2014 Mazda MX-5 Miata Club Review

Discussion in 'Mazda' started by xcel, Aug 6, 2014.

  1. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi All:

    Out and about shooting today's ride with the Canon and the smartphone. As you can tell by the pics and description below, it is a bit unusual for CleanMPG but noteworthy nonetheless.

    When I say noteworthy, it is a no holds barred "Best-Selling Two-Seat Roadster in the world" with an almost 50:50 weight distribution providing sports car like stick sans a big hp engine. Meaning it is a really fun to drive small car with a top down experience you cannot get from much else this side of the 1960s!

    2014 Mazda MX-5 Miata Club


    The last time I was in a Miata was quite literally decade(s) ago. It just never was in my wheelhouse. Marian's, yes, mine, no. That said, I have always liked its small car look and feel and its extremely lightweight chassis.

    The 2014 Mazda MX-5 Miata Mazda allowed us to drive is the Club version with a 167 hp and 140 lb-ft. of torque 2.0L I4 mated to a very short throw close ratio 6-speed stick. When I say close ratio, I mean 6 shifts by the time you hit 30 if you want to save fuel. A bit notchy yet Mazda precise. At least in the 3-miles I have driven it so far?


    It also has a unique lower pitched rumble at just above idle to about 2k. Have not been over that driving around locally yet. Not for the open air faint of heart but it certainly is unique when rowing the handshaker.

    The press kit said 2,600 pounds but it feels way lighter than this.

    This 21/28 mpgUS city/highway rated 2014 Mazda Miata Club arrived with the Power Retractable Hard Top (PRHT) that takes just 12 seconds from release to stowed. Pretty cool although you do have to push a release button and pull the release catch lever before hitting the top down button.


    It lists at $28,665 + $795 D&H. and there are no other options. It feels sparse given the price yet perfect for its intention.

    Std. with the Club trim includes a shock tower brace, black 17" alloys with summer Bridgestone Potenza RE50s, an aluminum hood, discs all around, an honest to goodness "double wishbone" up front and multi-link out back, real glass rear window in the power retractable hard top, fogs, CC, A/C, PW w/ driver's one-touch-down, fob key - going the way of the Dodo soon - Steering-wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls, and red accent stitching in the black cloth seats.

    No NAVI, no side curtain or knee airbags, no proximity key, no power seat with heat and cooling functions, and the best part, no room for more than 2. Just like it is supposed to be.


    Early impressions? It is not a daily driver yet as a weekend go have fun car, this thing is FUN!!! No telescopic wheel and it is confining. aFCD only updates about once per minute and the sun visors are cheap plastic POS. No USB port that I can find but it does have an Aux jack. Anyone use those anymore? A 12 V port is std. as well. No BT? Wheel thickness harkens back to the 70s and road feel is almost to good.

    There are a few cars that everyone should drive at least once in their lives and they include the Vette, a Porsche 911, a Jaguar XK, and low and behold, "this Miata."

    Not sure about the FE part just yet but we'll figure something out soon enough with a 47 mpg first local city drive. And it does not roll worth a damn. Look at the pressure placard and tire make as to the reason why?

    2014 Mazda Miata MX-5. Meet the Club.

    Pups first ride in a drop top!​

    Small 5.8 cu. ft. trunk yet was still able to hold more than a few fully loaded backpacks if necessary.


    Maybe not a trip to Costco or Sam's Club but a few days worth of standard groceries fit fine in the Miata.


  2. brick

    brick Answers to "that guy."

    Re: the notchy shifter, I've been reading on some of the Mazda forums that their newer boxes like to be shifted with a certain level of "authority." Braun supposedly gets a smoother shift than finesse. It doesn't make a lot of sense to me but it could be worth a shot. (They aren't your synchros.)
  3. EdwinTheMagnificent

    EdwinTheMagnificent Legend In His Mind

    Or maybe the shifter needs to be broken in. This could take a few miles.

    That makes me recall my Civic Si , when I had it in for service at about 175K miles ( snow + curb incident). When the mechanic and I took it out for a drive , he said to me " wow, this thing is tight." I said, "Yeah , should it be all loose and sloppy ?"

    Shift it nice , and it will reward you. In other words , FEEL the sychros, don't rush them.
  4. jcp123

    jcp123 Caliente!

    For some reason I prefer a notchy shifter. Maybe it's having learned stick on a '66 Mustang? Probably why short throws also always take me by surprise.

    Anyhow, I have always heard the Miata to be one of the most fun cars ever made. Balanced as a good sports car should be, it doesn't need pure brawn. In fact, IMHO, much more power might upset that balance.

    If you're able to knock down 47mpg, that's way beyond what I thought it'd be capable of. But truth be told, I think you should get your tests "over with" and indulge...even just a little bit.
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2014
  5. RoadWarrior222

    RoadWarrior222 rockit serjun

    Ugh, you can be in 6th gear at 30? ... that's a waste of 3 gears.... I'd get lazy and drive it in 2nd and 6th.

    Notchy makes me want to double clutch.... thing I found with notchy back in the day though, was that it tends to make you use force, and then the rod shifter end links start popping apart and/or needing replacement.
  6. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Brick:

    I would prefer the shifting action of 5-speed MT in a Civic over the Miata's, 2s, and 3s. It is precise but just not as smooth as the Civics.

    Roadwarrior, most MTs are this way nowadays. :(

  7. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi All:

    Topped off the Miata at a Shell on US-20 and I-94 in Racine for a little calibration drive last night.

    Heading north and then back to IL and back again for the final. Not sure what to expect from the 21/28 mpg but it should be interesting as I have not driven a 28 mpgUS highway rated press car in probably a decade?

    2014 Mazda MX-5 Miata Review

    Initial top off at a Shell on Hwy 20 and I94 in Sturtavent, WI.

    Fuel door release between the seats in a plastic center storage box.​

    The fuel filler door release is a cheap plastic finger loop hidden behind the center console storage area. Lot of contortion to open up a fuel door imho and I can see Miata owners complaining about that for the last 24 + years if that is where it has always been?

    A screwy RT drive loop as the Highway 20 and I-94 Ramps were closed. From the Shell station to Hwy K via frontage road to the first I-94 on-ramp. To Mitchell Field and a loop through the departure terminal. Back to US-41 and Stearns School road in IL. Then back to Hwy 11 and the frontage road to end up back at the Shell on Highway-20.

    The drive route was 81.6 actual miles - took .2 off since Google Maps did not allow a U-Turn on Hwy 41 in Wadsworth, IL.

    Final top off at the same Shell on Hwy 20 and I94 in Sturtavent, WI.​

    Trip A/B displays 75.7 miles while the aFCD displayed 48.5 mpg. I refuled with 1.675 gal of Shell V-Power - $0.03 off with my Shell rewards card – for the top off to top off drive. With the 81.6 miles actual distance driven, the result was 48.7 mpg. Almost dead on so the aFCD = actual - your traveled miles will indicate short of actual - and way to go Mazda!

    More Impressions

    There is little pull out of the 2.0L below 2,200 and that is unfortunately where I like to live. It is also one of the reasons this lightweight cars city/highway FE rating is so low. For the test cycle engineers, they are laying into it to keep the trace in spec.

    Miatas are surely meant to rev, not be toyed with by the likes of me.

    My lower right thigh is beginning to ache due to the stiff low cushion bolsters. Again its purpose comes to mind.

    Still think we will see 30 mpg at 70 mph during the steady state tests.

  8. priusCpilot

    priusCpilot George

    Such fun drivers cars like these making living worth it.
  9. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi George:

    I am growing a bit tired of the Miata.

    The first two hours had my emotions spewing irrational exuberance.

    The next two hours had me thinking that this is a really fun car to drive.

    The next two hours after that is it handles well but it sure is noisy.

    By hour 8, my legs are starting to hurt and falling into and climbing out is getting real old. And about the fuel door release and sun visors???

    By hour 10 I am thinking yes it does a lot of things a sports car should for a moderate sports car price but it is missing so much and the highway drone is getting to me. I have a mild sunburn on my face and head which certainly is not helping matters. I would rather drive just about anything else.

    How in the hell did the Miata grab so many awards? It is downright painful to the senses and the FE for what I deem to be average straight line performance is abysmal. Its saving grace is its handling but one 10 rating in 10 categories does not make a car a Top Pick.

    A weekend fun car for a few hours sure. An everyday daily driver? I’d rather drive a fuel efficient anything including a Mitsubishi Mirage. ;)

    She is currently sitting at 42.x something in the drive with a local grocery store visit, fast food stops, + some city and US highway driving back home this afternoon. Still have the steady states to complete and considering taking it up to Milwaukee for the Milwaukee County Fair tomorrow. Would rather take the stripped and far more comfortable RAM 1500 but I have a completely topped off tank and need a few more impressions before I can wrap it up.

    Last edited: Aug 8, 2014
  10. jcp123

    jcp123 Caliente!

    In the Miata's defense...I don't think it was ever spec'd out for an 8hr drive?
  11. priusCpilot

    priusCpilot George

    How would 10hrs of sex feel?

    How would 10hrs of mountain climbing?

    10hrs of work?

    10hrs at the gym?

    Short and sweet with moderation is the key.

    Take it out on the weekend and do canyon runs with it because it's a drivers car.

    Want more comfy but still a superb drivers car then get a RX-8 or RX-7 like me.
  12. RoadWarrior222

    RoadWarrior222 rockit serjun

  13. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi James and George:

    I am not talking about 8 to 10-hours in a row; I am talking by the 8th or 10th hour! It was the 4 to 5-hours of driving on Monday afternoon, evening, and night for the calibration drive that cemented my impressions.

    Overall my definition of a daily driver has been expanded thanks to the Mazda MX-5 Miata but not in a way to consider this vehicle for my drive.

    To little FE and to little comfort despite all of its "on Rails" point and shoot canyon carving goodness. It also looks really good with the KODO like 5-point grille opening sans chrome surround, and classic sports car stance as well. Both of which are 12's on a 10-scale imho. ;)

    Weekend toy but daily driver for very few as there are too many compromises. Getting into and getting out of are but two of those hurdles. The top up B-Pillar creates one of the largest blind spots I have ever experienced as well.

  14. RedylC94

    RedylC94 Well-Known Member

    For most of us, a Mazda3 might provide adequate "canyon carving goodness," along with vastly superior practicality.
  15. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi All:

    Took the Miata to the Wisc. State Fair in Milwaukee with my mom last night. Used A/C out and about 25 percent making our way back.

    2014 Mazda MX-5 Miata Review

    38.9 mpg out and 39.7 mpg cumulative back.​

    While there we were privileged to watch a world record 17 6-horse hitch teams entering the arena!!!





    A state fair would not be a fair without cows and there are over 300 here today. There were over 1,000 here last week for the junior competition.


    Rumor has it the local Lions Club makes over $100k during the 10-days of the fair. Great non GMO locally harvested buttered corn on the cob for good causes. Well worth it!

    My mom sent me a link revealing what the Berlin Lions Club Corn Roast earnings support.

    Organizations benefit from New Berlin Lions' share

    Club's State Fair corn roast makes a difference for many

    They support the New Berlin Library along with the following:

    Along with 10 to 20 Live bands going on at any one time, the Budweiser Main Stage was rockin with maybe 2,000 people on hand. The Amphitheater has Herman's Hermits playing now.

    Want a laugh? Vanilla Ice is headlining the Amphitheater main stage tonight. ;)

    An evening and night with the 2014 Miata…

    Tonight I will knock out the steady states.

  16. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi All:

    So am glad this is done.

    The Mazda MX-5 Miata Club’s Speed vs. FE appears pretty good for its very low 28 mpgUS highway rating.


    With its 28 mpg crossover occurring at around 75.5 mph (calculated linearly), it should be rated more along the lines of a 30 or 31 mpg highway imho.

    RPM@60 mph was still a very high 2,710 RPM but close to the calculated 2,678 RPM@60 mph (circumference, not revs/mile).

  17. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi All:

    While we are driving the third gen Miata, the fourth gen is literally a month away.

    Kind of weird to see all of these 2014 Miata’s just appear in Press Fleets across the country only weeks before the next generations release but it kind of makes sense form a marketing standpoint. Create some buzz for the current third gen and then bring in the wow all-new fourth gen.

    At the NYIAS this past April, Mazda announced the next-generation MX-5 Miata roadster. Like the CX-5, 6, and 3, the new Miata will incorporate a SKYACTIV-CHASSIS that is even lighter and stronger yet smaller. That last part could be problematic?

    With the fourth-generation MX-5, it will be the first time SKYACTIV has ever been used in the company’s front engine RWD design.

    The engine is closer to the vehicle’s center, it will have an even lower center of gravity and has lost more than 200 pounds of mass!

    Mazda stated engineers have painstakingly researched the optimum driver position for behind-the-wheel excitement and comfort as further proof that a driving experience intertwined with a history of courage, creativity and conviction is the Mazda way. I would have to differ with this. They may have focused on the best driver position and comfort for the platform at hand but it is by no means going to be a comfortable car imho.

  18. RoadWarrior222

    RoadWarrior222 rockit serjun

    IMO, all the work on the position will be a fail if they have not taken as much care with visibility FROM that position.

    IF you have to hunch forward over the wheel to clear the A pillar blindspots you're gonna be hunched over the wheel most of the time in the city, if you have to lean forward off the seatback to clear your B pillar and rear quarter blindspots, you're going to be getting a crick in your neck/shoulders from that.
  19. EdwinTheMagnificent

    EdwinTheMagnificent Legend In His Mind

    NONE of them gives a hoot about visibility. But after a few weeks , I learned to see " around" my ginormous A-pillars.
  20. RoadWarrior222

    RoadWarrior222 rockit serjun

    Yah last 2 gens of civics I've regarded as abominable for visibility. Though A pillars in general have been getting fatter. These days I figure you have to put up with some girth in them, but there's several things that make things worse in some cars...

    i) can't look to the left of them without beaning your head off the side window (side window curves in too much or you're too close to it already or something.)

    ii) can't lean forward to see to the right of them without beaning your head off the top of the windshield (tall guy problems)

    iii) excessive curvature of the windshield near the edges, yah, what's really in that last 3 inches of funhouse mirror? The wipers aren't likely to touch it either, so it's probably dusty/smeary or covered in raindrops to boot.

    iv) excessive seal width or printed banding around the windshield. You can lose a valuable inch or so of clear glass this way too.

    Also, how close you are to them makes a difference, the nearer you are, the larger angle they obscure. The new Versa Note has a bit of a "cab forward" glasshouse, so you're far enough back for a brief lean side to side to clear them. (And you can lean forward without hitting your head on screen for moments when you need full wide angle view, like pulling out with bad visibility, pedestrians hovering on sidewalk at intersection etc etc)

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