Highlight: According to the industry respected latest JD Power 2014 Quality Study, the Mazda Miata MX-5 is the top rated vehicle the compact sporty car segment.
Test vehicle’s MSRP: $30,675 (Base Model starts at $24,515)
Seating Capacity: 2
Standard Safety Features: airbags; side impact beams; a tire pressure monitoring system; ABS; traction control; and a stability control system; and a locking glove box
Standard Equipment (Base): 16-inch wheels; a 5-speed manual transmission; a manually operated vinyl (or cloth) top; a manual a/c; cloth seats; a power remote trunk; a speed sensing automatic volume control audio system; a tilt steering wheel; manual door locks; and a convertible roof wind blocker
Upgraded Equipment (Grand Touring): 167-horsepower;17-inch wheels; a 6-speed manual transmission; a Bose 7-speaker audio system with a 6-disc CD changer; satellite radio; steering wheel mounted audio controls; keyless entry system; an anti-theft alarm system; Xenon headlights; leather heated seats; power door locks; a keyless ignition system; and an automatic ventilation system
Front: a double wishbone system
Rear: a multi-link suspension system
Standard Audio: a 6-speaker AM/FM/CD
Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles
Powertrain Warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles
Bluetooth Compatibility: Available
Standard Engine/Horsepower: 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder/158-horsepower
Recommended Fuel: Regular
Standard Fuel Mileage: 21-city/28-hwy
What’s New: The vehicle is basically a carryover for the 2014 model year.
Pros: The sporty rear-wheel drive roadster, with its timeless, classic design, is available with a vinyl top, a cloth top or a power retractable hardtop. And depending upon one’s driving skills, either an automatic or manual transmission is available. In our opinion, we recommend opting for the spirited 6-speed manual. Ironically, after being on the market for 25 years, the MX-4 still continues to be such a fun-to-drive pocket rocket, offering both precise steering and great handling capabilities. This is truly a vehicle for driving enthusiasts, especially when the manual transmission is selected and the vehicle is driven on America’s twisty back roads.
Fortunately for us the weather was perfect to drop the easy-to-use power retractable hardtop in our nicely equipped Grand Touring model, which was outfitted with the optional Xenon headlamps, a subscription based satellite audio system, a keyless entry system and an alarm system. The compact roadster is capable of been driven in cooler climates too, as long as there is no snow. The optional heated seats will keep the occupants warm and toasty, when the temperature drops!
Moreover, with there being only one other compact roadster available in the market place, the MX-5 is surely the more economical of the two. Yes, we’re referring to the BMW Z4. By the way, the next generation MX-5 is expected to hit the market within the next 18 months. There are a lot of styling cues that will mirror that of the Bimmer.
Cons: While many of today’s vehicles are outfitted with a rear camera or a navigation system, don’t expect to find these features in the MX-5, even if one opts for the high end Grand Touring model. Furthermore, while we welcome the keyless ignition starter system that still resembles an actual key, cosmetically we would prefer that the engineers design a push button ignition starter system.
The Verdict: Prior to the economic downturn, the Miata MX-5 had a handful of direct competitors: the Pontiac Solstice, the Saturn Sky and the Honda S2000. Today, the only indirect competitor to the Mazda is BMW’s pricey rear wheel drive Z4. In fact, for the price of the Z4, consumers can snap up two vehicles, one being a practical four door sedan and of course a spirited MX-5. So, as long as one doesn’t mind the limited cargo space and the inability to transport more than one occupant in the well-built drop top, the MX-5 should be high on one’s shopping list.
Nearest Competition: BMW Z4
Jeff Fortson is an auto analyst and editor of a car-buying website for women and minorities. To learn more about his popular car-buying workshop and/or to price a new-vehicle, drive on over to www.JeffCars.com. Follow him http://twitter.com/#!/JeffCars/.