Introduced in 1989 at the Chicago Auto Show, the affordable MX-5 Miata has been shown as much loyalty and passion as any Mazda vehicle ever produced. Despite its small dimensions, it offers the emotional “wind in your hair” experience of a convertible combined with an extraordinarily responsive steering and suspension configuration and adequate acceleration, to form an almost addictive driving encounter. The MX-5 Miata turned 25 in 2014 and what better place to celebrate than the 2014 New York International Auto Show to be held from April 16 through 27 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan? Mazda is planning something special and you don’t want to miss it.
The Miata is a rear-wheel drive roadster that will awaken the driving enthusiast in you from the instant that you crack the throttle. Like most cars, the Miata has undergone some changes during the last two-and-a-half-decades; among them the addition of a power retractable hardtop. Although the 1990 model was introduced with a 116-hp 1.6-liter four-cylinder, performance was reasonable due to the relatively light gross vehicle weight and nimble handling (a manual transmission helped, as well). The 2014 model has certainly evolved, with a peppy 2.0-liter four-cylinder that offers 167-hp, with your choice of either a five or six speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic. I would strongly suggest the manual gearbox as it yields improved engine performance and it is simply more fun.
Mazda plans to display a selection of fifteen MX-5 Miata models, from race cars to concept vehicles, to notable production vehicles. You might even get to take a ride in an original Miata roadster during the media preview taking place on April 16 and 17. President and CEO of Mazda North America Jim O’Sullivan said, “The MX-5 Miata is the quintessential Mazda; with all the whiz-bang technology and comfort amenities increasingly added to modern vehicles, MX-5’s direct connection between car and driver still remains the standard feature that puts smiles on driver’s faces.”
The newest model Miata is offered in three trim levels; the base Sport, the Club model, and the top-tier Grand Touring model. Standard equipment on the Sport model includes tilt steering with a leather wrapped steering wheel, height adjustable driver’s seat, power windows, vinyl convertible top, a six-speaker audio system with a CD player, fog lights, air conditioning, and 16-inch alloy wheels. Club trim adds a cloth convertible top, keyless-entry, power door locks, cruise control, trip computer, and 17-inch alloy wheels. The top-level Grand Touring trim adds your choice of either beige or black colored cloth convertible top, auto-dimming rear view mirror, leather upholstery, automatic climate control, and a seven-speaker Bose audio system. A manually operated soft convertible top is standard on all models but a power operated hard convertible top can be added to the top two trim levels.
The Miata offers only one engine. An adequately powerful 2.0-liter four-cylinder mated with a five-speed manual transmission for the Sport trim level or a six-speed manual for the Club and Grand Touring levels. A six-speed automatic transmission with steering wheel mounted paddle shifters is also available on all trim levels. I strongly recommend the manual transmission. This combination will not leave you feeling disappointed.