By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 8.2
The Mazda Miata has been around for about a quarter-century and, through all that, remains true to the original concept: The 2014 MX-5 Miata is a tidy, affordable, front-engine rear-drive 2-seat roadster with a lively small-displacement engine and snappy performance, razor-sharp handling and a fun-to-drive factor that's off the scale. The Miata has its own racing series (two of them, in fact), has earned universal appeal from all ages and both sexes and is known and admired around the world. Its true competitors are few: Perhaps the Mini Cooper Roadster is on that list. Lots of sports cars are faster or flashier but, now in its third generation, the 2014 MX-5 Miata perfectly maintains that tradition of unmatched affordable and reliable fun behind the wheel.
If you've wanted a small, light, 2-seat roadster in the traditional front-engine, rear-drive layout and with more grins per mile than a load of monkeys who have raided the liquor cabinet, there is no better choice than the MX-5 Miata.
The MX-5 Miata is not a big car and, therefore, does not offer a lot of extra interior room. If you don't fit, there are other open-air choices, from a VW Beetle Convertible to a used Corvette and a lot, obviously, in between.
With the exception of three new colors there are no changes to the Mazda MX-5 Miata for 2014.
Driving Impressions Unless your idea of perfect motoring is being chauffeured around in the back seat of an airport limo, it's just about impossible not to fall in love with the driving...... experience of the 2014 MX-5 Miata. Make it light, make it nimble, make it responsive and what would you expect? It weighs roughly 2,500 pounds, has nearly equal front-to-rear weight distribution, rides on a very sophisticated fully independent suspension, includes great steering and brakes and has been thoroughly conceived, engineered, refined, detailed and built to deliver the ultimate in a fun-to-drive connection with the pavement. On a curvy road it must be experienced to be believed. Other sports cars are faster. None are more fun to drive. This thing is as crisp as a fresh-out-of-the-bag potato chip.
2.0-LITER DOHC 4-CYLINDER ENGINE
There is no supercharger or turbo to boost output, no V6 crammed under the hood to throw off the 50/50 weight balance, just a marvelously rev-happy 2.0-liter engine that responds without complaint and sips fuel to the tune of 28 mpg.
Starting with a light and rigid structure, continuing with a fully independent suspension with upper and lower control arms front and rear, and adding in a near-equal weight distribution, the MX-5 Miata's artfully conceived and technologically refined layout is the basis for its exemplary handling.
The 2014 Mazda MX-5 Miata's interior is admittedly on the snug side, but it's not a big car. And, for those who can fit, the resultant ride is always fun and always memorable. The seats might be tight for some but are appropriately supportive for enthusiastic driving. Somewhat surprisingly, the trunk offers decent space for a reasonable amount of luggage or a few grocery bags. The materials are of good quality and show a commendable level of fit and finish, and available features include leather seating, a Bose audio system and even automatic climate control.Exterior
The 2014 MX-5 Miata's exterior exemplifies the minimalist approach: It uses just enough metal to cover the working parts and the body is wrapped snugly, like somebody who's physically fit and doesn't wear baggy pants or lumpy sweatshirts. Deserving special mention is the retractable soft-top; it requires only one hand and arm to open or close and makes all other manually operated tops clumsy by comparison. For more security there's the retractable-hardtop model; its folding top does not intrude upon available trunk space and results in the loss of no more than a small storage spot behind the seats.
Even the base 2014 Mazda MX-5 Miata, the Sport trim level, is very well-equipped, with a 5-speed manual transmission, 16-inch alloy wheels, electronic stability and traction control, fog lights, air conditioning, power windows, glass rear window with defroster, a decent sound system and a host of other convenience features and assists. Moving up to the Grand Touring adds 17-inch wheels, automatic climate control, heated seats, leather and a Bose audio. The racy Club adds a sport-tuned Suspension Package, front air dam, rear underskirt and appropriate trim and appearance items.
Mostly, the MX-5 Miata's options are in trim-level upgrades. The 6-speed automatic is available across the board, but the retractable hardtop is not offered with the Sport. The Convenience Package (remote keyless entry, cruise control, power door locks and other items) is standard on Club and Grand Touring. The Premium Package (Grand Touring only) adds higher-end convenience features. The Appearance Package includes the front air dam and rear underskirt and is standard on the Club. The Suspension Package (standard on Club) is optional on the Grand Touring. Stand-alone options include a rear spoiler, SiriusXM and an in-dash 6-disc CD changer.
The 2014 MX-5 Miata's 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine makes 167 horsepower with the manual transmission and 158 with the automatic; mid-pack, power-wise. But the MX-5 weighs only around 2,500 pounds and that engine responds like a hungry cat after a fat mouse. In the way it revs and the way it sounds – which is terrific – it's every millimeter a wonderful sports-car engine. The 5-speed and 6-speed manual transmissions shift with short throws and clean precision; the 6-speed automatic does its job just fine but, really, if you can operate a manual gearbox that's the way to go. There isn't anything about the 2014 MX-5 Miata that doesn't want to get moving and put a smile on your face.
167 horsepower @ 7,000 rpm (manual)
158 horsepower @ 6,700 rpm (automatic)
140 lb-ft of torque @ 5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/28 mpg (5-speed manual), 21/28 mpg (6-speed manual), 21/28 mpg (automatic)
The three 2014 Mazda MX-5 Miata convertible trim levels – Sport, Club and Grand Touring – carry Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) tags ranging from around $24,000 (5-speed Sport) to around $29,000 (Grand Touring automatic), plus whatever options the consumer cares to add. The power-retractable-hardtop Club starts around $29,000 and a loaded Grand Touring tops out around $34,000. Be sure and check KBB.com's Fair Purchase Price to find out what consumers are paying in your market area for the 2014 MX-5 Miata. Historically, the Mazda Miata's resale value has been consistently high, a testament to both its long-term reliability and desirability to successive generations of car buyers. While there are no direct competitors to the MX-5 Miata, perhaps the closest is the Mini Cooper Roadster, and they both have similar, and strong, residual values.
By LTCUSAF on Thursday, October 09, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,600overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "More smiles per mile."
Cons: "I can't drive it 24/7; I have to sleep some time."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I've driven MGs, Alfas, Fiats. I waited a long time to find a used MX-5 in good condition. Found a 2013 Grand Touring with less than 1000 miles on it. I let the first owner eat about $7000 in depreciation. The car even smells new. I also fly little airplanes; this car is even more fun than that cause I can do it any day I want, regardless of the weather. Buy one, it's fantastic for two empty nesters and there is no room for grandchildren."
3 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By Sporty Grandma on Monday, September 29, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 24,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Gas mileage, fun to drive"
Cons: "Only for 2 people"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This was my "fun" car and I truly enjoy driving it. It looks classy and I have never had any mechanical problems with it. Every time I drive it someone comments on the beauty of the car."
3 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By JKL on Wednesday, September 24, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 41,440overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Pros: Corners like on rails. Great acceleration for a small car Hardtop goes up and down in less than 8 seconds Cons: The front fender skirt sits really low and can get scratch up easily at parking spaces blocks or curbs. It's hard to clean the space behind the seats with the top up and near impossible with top down."
3 people out of 6 found this review helpful