Stop us if you've heard this one before. We love driving the Mazda Miata, wrenching on it, racing it. The original was our very first Automobile of the Year, and it earned an All-Star award every year from 1991-1997 and again from 1999-2002. Clearly, we have some serious appreciation for the little Japanese roadster. While we know there's a brand-new 2016 Mazda Miata on the way -- check AutomobileMag.com for details on September 3 -- we couldn't pass up the opportunity to spend two months driving the outgoing car.
Regular readers may remember that we've done something similar before. Indeed, we spent three months at the helm of a 2011 Mazda Miata just a few years ago. That, however, was a stripped-down base model: no power locks, a five-speed manual transmission, no stability control. It was great for back-to-basics driving, track days, and autocrossing, but it wasn't a particularly luxurious car. This time, we selected a 2014 Mazda Miata in Grand Touring trim with the power retractable hardtop (PRHT), in the hopes we'd be a little more comfortable on longer drives.
Picking the Grand Touring trim level brings features such as heated leather seats, push-button start, 17-inch wheels, automatic climate control, and a Bose seven-speaker sound system. Our car also came with the $650 suspension package, which bundles sportier Bilstein shock absorbers and a limited-slip differential; and the $1390 premium package that adds an alarm, passive unlocking, Bluetooth, xenon headlights, and satellite radio. With the final sticker price at $32,285, our Miata is only a little cheaper than the limited-run 25th Anniversary Miata. As with all models of the 2014 Mazda Miata, a 2.0-liter inline-four engine provides 167 hp and 140 lb-ft of motivation.
Because this 2014 Mazda Miata will stay with us just two months, we're going to put it to use at every opportunity available. The car will take long-distance road trips, it will tackle some of the Midwest's twistiest back roads, and it might even try some amateur motorsports. Check back soon to see how we enjoy our last few weeks with the third-generation Miata.