things never get old, like the thrill of driving a fun, exhilarating roadster.
Such is the case with the 2014 Mazda MX-5 Miata, which this year is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its introduction.
There have been no radical changes to the Miata over the years, which is a good thing, because it has developed a legion of die-hard fans who appreciate everything it stands for.
What does it stand for?
Probably most essential is the fact that folks love it because it is a genuine sports car that presents some of the best driving dynamics in the business, and it gives you that without costing you an arm and a leg.
The Miata added the MX-5 designation to its moniker a few years ago, but lovers still just call it Miata.
It’s powered by a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine that makes 158 horsepower when linked to the six-speed automatic transmission or 167 ponies with the five- or six-speed manual.
Those horsepower numbers aren’t off the charts, but be assured that you won’t feel any lack of power behind the wheel of the Miata.
Fuel economy is rated at 21 mpg city and 28 highway with the manual, and 22 and 28 with the automatic.
In the previous model year, a few changes were made to the front end, and fog lights became standard. Mazda also replaced the Touring version with something it calls the Club model. It features 17-inch dark finish alloy wheels, a new suspension for manual models and a front diffuser.
But the bottom line is, as in most Mazda models, the driving dynamics never disappoint.
Whether it’s sprinting down an interstate highway or taking some twisty rural roads, this machine is a box of thrills.
The handling is superb, thanks to its even weight distribution and tightly tuned suspension.
Acceleration is steady and smooth, and braking is precise and reliable.
Yes, you can get great driving dynamics in cars that cost a whole lot more, but why would you want to pay extra?
The Miata is like paying the cover charge at a bar that a local garage band plays, but getting a concert from the Rolling Stones.
It even has some nice touches, such as the standard leather wrapped steering wheel and the optional heated seats and automatic climate control.
Mind you, as a two-seater, it’s not always the most practical car. Don’t try to haul a bunch of cargo, either.
But that’s not what Miata is about.
It is about a free-spirited, pleasurable ride that makes you smile.
Speaking of which, enthusiasts are already eagerly anticipating the arrival of the ND Miata next year.
We certainly hope to get a peek (and a spin).
The Miata starts at around $23,000 and ranges to close to $33,000.
For big fun in a small package, it’s hard to beat the Miata.

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