Wednesday, December 17, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Miata marks 25 years of fun, spirited driving

By
From page C1 | May 16, 2014 |

Ann M. Job

Twenty-five years after its debut as a lightweight, fun-to-drive, sporty roadster, the Mazda MX-5 Miata still travels a road all its own.

With a starting retail price of less than $25,000, the rear-wheel drive Miata is arguably the most affordable two-seat sportster in the United States.

Only the diminutive and decidedly not sporty, 70-horsepower, 2014 Smart fortwo Passion Cabriolet, with a starting retail price of $18,680, has a lower starting price for a two-seater.

With just a few electronic amenities offered, the Miata stays true to its heritage — a car to drive and to enjoy driving, not a car to inhabit while talking on the cell phone and following programmed directions from an in-car navigation system.

In fact, today’s Miata doesn’t offer a factory navigation system or a large, colorful display screen for the dashboard. Some versions of Miata don’t have Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity, either. And forget about finding a heated steering wheel or seats with power adjustments.

The 167-horsepower Miata is, simply, all about driving pleasure and how a low-to-the-ground car happily hugs the pavement, how it readily scoots forward and how it can make a driver feel at one with the vehicle.

No wonder the Miata has long been sought after by weekend racers who find the lightweight two-seater to be an impressive racetrack competitor.

Perhaps best of all, the 2014 Miata is a recommended buy of Consumer Reports, where predicted reliability is average.

Starting manufacturer’s suggested retail price, including destination charge, of $24,515 is for a base, 2014 Miata with 2-liter, naturally aspirated, four-cylinder engine and five-speed manual transmission.

The lowest starting retail price for a 2014 Miata with six-speed automatic is $26,775.

Standard equipment on base Miatas includes a manually operated vinyl soft top that comes in black only, manually adjustable cloth-covered seats, manual air conditioning, manual door locks, mesh wind blocker and 16-inch tires.

Buyers getting an uplevel Miata add automatically controlled air conditioning, power door locks, steering wheel-mounted audio and cruise control buttons, 17-inch tires, keyless remote entry and even the choice of power-operated hardtop roof, among other things.

In comparison, the rear-wheel drive, 2014 BMW Z4 sDrive28i roadster has a starting retail price of $49,875 with turbocharged, 240-horsepower four cylinder and six-speed manual. Standard equipment includes keyless entry, power adjustable seats, power retractable hardtop roof, automatic climate control, Bluetooth, BMW’s SensaTec upholstery that looks like a rich vinyl, 17-inch tires and three suspension settings, among other things. A navigation system is an option in the Z4.

Meantime, the rear-wheel drive, 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Coupe has a starting MSRP, including destination charge of $53,995 with 455-horsepower V-8 and seven-speed manual. The base Corvette includes removable carbon fiber roof panel, dual-zone, automatic climate control, keyless access, power door locks, rearview camera and 18-inch tires, among other things.

Over the years, there were other affordable competitors to the Miata, including the Toyota MR2, Honda S2000 and Pontiac Solstice. But they didn’t last.

And truthfully, Miata sales in the United States, which peaked at nearly 36,000 in 1990, have steadily declined and totaled just 5,780 in calendar 2013.

With styling reminiscent of the beloved British and Italian roadsters of the 1950s and ’60s, the Miata — with relatively long hood and short rear deck holding a small, 5.3-cubic-foot trunk — is instantly recognizable.

Today’s Miata, at 13.1 feet from bumper to bumper, is a tad longer than the original that measured less than 13 feet in length. But weight is tightly controlled at just 2,610 pounds for a base car.

Widthwise, the Miata interior can still feel a bit snug for larger-sized folks. As an example, a couple of heavyset gentlemen inside can feel cozy and maybe hemmed in.

But the Miata’s 43.1 inches of legroom are more than what’s expected, while headroom of 37.4 inches is akin to what’s found in the back seat of a 2014 Honda Civic sedan.

Headroom shouldn’t be too much of a worry, though, because the appeal of the Miata is driving with the top down.

The test 2014 Miata, an uplevel Club model with power-operated hard top, felt somewhat Spartan inside as seats had to be adjusted by hand and the dashboard looked barebones compared with other cars with oodles of buttons and large display screens.

But pleasing engines sounds and the Miata’s eager, sprightly personality soon proved to be a tonic to a driving enthusiast.

The Miata’s small diameter steering wheel felt just right. Steering response was quick. The shifter had short, crisp throws — and suddenly the driver was all into the driving and the intimate sensations of road, open air and movement.

The reverie came to a screeching halt, however, when taller, blocky vehicles — which basically include everything from Cadillac Escalades to Toyota Corollas — got in front. Then, the driver stared at tailpipes and rear bumpers.

Another noticeable issue: The Miata’s ride is loud from road noise and the high revs of the double overhead cam four cylinder. Peak torque of 140 foot-pounds comes at 5,000 rpm.

With body motions closely controlled, the sporty ride of the Miata over rough pavement and manhole covers also may wear on some.

Many consumers are shocked to find the 2014 Miata’s fuel economy is lackluster for a car that carries only two people.

In fact, the U.S. government fuel mileage ratings for a 2014 Miata are just 21 to 22 miles per gallon in city travel and 28 mpg on the highway. These numbers are less than the ratings for the 2014 Mazda2 and Mazda3, which have seats for five.

2014 Mazda MX-5 Miata Club Power Retractable Hard Top

BASE PRICE: $23,720 for Sport with manual; $25,980 for Sport automatic; $26,905 for Club manual; $27,505 for Club automatic; $27,550 for Grand Touring manual; $28,650 for Grand Touring automatic; $28,665 for Club Power Retractable Hard Top with manual.

PRICE AS TESTED: $29,460.

TYPE: Front-engine, rear-wheel drive, two-passenger convertible.

ENGINE: 2-liter, double overhead cam four cylinder with VVT.

MILEAGE: 21 mpg (city), 28 mpg (highway).

TOP SPEED: NA.

LENGTH: 157.3 inches.

WHEELBASE: 91.7 inches.

CURB WEIGHT: 2,610 pounds.

BUILT AT: Japan.

OPTIONS: None.

DESTINATION CHARGE: $795.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 1 comment

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Coil_pack_problems_in_a_Mazda_miataMay 16, 2014 - 7:26 am

    Too bad Mazda is not recalling the 99>>2000 Miatas over their bad batch of COIL PACKS. If just one of those things makes a Miata stall while driving on the freeway causing a deathly wreck, look out. Mazda will then lose more money in law suits than they have. But all they have done is issue a, "Technical Bulletin," on the issue. Well I already bought the part, just awaiting for my neighbor mechanic to install it for me, a near $300 part (Near $400 at the dealers).

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Recent Articles

  • Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • .

    Solano News

     
    Menorah on Main begins celebration of Hanukkah

    By Glen Faison | From Page: A1, 2 Comments | Gallery

    Haynes, Travis district part company

    By Glen Faison | From Page: A1, 13 Comments

     
    Optimist Club welcomes student essays

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

     
    Police arrest 5 on DUI allegations

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3, 4 Comments

    Free new home heater warms Solano family

    By Glen Faison | From Page: A3, 3 Comments | Gallery

     
     
    Crash blocks part of Air Base Parkway

    By Glen Faison | From Page: A5 | Gallery

    Police arrest 4 for suspected marijuana sales

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A5, 4 Comments

     
     
    ‘Hobbit’ story ends on big screen

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A7

     
    Council delays decision on anti-smoking ordinance

    By Ian Thompson | From Page: A8

    Police arrest man caught driving stolen car

    By Ian Thompson | From Page: A8

     
     
    Suisun City police log: Dec. 12, 2014

    By Glen Faison | From Page: A12, 1 Comment

     
    Fairfield police log: Dec. 14, 2014

    By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

     
    Faifield police log: Dec. 12, 2014

    By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

    Suisun City police log: Dec. 14, 2014

    By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

     
    .

    US / World

    Quotes from around the world on Pakistan attack

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

     
    A look at the Pakistani Taliban militant group

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

    Taliban assault on Pakistan school leaves 141 dead

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 2 Comments

     
    State retiree health care gap reaches $72 billion

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A9, 4 Comments

    Robin Williams tops 2014 list of Google searches

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

     
    Ex-Marine wanted in 6 killings commits suicide

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A13, 2 Comments

     
    Gay vets can march in Boston St. Patrick’s parade

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A13, 1 Comment

    Cosby won’t be charged over molestation claim

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

     
    End game: No immigration deal, just divisions

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

    Jeb Bush to ‘actively explore’ run for president

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A13, 3 Comments

     
    Employees arrested for baby theft in Guatemala

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

    Israel arrests members of Jewish extremist group

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

     
    Ireland plans May vote on legalizing gay marriage

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

    Sydney siege victims lauded for courage, kindness

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

     
    Horror over deadly Sydney siege turns to anger

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

    Aussie leader: System failed to track siege gunman

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

     
    Islamic State recruits broadly, not just fighters

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

    Eight-day Jewish festival of Hanukkah begins

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

     
    Filipino mayor expresses support for Guam statue

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

    .

    Opinion

     
    LA looks to election shift to boost turnout

    By Dan Walters | From Page: A11

     
    What is Hanukkah’s significance?

    By The Rev. Dan Molyneux | From Page: A11, 10 Comments

    .

    Living

    Today in History: Dec. 17, 2014

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Community Calendar: Dec. 17, 2014

    By Glen Faison | From Page: A2

    Horoscopes: Dec. 17, 2014

    By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B6

     
    My teenage daughter seems to be cutting me out of her life

    By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B6

    A chocolatey rich coconut cream pie for Christmas

    By Elizabeth Karmel | From Page: B7

     
    Go Italian this Christmas with lobster manicotti

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

    Dressing up a simple hash for Christmas brunch

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

     
    .

    Entertainment

    Letterman pulls curtain on holiday tradition

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    TVGrid

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A5

    Green Day, Reed, Starr into rock hall

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

     
    Fixes planned for clinic that treated Joan Rivers

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

    .

    Sports

    Some Raiders players want Sparano in 2015

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

     
    Fairfield grad Bishop signs with 49ers

    By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1, 1 Comment | Gallery

    Memphis stops Golden State’s 16-game win streak

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Chris Borland’s rookie 49ers season likely over

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Bills deliver Lions pizza, wings for hospitality

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    1998 World Cup winner Thierry Henry retires

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    USOC decides to bid for 2024; city still undecided

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    College football playoff participants stack AP All-America team

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

    Yankees GM Cashman: A-Rod now a full-time DH

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Sprint to end NASCAR sponsorship after 2016 season

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Raiders place LB Sio Moore on IR

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Patriots regain top spot in AP Pro32 rankings

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

     
    Rodriguez girls finally get win over Monte Vista

    By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

    Panthers outlast Capitals in longest NHL shootout, 20 rounds

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    AP sources: NFL employees turn over phone, email records

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    .

    Business

    California home prices cool in November on sluggish sales

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

     
    T-Mobile to let customers carry over unused data

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

    Apple wins class-action lawsuit over iPod prices

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

     
    Obama backs bill imposing new sanctions on Russia

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B9, 5 Comments

    Sony hackers reference 9/11 in new threats against theaters

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

     
    Russian ruble sinks sharply despite bank rate hike

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

    Apple stops sales in Russia, citing unstable ruble

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

     
    .

    Obituaries

    James Nelson

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

     
    Collie Joseph Blossom

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 2 Comments

    Calvin B. Shin

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 3 Comments

     
    .

    Comics

    Blondie

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

     
    Sally Forth

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

    Garfield

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

     
    Baldo

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

    Get Fuzzy

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

     
    For Better or Worse

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

    Dilbert

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

     
    Zits

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

    Peanuts

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

     
    B.C.

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

    Rose is Rose

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

     
    Baby Blues

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

    Beetle Bailey

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

     
    Wizard of Id

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

    Frank and Ernest

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

     
    Pickles

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

    Word Sleuth

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

     
    Cryptoquote

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

    Sudoku

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

     
    Crossword

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

    Bridge

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6