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Car Review: 2013 Mazda MX-5 Miata Club

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The pure enjoyment of driving a straight-up sports car is something every driver should experience. We spent a week behind the wheel of a 2013 MX-5 Miata and enjoyed every minute of it! Since the two-seater entered the marketplace more than 20 years ago, the MX-5 has defied the convention that sports cars, particularly convertibles, were pricey, unattainable flights of fancy reserved for those with deep pockets.

EXTERIOR

Affordable, exceptional, tuned to produce driver happiness and the new for the 2013 model year is the Club trim level. Replacing the Touring trim of previous model years, the Club offers consumers the no-nonsense aggressive appeal seen in previous special edition versions but within a more affordable price realm. The 2013 MX-5 features an updated style from outside in. All trims receive a fresh new front fascia. Fog lights are now standard on Sport models, and Grand Touring vehicles receive a new 17-inch alloy wheel design. The most significant modification, however, involves the all-new Club trim that we tested, which subsequently replaces the Touring trim and is situated between the entry-level Sport and luxury-loaded Grand Touring.

With the 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. This blacked-out look really set off our true red exterior and stood out on the road. 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 like ours that are 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.

INTERIOR

The carefully crafted interior of the 2013 MX-5 Miata Club might be as sharp as the sculpted exterior. Available on Club and Grand Touring trims only, the PRHT is stored in the same manner as the soft top, again not affecting storage space. Designed to perform in any climate, PRHT models outsell soft-top models by a 4:1 ratio worldwide. 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 highly efficient 12 seconds – faster than the never-convenient red-light-green-light pause. Our test model was equipped with tilt leather steering wheel, rear center console with storage, remote keyless entry system, leather shift knob, trip computer and smartly centered dashboard.

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PERFORMANCE

As tested with its edgy characteristics, the standard manual transmission adds another gear stroke to six as well as a shock tower brace. The now-standard Suspension Package (MT only) includes a sport-tuned suspension, Bilstein shocks and a limited slip differential. When fully-equipped and topped with a PRHT, the MX-5 still weighs a corner-hugging, road-tossing 2,619 lbs. The continued weight savings can be found in the form of aluminum – in the hood, trunk lid, foot control arms, rear uprights and rear calipers. The MX-5’s unibody makes widespread use of high-strength and ultra-high-strength tensile steel, which increases body strength while decreasing weight.

The sturdy MZR 2.0-liter engine has an aluminum block and head, the exhaust manifold is crafted from lightweight tubular steel (instead of cast iron) and the intake manifold and cam cover are constructed from lightweight composite plastic. Combined with its track-proven suspension and responsive power, the rear-wheel-drive roadster is a lightweight only in pounds and not street prowess. Fuel economy is also a plus coming in at 21 mpg in the city and 28 mpg in highway driving for a combined 24 mpg. The handling of the 2013 MX-5 Miata Club is truly exceptional, while the beefed up suspension absorbs the road well while eating up tight corners!

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 pre tensioners 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).

OVERVIEW

Overall, the 2013 MX-5 Miata Club continues to personify a perfected balance, inside and out. From its long, lean body (which features a supplely rounded yet edgy tone), to its snug yet comfortable interior (which focuses on the seat behind the wheel), everything is geared toward the joy of driving. And although a convertible, not all top-down breezes are created equal. It’s pretty impressive that the folks at Mazda can put out a product like this for a price of $29,260 as tested. This car is pure fun with the top up or down, as swagger comes in all sizes!

  

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