2014 Mazda MX-5 Miata GT

2014 MX-5 Miata GT Review

Still a great little car after all these years.

By: David Merline

Web2Carz Contributing Writer

Published: October 6th, 2014

Although it's a maxim well known enough to verge on cliché, "less is more" is a concept that doesn't often prevail in the auto industry. Yet anyone needing proof of the practical validity of minimalism need look no further than the Miata.

Mazda's extraordinarily popular little convertible is a perfect realization of form and function. It is a purpose-built interactive automotive contraption that is perhaps one of the best illustrations of "it's the journey, not the destination" ever.

  • Exterior

    Although in the last year of its current (third) generation, the Miata doesn't even look slightly old. We drove the hard-top version, and while traditionalists might pooh-pooh a non-cloth-clad convertible, the Miata's hard top looks great up or down and stows away quickly and without destroying every last bit of the trunk space.

    The 2013 refresh gave the Miata a slightly more aggressive fascia, and the look has held up well, and will no doubt continue to until the fourth generation MX-5 appears some time in 2015.

  • Interior

    Don't think of the interior of the Miata as a car interior, because it kind of isn't. The closest analog would be either the cockpit of a small aircraft or the seats on a roller coaster. It's plenty comfortable, mind you, if memory serves. How do you remember past all the fun to know whether the seats were comfortable? Are the seats on the Intimidator 305 comfortable? Who cares!

    There is a radio, and HVAC, and even an aux input for your portable music player (sorry, no USB, which is all terribly important if you're driving any car other than this one. The only thing that matters from inside the Miata is the world outside and how fast you are moving in relation to it.

  • On the Road

    The MX-5 is only known as the Miata in North America. In other countries it is simply the MX-5, although in Japan it was called Roadster until the various names were unified (with the exception of Miata in the U.S.A.) into MX-5 in 2013. "Roadster" really is the perfect name for this car however.

    It's not surprising that the Miata was conceived as the modern equivalent of the classic open-topped European sports cars of the swinging '60s; what is surprising is how successfully it's managed to fulfill that mission since its introduction in 1989.

    There's nothing spectacular about the MX-5's 2.0-liter four-banger, or its 6-speed transmission, or its double wishbone/multi-link suspension, but when they all get hog-tied together (I'm just assuming that's how they do it, I'm no mechanic) they work in such beautiful harmony that, when combined with the extremely light and aerodynamic body, the result is that mythical "otherness" that comes as a result of a thing's whole being better than the sum of its parts.

    Steering is precise and immediately responsive, handing is seamless - throw all the Gs you want at the Miata and it remains unshaken - and acceleration is swift and confident. This is a car that wants to be driven, not ridden in. It likes its rev-line toyed with, its gas pedal kicked at, its odometer spun.

    Any effort exerted piloting this little open-topped harbinger of happiness is instantly rewarded; one can amble through the countryside, taking in the view, or one can careen through the streets, tempting fate and speed cameras alike.

  • Conclusion

    The Miata is a real "driver's car" - not in the sense of being a car only driving enthusiasts could love (or afford), but in the sense that driving it turns everyone into an enthusiast.

    As if the copious driving pleasure the Miata provides wasn't enough, there is the appreciable small car reward of downright respectable fuel economy numbers (21 city, 28 highway) and the even greater reward of costing just over $30,000. That is not a lot of money to pay for something that is guaranteed to bring you joy.

  • Specs & Prices

    Engine: 2.0-liter inline-four

    Transmission: 6-speed manual

    Drivetrain Layout: Front engine, rear-wheel drive.

    Power Output: 167 hp / 140 lb-ft

    Fuel Economy (mpg):21 city / 28 highway

    Price (base): $29,450

    Price (as tested): $32,285 (includes $795 delivery fee)

    Available Features:
    Suspension Package:
    Sport tuned suspension, Bilstein shocks, limited slip differential.

    Premium Package:
    Anti-theft alarm, keyless entry, Bluetooth, xenon headlights, SiriusXM radio.

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