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2013 Mazda MX-5 Miata Review By Larry Nutson

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2013 Mazda MX-5 Miata Club

2013 Mazda MX-5 Miata Club PRHT

By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor, New York Bureau
The Auto Channel

Drive the Mazda Miata MX-5 for a short thirty-minute stint and you quickly conclude that it is indeed a fun little car. My last Miata drive over a year ago quickly took me back to my younger years and my ’67 Triumph TR-4A. My TR was red with black interior and top just like this MX-5 Miata Club tester.

There are so many similarities between that old Triumph and today’s Miata, but then again after about 46 years of auto industry development there are so many dissimilarities too. I think about the Triumph’s manual folding soft-top, twin carburetors with a hand choke, AM radio to which I added an FM converter, no air conditioning, manual steering, 4-speed tranny with a hydraulic clutch, and crank operated side windows. And, no cup holders and no place to put a mobile phone, which of course we didn’t have back then.

And the MX-5 Miata, now more than 20 years on the market, is still as uncomplicated as my ’67 Triumph but also brings many 21st Century features that make driving a lot more enjoyable. And features that make the MX-5 a bit more versatile, too.

A lot of folks around the globe like the Miata and now with more than 900,000 units sold, the MX-5 is by far still the best-selling two-seat roadster in the world, and with the Guinness World Records to prove it.

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Affordable, exceptional and tuned to produce driver happiness, new for the 2013 model year is the Club trim. Replacing the Touring trim of previous model years, Club offers drivers the no-nonsense aggressive appeal seen in previous special edition versions but within a more affordable price realm. The Club trim is situated between the entry-level Sport and luxury-loaded Grand Touring. The Club with soft-top is priced at $26,705. My Power Retractable Hard Top (PRHT) Club test car is priced at $28,465.

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The PRHT is chosen over the soft-top by a 4:1 ratio around the world, according to Mazda. Available on Club and Grand Touring trims only, the PRHT is stored in the same manner as the soft top, and doesn’t eat-in to trunk storage space. There is no problem in hauling your airline roll-aboard to the airport. I recall really knowing how cold a winter day it was in my soft-top Triumph. Designed to perform in any climate, the added insulation and noise reduction are nice pluses, along with the glass rear window…remember convertibles with the plastic rear window that became fogged over time. Using a single-button operation, the PRHT offers one of the fastest power-operated opening-and-closing cycles for a hard top in North America at a very quick 12 seconds. Top up or top down at the next red light is a cinch.

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For both soft-top and Power Retractable Hard Top-equipped (PRHT) Club models, distinctive exterior characteristics abound. Dark gunmetal 17-inch alloy wheels – previously featured on 2012 MX-5 Special Edition models – are now standard as are black-colored details such as outside mirrors, head lamp bezels and rooftop. A front air dam and rear diffuser are now included as well as the seat back bar garnish now displayed in a glossy dark gray motif. For Club models equipped with a six-speed manual transmission, the Suspension Package also is included, with specialized exterior “Club” graphics and badges rounding out the finishing touch to fashion an attractively bold MX-5 look.

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The Club theme is continued on the interior with an all-new body-color decoration panel featuring distinguishing graphics. Red contrast stitching is featured on the black cloth seats. In Sport models, black upholstery with black stitching is standard while leather seats are standard in Grand Touring models in either black or an all-new-for-2013 Spicy Mocha color. Sport and Grand Touring models also receive a revised dark gray decoration panel.

All Miatas are powered by a 167hp, 2.0-L, 4-cylinder, MZR engine. Curb weight depending on trim is in the 2500 to 2600 lb range, and the 167hp moves the nibble Miata quite quickly. Zero to sixty is in the low six-second range. The Club is fitted with a slick-shifting six-speed manual transmission and EPA fuel economy is rated at 21 city mpg and 28 highway mpg. If you choose the Club with the six-speed automatic transmission fuel economy ratings are the same, 21 city/28 highway.

A shock tower brace is on manual transmission Club models. And the now-standard Suspension Package (MT only) includes a sport-tuned suspension, Bilstein shocks and a limited slip differential.

Now here’s some equipment that my Triumph didn’t have 46 years ago. All models of the 2013 MX-5 Miata include advanced safety features such as dual front airbags with a passenger deactivation switch, side impact airbags, side impact door beams, three-point safety belts with pretensioners and force limiters, an Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) with Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD), Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), a Traction Control System (TCS) and a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS).

The Club trim has four exterior color choices, namely white, black, red and silver.

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My travels in the MX-5 included a highway run up the New Jersey Turnpike (I-95) from Philadelphia to Trenton. It was a top up day, not to mention that with the top down the noise in any convertible at higher highway speeds is harmful to your ears. The Club does well on the highway with brisk on-ramp acceleration, easy merging, and good all around visibility. The most fun and the most smiles with the MX-5 was in the rolling hills and winding country/suburban roads around northwest Philly. Let’s say, it was probably good that I had traffic in front of me on many occasions, otherwise I would have been using the handling prowess of the MX-5 to much of its maximum (or, mine).

If you want to compare the Miata to all other two-seaters sold in North America (of a very wide price range) you can do that right HERE on For more detailed information and specs on the Miata MX-5 Club as well as the Sport and Grand Touring models see links to the 2013 10 Mazda MX-5 Miata Trim Levels below, or visit

So go find those back country roads and have a happy road trip!

© Larry Nutson