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2013 Mazda MX-5 Miata

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2013 Mazda MX-5 Miata Review

By KBB.com Editors

KBB Expert Rating: 8.3

Living legends are hard to come by these days, especially in the cookie-cutter world of modern mobility. But there are a few standouts, cars that remain true to their original concept even as they evolve to keep up with the times. The 2013 Mazda MX-5 Miata convertible is one such car. Since its introduction 24 years ago, the MX-5 (more commonly referred to as the Miata) has attracted admirers worldwide, spanning all ages from both sexes and even earning a soft spot in the hearts of die-hard SCCA autocross buffs. The Miata isn't flashy or fast. It's just a fun, affordable and reliable roadster that is guaranteed to bring a smile to the face of anyone with a beating heart and a valid driver's license.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you love the look and open-air feel of the old British Triumphs and MGs, but you don't want to deal with the hassle of a 50-year-old used car, the 2013 Mazda MX-5 Miata lets you have your cake and eat it too.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you're over 6-feet tall or need a bit more hip room in your daily driver, the Miata's tight seats and limited headroom (top up) are going to prove problematic. A better choice might be the VW EOS or Beetle Convertible, or even a used Porsche Boxster.

What's New for 2013

The Mazda MX-5 Miata for 2013 sees minor revisions to its front-end design, some new interior and exterior color and trim treatments and a new wind blocker for the retractable-hardtop model. Fog lights are added to the Sport trim while all 6-speed manual-transmission cars come standard with the Suspension Package. The Touring trim is now called Club.

Driving the MX-5 Miata
Driving Impressions

There is nothing about the 2013 Mazda Miata convertible that we don't like. Is it loaded with horsepower? No. But, with a total weight of roughly 2,500 pounds, the 167-horsepower...

... 2.0-liter engine is more than sufficient. From the lovely quick-shifting manual transmission to the near-instantaneous steering turn-in response, the Miata is a true enthusiast driver's dream. The Miata's all-independent suspension and almost 50/50 front-to-rear weight distribution contribute to the terrific level of handling, as well as the compliant ride. And, while its development over 20 years has necessarily accommodated new safety and emissions legislation, the tight, lithe platform continues to deliver an almost magical connection with the asphalt and fresh air. It's more than mere transport; it's transport to another place.

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.

ALUMINUM
The 2013 MX-5 Miata utilizes a remarkable amount of lightweight (and relatively costly) aluminum. Hood, trunk, front-suspension control arms, rear-suspension uprights and rear brake calipers are all crafted in a material many carmakers seem yet to discover in any meaningful quantities. It keeps the Miata commendably light and wonderfully responsive.

2013 Mazda MX-5 Miata Details
Interior

There is no getting around the fact that the 2013 Mazda MX-5 Miata convertible's interior is a snug affair but, for those who can wedge themselves inside, it promises to be a great ride. The seats might be marginally comfortable for some, and a few people may find them not to be the best for longer trips. Amazingly, the Miata's trunk is big enough to fit a large overnight bag or a few days' worth of groceries. The interior materials are well above what we'd expect at this price, with Grand Touring models outfitted with heated leather seats, Bose audio and automatic climate control.

Exterior

We could describe the 2013 Mazda MX-5 Miata convertible's most alluring features to you, or you could just look at a picture, because what you see is what you get. The sleek exterior shares no sheetmetal or parts with the last-generation Miata, but the two look amazingly similar. The MX-5 Miata's retractable soft-top is a marvel of engineering, requiring only one arm to open and close. Those looking for a bit more comfort and security can opt for the retractable-hardtop version, which amazingly takes up no trunk space and results in the loss of only a small storage compartment behind the driver's seat.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Despite an entry-level price tag, the Mazda Miata Sport for 2013 is comprehensively equipped. A 5-speed manual transmission, power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering, electronic traction and stability control, side-impact airbags, 16-inch alloy wheels, fog lights, air conditioning, glass rear window with defroster, power windows, leather-wrapped steering wheel, sport suspension, adjustable-height driver's seat and AM/FM/CD with MP3 playback capability are but a few of the highlights. In short, despite a relatively low price tag (under $25K), the entry-level Miata is almost elegantly equipped.

Optional Equipment

Most of the 2013 Mazda Miata's available options are packaged in the trim-level upgrades. Club and Grand Touring models add a sixth gear to the manual transmission; all three trim levels offer an available 6-speed automatic as an option. The Club has 17-inch alloy wheels, power door locks, an in-dash 6-disc CD changer and remote keyless entry. The Grand Touring adds a black or beige cloth top, automatic air conditioning, leather seating and a Bose audio system. A more aggressive Sport suspension (with Bilstein shocks and limited-slip differential) is standard on both Club and Grand Touring models equipped with the manual transmission. The retractable hardtop is offered on Touring or Grand Touring trim levels and adds the power-retractable hardtop with a glass rear window and rear defroster.

Under the Hood

With 167 horsepower at 7,000 rpm from its 2.0 liters of displacement, the Mazda's 2013 MX-5 Miata's powertrain is merely middle-of-the-pack in terms of power output. But what it provides in driving enjoyment puts it solidly in pole position, with feedback – both mechanical and aural – fully appropriate to the classic sports-car experience. And much of that has been engineered into the car. One example: The engine's plastic composite intake manifold is designed to transmit – rather than mask – certain frequencies that duplicate a sports car's "sound." Both 5-speed and 6-speed manual transmissions are short in their throws and precise in their actuations. And, as noted, a 6-speed automatic is optional across the board, but truly appropriate only if you've lost your left leg in a racing accident.

2.0-liter inline-4
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)

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