Wednesday, March 4, 2015
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

    Report: Affordable Care Act stretches Solano services

    By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A1

     
    County honors Meadows Trigueiro as Woman of the Year

    By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Police shut down Fairfield street after shooting

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

     
    Celebrity chef motivates Armijo students

    By Susan Winlow | From Page: A2 | Gallery

     
    State schedules work on Highway 12

    By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A4

     
    Bridge work to shut down Highway 12 east of Rio Vista

    By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A4

    Highway 12 Association to meet this month

    By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A4

     
    Caltrans reschedules work on J-Mack Ferry

    By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A4

    Supervisors move ahead with flood planning effort

    By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A5

     
     
     
    Robots, raucous businessmen set to arrive on big screen

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A7

    Suisun water rate increase public meetings to begin

    By Ian Thompson | From Page: A9

     
    Teen hit by SUV remains in hospital

    By Glen Faison | From Page: A9

    College looks at Measure Q project changes

    By Susan Winlow | From Page: A9

     
     
     
    Fairfield police log: March 2, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

    Fairfield police log: March 1, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

     
    Fairfield police log: Feb. 28, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

    Suisun police log: March 2, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

     
    Suisun City police log: March 1, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

    Suisun City police log: Feb. 28, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

     
    Enrollment of non-residents to be capped at some UC campuses

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

    .

    US / World

    California survey finds Sierra snowpack far below normal

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

     
    California shuts down oil wells to protect ground water

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

    Ex-CIA chief admits sharing military secrets with mistress

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A12 | Gallery

     
    Lawmakers taking another crack at expanding gun checks

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

    California lawmakers show wide discrepancy in missed votes

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

     
    Agents target industry helping Chinese women have US babies

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A13 | Gallery

    Family of girl declared brain-dead sues Oakland hospital

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

     
    US marshals say man killed by Los Angeles police was wanted

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A13 | Gallery

    72 passengers reach settlements in Asiana crash

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

     
    Netanyahu warns US ‘bad deal’ would put Iran on nuclear path

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

    Congress sends Homeland bill to Obama without conditions

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

     
    Mines, bombs slow Iraqi advance on Islamic State-held Tikrit

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

    India orders TV stations not to give rapist a platform

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

     
    Health officials perplexed by vaccination skeptics

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

    .

    Opinion

     
    Editorial cartoon: March 3-4, 2015

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

    Minority outreach that works

    By Jennifer Rubin | From Page: A11, 1 Comment

     
    Israelis worry about inequality, not Iran

    By Daniel Gordis | From Page: A11, 2 Comments

     
    .

    Living

    Today in History: March 4, 2015

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Community Calendar: March 4, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

    Mushrooms are nutrient-packed, with a deep, savory flavor

    By The Washington Post | From Page: B5

     
    Get ready to add white to the rainbow of produce you eat

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

     
    Horoscopes: March 4, 2015

    By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B7

    My husband and I want different things in our retirement

    By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B7

     
    .

    Entertainment

    Apollo to celebrate Holiday birthday

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

     
    Oprah’s Chicago studios to close down

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

    Fashion week moves Milan to Paris

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

     
    TVGrid

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    .

    Sports

    Bumgarner hit hard in spring debut, A’s beat Giants 9-4

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

     
     
    Vanden girls roll, advance to SJS championship game

    By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B1

    Cubs’ scramble on Wrigley Field hits bump when mayor balks

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Raiders officially release S Tyvon Branch

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Trooper: Fingerprints show victim in Hernandez’s rented car

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Play ball! Quickly! Baseball tries to speed game this spring

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Australian rugby star Hayne signs 3-year deal with 49ers

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Maid: Hernandez messed with security camera after killing

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Pacquiao big hit so far in Vegas sports books vs Mayweather

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Kings bring back former player Divac in front-office role

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    No ‘floating rubbish’ collection for Olympic sailing venue

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Cal senior Reshanda Gray named Pac-12 Player of the Year

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Rudy Gay, Kings hand Knicks worst loss of season, 124-86

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    .

    Business

    Oil glut could soon lead to plummeting prices

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

     
    .

    Obituaries

    John Henry Fechter, Jr.

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

     
    Jacqueline Mendes

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

    Robert C. Thierry

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

     
    Garland (Curly) Henry Tackett

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

    Otto Vasak

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Blondie

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

     
    Pickles

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

    Zits

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

     
    Beetle Bailey

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

    Rose is Rose

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

     
    Dilbert

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

    Get Fuzzy

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

     
    B.C.

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

    Peanuts

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

     
    For Better or Worse

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

    Sally Forth

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

     
    Wizard of Id

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

    Baby Blues

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

     
    Baldo

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

    Garfield

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

     
    Frank and Ernest

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

    Cryptoquote

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

     
    Sudoku

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

    Crossword

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

     
    Bridge

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

    Word Sleuth

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7