2014 Mazda Miata

Sport RWD 2-Dr Convertible I4 man trans

2014 mazda miata Reviews and News

1991 Mazda MX 5 Miata 2014 Mazda MX 5 Miata PRHT GT Front End
We're just one day away from the reveal of the all-new 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata. After republishing our reviews of the 1990 Mazda MX-5 Miata, the 1999 second-generation, and the 2006 third-generation car, we decided to see how far the roadster has come in 25 years.
“Twenty-four years ago, there was a young man looking through this windshield,” says deputy editor Joe DeMatio. We’re sitting in a cramped, damp 1991 Mazda Miata, fat summer raindrops loudly pelting the top.
Our deputy was a junior staffer when a Mariner Blue 1990 Mazda Miata—one of the first examples to hit our shores—arrived at Automobile Magazine headquarters. He drove the little roadster to the east coast and back, stereo blasting the whole way.
We’re not here to reminisce, though. We’re here for a comparison test. The competition? A 2014 Mazda Miata PRHT. As we near the introduction of the all-new 2016 Mazda Miata, we want to answer the question: which generation is better? DeMatio turns the long, slender key and the four-cylinder wheezes to life. Time to find out.
1991 Mazda MX 5 Miata 2014 Mazda MX 5 Miata PRHT GT Front End 03

“It’s a Miata”

It’s hard to believe now, but people geeked out over the Miata when it debuted. Mark Schirmer, a former road test coordinator for this magazine and now a Ford PR man, recalls the near hysteria he inspired driving our Four Seasons Mazda Miata from Chicago. “I was nearly causing accidents on I-94. No one had seen anything like it.”
Of course, they had, which was exactly the point. Five years before Volkswagen sparked the retro craze with the Concept One, Mazda lovingly aped the looks of the 1960s Lotus Elan. Its curves and flowing lines contrasted with the angry looking wedges that had been de rigueur in sports car design for much of the 1970s and 1980s.
Like any retro design, the Miata's has proved somewhat challenging to update. Cruising side-by-side, the old and new Miata look like father and son. The new one is sharper, tauter, and a bit more muscular but clearly draws from the same gene pool. “It’s a Miata,” shrugs road test editor Chris Nelson, who owns the silver ’91 we used for photos.
Meanwhile, the old Miata, though still a very common sight, is starting to look retro in its own right. The flip-up headlamps, chrome door handles, and fourteen-inch Minilite-style wheels all ooze a certain charm that the current car doesn’t quite recapture.
1991 Mazda MX 5 Miata 2014 Mazda MX 5 Miata PRHT GT Rear Three Quarter

It’s all about the sun visors

When it comes to Miata interiors, the big question is, how do you like your sun visors? Folded and flimsy (first-gen) or plastic-y and nearly fixed in one position (third-gen)?
The point is that neither of these cars pays much attention to fussy details. The original, of course, fusses a lot less. You can strip the interior to bare metal in about a half hour with a Phillips screwdriver and a metric socket set.
It might be a little harder to take apart and put together the stitched mocha leather and padded center console on our well-equipped 2014 model. Yes, that added refinement costs more—our test car checks in at $32,285—but that’s actually not a whole lot more than a Miata cost in 1990. It started at $13,800, which is about $25,000 after inflation.
The third generation’s biggest innovation is its power-folding hard top. Don’t get us wrong, we still love the simplicity of chucking a soft top behind us, but 2014’s fast-folding hard top has virtually no drawbacks. Unlike hard tops in more expensive cars like the Mercedes-Benz SLK and BMW Z4, Mazda’s takes up no trunk room. “The hard top artfully layers modernity over tradition,” says DeMatio.
In some areas, though, that layer wears a little thin. “It’s a little disappointing that some of the things that make my Miata impractical for long trips, like poorly placed cup holders and a hot transmission tunnel, haven’t much improved on the current car,” says associate web editor Jake Holmes, who owns a 1997 Mazda Miata. And, as always, taller drivers complain about comfort.
1991 Mazda MX 5 Miata Rear Three Quarter

It’s OK, turn the A/C on.

Some first-generation Miatas come with a button that reads, “A/C.” You should never press it. These cars are so slow that the parasitic drain of running an air conditioner on a hot summer day may be the difference between making it up a hill or getting rear-ended.
Not a problem in the 2014 Mazda Miata. Its 167-hp engine may be a bit weak by modern sports car standards, but the car is not, in fact, slow. Cruising alongside Nelson’s ’91, we actually have to concentrate on easing off the accelerator so as not to accidently blow him into the weeds.
The first-generation Mazda Miata makes up some ground in the handling department. These cars have hilariously little suspension travel—they basically ride on their bump stops. That engenders go-kart-flat cornering. The 2014 has a lot more suspension travel, which, combined with a stiffer structure, provides a comparably creamy ride. The tradeoff, though, is the new model has more body roll than we like in a sports car, something we’ve also noticed when comparing the MX-5 to the Subaru BRZ/Scion FR-S.
But whom are we kidding? We love driving both of these cars. Both have perfect shifters (slightly slicker in the new car), eager throttle response (slightly quicker in the old one), pedals placed so perfectly that even the clumsiest driver could execute a perfect heel-to-toe downshift, and steering wheels that speak and listen to your hands.
2014 Mazda MX 5 Miata PRHT GT Rear Three Quarter In Motion

Forever young

OK, we’re not really going to name a winner here. For one thing, we could reasonably be accused of bias—four staffers and contributors own first-gen Miatas.
But as we drive the old and current Miata together, we do get a clear idea of where Mazda should go with the next one. The 2016 Mazda Miata needs a clean-sheet design that makes people stop and gawk, just like the first one. It should build on the refinement of the current car without losing the focus and energy of the old car. Most of all, we hope the next Miata preserves and distills the absolute joy we feel whenever we get behind the wheel of an old one. Because even though the Miata is no longer new—just as our deputy editor has a few more gray hairs than he did in 1990—the experience of driving top-down, engine howling, is forever youthful.
Oh, and fix those sun visors.

1991 Mazda MX-5 Miata Specifications

Base Price: $14,200 (in 1990)
Engine: 1.6-liter DOHC I-4
Power: 116 hp @ 6500 rpm
Torque: 100 lb-ft @ 5500 rpm
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Drive: Rear-wheel
Length x Width x Height: 155.4 x 65.9 x 48.2 in
Wheelbase: 89.2 in
Curb Weight: 2189 lb
Fuel Economy (1990 EPA testing): 25/30/27 mpg (city/highway/combined)
Fuel Economy (revised testing): 22/28/24 mpg

2014 Mazda MX-5 Miata PRHT GT Specifications

Base Price: $30,245
Price as Tested: $32,285
Engine: 2.0-liter DOHC I-4
Power: 167 @ 7000 rpm
Torque: 140 @ 5000rpm
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Drive: Rear-wheel
Length x Width x Height: 157.3 x 67.7 x 49.4 in
Wheelbase: 91.7 in
Curb Weight: 2593 lb
Fuel Economy: 21/28/24 mpg
2014 Mazda Mx 5 Miata Grand Touring Prht Top Up
If you've been following the crew here at Automobile for the past few years, then you know we love the Miata, and for good reason. Several staffers own Mazda MX-5s and take them to autocrosses and other events. So, given the team's affection for the legendary Japanese roadster and with the debut of the all-new 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata around the next bend (world reveal is September 3), it seemed like a perfect time to get myself reacquainted with the last of the third-gen MX-5 Mohicans before the all-new car arrives.
The 2014 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring PRHT that rolled up to our L.A. HQ looked pretty stealthy in jet black, its silly grin more like a smirk. The car's overall stance is impressive, and its diminutive profile is instantly recognizable. For as small as it is, I'm reminded as I step in just how easy even 6-foot-plus 'Mericans fit in this thing. The seats were dipped in spicy mocha, which contrasted well with the black, and they proved both comfortable and relatively supportive. Given this 2014 Mazda MX-5 Miata is the Grand Touring version, the focus is on the former, as it should be. While some of the interior is dated, the instrument panel is still a thing of beauty, with simple, elegant, masterfully arranged gauges. That said I'm not in love with the steering wheel. It needs to be smaller, with a thicker rim.
The hardtop's operation is a no muss affair. Simply unlatch the lock at the middle of the roof's leading edge right above the rearview mirror, press the electronic button and down the roof goes in about 10 seconds or so. Then turn the fob of the ignition key and it's happy-go-fun time. I'd barely pulled out of the parking lot and was already gunning the revs up, notching the amazing, crisp-shifting six-speed manual gearbox. It has been several years since I'd driven a Miata in anger and I was taken aback by how forceful it feels, the 167 horses and 140 lb-ft of fury from the 2.0-liter four proving exhilarating at the outset. Sure, the engine starts to feel more pedestrian after a while in the saddle, but not much in modern automobiledom beats the sonorous buzz of the hardworking four with the top down and tach needle pegged, or the joy of attacking a hairpin onramp and then blasting out into traffic. Then there's the magnificent balance and poise the 2014 Mazda MX-5 Miata exhibits during aggressive cornering maneuvers, or the ease with which you can simply slow down your roll along a sun-drenched shoreline boulevard. These are the thrills that urban road warriors live for, and the Miata has been delivering them for 25 years now.
I do not envy what Mazda has ahead of it when it comes to the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata. It must satisfy two camps. First, the hardcore faithful who race it, worship it, never want it to change. And then there's the shiny new crowd, looking for the next white-hot thing. Everyone will likely cry for more power. No one will likely miss the present look. But whatever you do, don't make it much bigger, or especially heavier. Oh, and do it for $25K or less to start, plus better gas mileage. Rock, meet hard place. I wish Mazda well, and I have a sneaking suspicion that while they have their roadster cut out for them, they're not going to forget what makes the 2014 Mazda MX-5 Miata and all the Miatas before it so special.

2014 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring PRHT

Base Price $29,450
Price as Tested $32,285
Engine 2.0-liter DOHC I-4
Power 167 hp @ 7000 rpm
Torque 140 lb-ft @ 5000 rpm
Transmission 6-speed manual
Drive Rear-wheel
Length x width x height 157.3 x 67.7 x 49.4 in
Wheelbase 91.7 in
Curb Weight 2593 lbs
Cargo Capacity 5.3 cu ft
Fuel economy 21/28 mpg (city/highway)
2014 Mazda MX 5 Club Rear Trhee Quarters Drivers View
2014 Mazda MX-5 Miata

New For 2014

The 2014 Mazda MX-5 is a carryover model, unchanged for the new model year.

Vehicle Summary

Mazda introduced the Miata in 1990, and the lightweight, agile, and affordable convertible immediately became a sensation. Over the course of two generations of cars, the Miata reintroduced the concept of a simple, two-passenger car designed to be both entertaining to drive and cost-effective to purchase and operate. As used cars, Miatas have become the basis for grassroots enthusiasm both on the street and on the racetrack.

Introduced in 2006, the third-generation Mazda MX-5 Miata has embraced refinement without abandoning its core value of simplicity. A chassis based on the Mazda RX-8 sports car has brought not only crisper handling but also a more composed ride. The 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine in the 2014 Mazda MX-5 Miata revs to the rpm limit with enthusiasm and features variable valve timing for a broad, tractable band of power.


The 2014 Mazda MX-5 Miata is just the sort of sports car that you've always wanted. It's not overpriced, overcomplicated, or overbearing in the way that sports cars can be. The Miata simplifies the driving experience, so you have fun instead of a large monthly payment (or an equally large auto-insurance bill).

The 2014 Mazda MX-5 Miata is a compact, responsive package with a lightweight, rear-wheel-drive chassis that rides on a wheelbase measuring just 91.7 inches. The RX-8-based platform is structurally rigid enough to enhance both handling and comfort.

The core of the 2014 Mazda MX-5 Miata is its 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. When matched with a manual transmission, the engine makes 167 hp and 140 lb-ft of torque (158 hp and140 lb-ft of torque with the six-speed automatic). That may not sound like much, but the engine pulls hard all the way up the rev range, and coupled with excellent steering, braking, and handling, the Miata is immensely entertaining to drive.

The Mazda MX-5 Miata comes as a convertible with a manually operated top made from fabric or as a hardtop convertible with a power-operated retractable metal roof. The Miata is available in three trim levels: Sport, with a five-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic; Club, with a six-speed manual transmission and a sport-tuned chassis including a limited-slip differential; Grand Touring, with a six-speed manual and a complement of luxury features. The hardtop convertible is available in Club or Grand Touring Trim.

You'll like:

  • Energetic personality
  • Convertible top at an affordable price
  • Great fuel economy

You won't like:

  • Road noise
  • Requires energetic driver
  • Distinctive, not beautiful

Key Competitors

  • Subaru BRZ
  • Mini Roadster
  • Porsche Boxster
  • Volkswagen GTI
2014 Mazda MX 5 Miata Grand Touring PRHT Rear Three Quarters 02
We know summer flings are ephemeral, but that doesn’t make it smart any less when our dalliances come to an end. That's how the Automobile staff felt when a 2014 Mazda MX-5 Miata left our fleet after two months of summer driving.

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2014 Mazda Miata
2014 Mazda Miata
Sport RWD 2-Dr Convertible I4
22 MPG City | 28 MPG Hwy
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Sport RWD 2-Dr Convertible I4
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2014 Mazda Miata
2014 Mazda Miata
Sport RWD 2-Dr Convertible I4

2014 Mazda Miata Specifications

Quick Glance:
2.0L I4Engine
Fuel economy City:
22 MPG
Fuel economy Highway:
28 MPG
167 hp @ 7000rpm
140 ft lb of torque @ 5000rpm
  • Air Conditioning
  • Power Windows
  • Power Locks (optional)
  • Power Seats (optional)
  • Steering Wheel Tilt
  • Cruise Control (optional)
  • Sunroof (optional)
  • ABS
  • Stabilizer Front
  • Stabilizer RearABS
  • Electronic Traction Control
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • Locking Differential (optional)
  • Limited Slip Differential (optional)
  • Airbag Driver
  • Airbag Passenger
  • Airbag Side Front
  • Airbag Side Rear (optional)
  • Radio
  • CD Player
  • CD Changer (optional)
  • DVD (optional)
  • Navigation (optional)
36,000 miles / 36 months
60,000 miles / 60 months
Unlimited miles / 60 months
36,000 miles / 36 months
NHTSA Rating Front Driver
Not Rated
NHTSA Rating Front Passenger
Not Rated
NHTSA Rating Front Side
Not Rated
NHTSA Rating Rear Side
Not Rated
NHTSA Rating Overall
Not Rated
NHTSA Rating Rollover
Not Rated
IIHS Front Moderate Overlap
IIHS Overall Side Crash
IIHS Rear Crash
IIHS Roof Strength
IIHS Front Small Overlap

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5-Year Total Cost to Own For The 2014 Mazda Miata

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Five Year Cost of Ownership: $29,835 What's This?
Value Rating: Below Average