2013 Mazda MX-5 Miata Review

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Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Deputy Editor
November 30, 2012

If you want a light and lean open-top sports car that's fun at legal speeds, the 2013 Mazda MX-5 Miata is it--and it's reasonably practical.

More than 20 years ago, the Miata kicked off a roadster renaissance, and it's become a motoring icon for those who like sports cars that are light, lean, and relatively simple.Today, if you want a convertible, and you want to enjoy the driving experience at lower speeds and out on narrow country roads, the 2013 Mazda MX-5 Miata remains one of the best ways to get those thrills--and end up with a car that's also practical and fuel-efficient.

Mazda has very carefully evolved the MX-5 Miata design, now toward the end of its third generation, and it remains an icon. From the front, the look of the Miata has changed very slightly this year, with a new front fascia for all the models. All MX-5 Sport models now get fog lamps, while the Grand Touring gets a fresh 17-inch wheel design. Also new this year is a Club trim that slots between the base Sport and the top Grand Touring. Visually, its special graphics and badging on the outside help it standout, while the black cloth seats get red contrast stitching and there's a new body-color decoration panel across the dash.

A 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, rated at 167 horsepower, is what powers all Miata models. It's not exactly a powerhouse, but it is responsive and ready to rev, a perfect mate to the carefully-honed chassis. Quick steering, nimble responses, low weight (under 2,600 pounds in all guises) and nearly perfect 50/50 weight distribution all contribute to the car's predictable, balanced handling, both at low speeds and at higher track-worthy speeds.

Two core models constitute the range: a soft-top convertible and a Power Retractable Hard Top that packages a sleek folding hard roof neatly and attractively, effectively turning the MX-5 into a coupe on demand. In either case, the interior of the 2013 Mazda MX-5 is as snug and confined as you might expect from this small roadster. But what's a bit surprising is that the MX-5 uses its interior volume with surprising efficiency, allowing even drivers over six feet in height to comfortably fit. There's enough space to fit even those well over six feet tall, while cargo space is enough for a set of weekend bags (though you give up some cargo space in the hard-top versions.

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With its small size, light weight, and open-top construction, the Miata can feel anything but secure on a freeway surrounded by pickups and SUVs. Yet its balanced handling, rigid construction, and excellent braking can put it at a significant advantage in helping to avoid accidents.

The 2013 Mazda MX-5 Miata is a simple, traditional sports car, and that's reflected in its feature set. New MX-5 Miata Club models get a dressed-up look plus the Suspension Package, for an even sportier look and driving feel, while Grand Touring models, with their leather trim, heated seats, automatic climate control, and more, can feel a bit more luxurious. One major option is a Bose audio system that changes its settings for better sound, depending on whether the top is up or down. But some shoppers are going to find it frustrating that Bluetooth connectivity is only offered as part of an option package, on the Grand Touring.

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April 20, 2015
For 2013 Mazda MX-5 Miata

A fun ride

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This is a great fun in the sun California care. It handles and drives like a true sports car should. It is not great in snow or long freeway drives. Fit and finish are okay. I had to replace the seat material... + More »
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