2013 Mazda MX-5 Miata Club Edition New Car Reviews

Mazda's controversial styling is now substantially subdued, and the Miata's looks are heading toward their Kodo "Soul of Motion" design language. Note the small club badge on the front fender to denote this Club Edition.
Inside, it's the same as it ever was: Round vents, simple controls. No gadgetry, no fuss.

Better than: all the British roadsters ever made.
But not as good as: a magic carpet ride, perhaps.
GRM Bang For The Buck Index: 95.05  

You know what this car is all about: It's the MX-5 we all know and love. This one, though, is the club edition. Club racer? No. There's a badge on the fender in the shape of a club. Not the caveman kind, but the kind you see on a playing card. What this basically means is a bit of cool trim, a body-colored dash, and sport suspension with Bilstein shocks.

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Other staff views:

Joe Gearin Associate Publisher:

Over the last 20 years automobiles have become absurdly complex. With touch-screen interfaces, bluetooth connectivity, and nearly every car sporting a rear-view camera, it's gotten a little out of hand. Fortunately we still have the MX-5 Miata which delivers visceral driving enjoyment, rather than the sterile video-game like experience that is so common.

This new MX-5 feels nimble, enthusiastic, and all controls fall immediately to hand. Mark Twain once said "History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme." This holds true with this new MX-5 as it delivers a very similar driving experience to the original Miata. The steering is wonderfully communicative, the shifter is the best in the world, and unlike many modern cars, in the MX-5 you won't have to digest a 500 page manual to figure out the radio, or HVAC controls. You get in and DRIVE!

The virtues of the MX-5 have been widely sung by GRM and pretty much every other publication on the planet—for good reason. This new car holds true to the minimalistic formula, providing a great driving experience and not much else.

Unfortunately as our beloved Mazda has aged, its price has inflated. Although I loved my time in this new MX-5, its nearly $28K price tag made me cringe. With the excellent reputation for reliability that these cars have—a price that high makes a great case for a used MX-5. This car is great, but it has been great for a long time now. I just don't see the logic in buying a new one for nearly $30K when extremely clean, low mileage examples can be had for half that much.

Alan Cesar Dork:

This car is a joy. It's a revelation. After a year of driving bloated street-utes and heavy muscle cars in the press fleet, finally, something that's eager to be chucked around! This car does everything you could want or expect out of a driving machine. But, more to the point, the hot boy-racer car these days is the Scion FR-S (and Subaru BRZ). Which one's better?

The Miata. The driving position gives better visibility. It makes you part of the car rather than burying you inside it. The engine, unlike that Scibaru's boxer mill, revs eagerly and sounds great doing it. Everything's in its right place.

I make it a point to be a cynic. I try to find problems. I pick nits. But I can't find fault with this car, except the obvious that it's an impractical two-seater—but the Miata's always been that. It's just so easy to control, satisfying to drive fast, and is uncluttered, unfettered, and—decals aside—unflashy. It's been a very long time since a car put so big a smile on my face for so long. I'm trying to justify to myself how I can buy one. Selling my '91 Miata is almost certainly a part of that plan, and I don't lament that for a second.

The keys are on my desk right now, and it's been a long day at work. I think I'll go for a drive.

David S. Wallens Editorial Director:

You know, I think a lot of us were hard on this car when it came out--too soft, too big, too plush. Know what? It has aged well. I put some serious miles on it over the weekend, and today I don't think there's a better sports car value.

I'm giving five stars across the board.

Tom Suddard Associate Editor:

I had forgotten how pure and fun a Miata is. The new Club edition has all the right options. The limited slip differential works great. The car is so easy to drive and toss around, with just a touch of controllable oversteer. The top is tight and relatively quiet, even at 80 mph. It is by far the easiest manual convertible top I have ever dealt with. One hand puts it up or down from the drivers seat and it easily clicks into place in the open position and stores perfectly. Even at $27,000 for this edition, the Miata is still the perfect sports car.


Comments

Nov 28, 2012 9:07 p.m.
belteshazzar

Do it!

Nov 28, 2012 9:24 p.m.
rwdsport

Better than the FRS?!

Nov 29, 2012 6:01 a.m.
ZOO

Why not a full five stars? Price?

Nov 29, 2012 9:23 a.m.
Autolex

Man; those 204 series tires are the hotness!

Nov 29, 2012 9:52 a.m.
Keith Tanner

Joe - where did the prices come from? You list the price as $26,700 in the spec sheet, but then you complain about "nearly $28k" which turns into "nearly $30k". That's more than 12% inflation over the course of a few sentences.

The original Miata cost $12,800 in 1989. Steel wheels, plastic rear window, manual steering, 116 hp and a tape deck with two speakers. Mazda lists the base price for 2012 as $23,720. Alloy wheels, glass window with defrost, 6-speaker CD player, 167 hp.

Guess how much $12,800 in 1989 dollars comes to in 2012? $23,877. Has the price REALLY inflated?

Nov 29, 2012 10:27 a.m.
Keith Tanner

Correction, the 1989 MSRP was $13,800. That's $25,743.34 today. So the Miata is less expensive than it was at introduction! Never mind the fact that you'd probably pay at least 10% over sticker back in the summer of '89.

The popular "A package" Miata (alloys, PS) that made up more than half of all 1990 model Miatas had an MSRP of $14,945. Today? That would be $27,879.29.

The new car's looking less expensive all the time. Yes, there are older ones available for less - but you could have bought an old MGB or an Alfa Spider instead of a Miata back in 1989 as well, so that hasn't changed.

Dec 3, 2012 10:26 a.m.
Joe Gearin

Keith,

I understand that you have forgotten more about Miatas than I'll ever know.

That said, your analogy of the MGB, or Alfa doesn't hold water because they can't hold a candle to the MX-5's reliability record---- this is what makes a used MX-5 so appealing. Forgive me if I'm incorrect, but the car has received very minimal changes over the past 5 years or so....so why buy a $27K car when a $15K example will provide the same experience along with a reasonable expectation of great long-term reliability?

A base MX-5 is a great deal. This "Club" model is less so. I just don't see $4K worth of added goodness.

Dec 3, 2012 11 a.m.
Keith Tanner

There were some worthwhile changes in 2009, but nothing earth-shaking.

That last is a perfectly reasonable comment - just what does the Club bring to the table when compared to the base? Looks like it gets the 6-speed, 17" wheels, Sport suspension, LSD and some gadgets. And the Club is the least expensive way to get those. Going back in Miata history, it's a bit like the old R package.

So the question is - does that make it a better car than the base model? Is the Sport suspension worth the extra dosh (I don't think so)? Does the 6-speed make the car feel better, and is the LSD worthwhile? These are good questions for GRM readers, actually.

Dec 3, 2012 12:19 p.m.
Joe Gearin

Agreed!

Unless I was running in a stock autocross class, I'd rather build the car to suit my tastes and needs--- using aftermarket firms like Flyin Miata.

I sure couldn't blame anyone for buying this car, but for my needs a used one, or a base model would be more attractive.

Dec 3, 2012 2:33 p.m.
pinchvalve

I liked the club emblem on the front fender when Alfa did it and called it the Quadrifoglio. How about an original idea Mazda? Like a kanji symbol?

Aug 9, 2013 9:28 p.m.
chitownwrx

I am considering selling my 07 WRX AND my 97 track Miata for one of these. The cosmetic changes give it a heck of a lot of curb appeal. It might even do well in snow with the proper tires (and PRHT).

May 5, 2014 1:39 p.m.
Whiteout

The PRHT is wonderful. I haven't tried snow tires, but the car sure doesn't like to move in snow without them even with the traction control turned off. My NA was better.

Depending on your height, the door panel redesign in 2009 was significant. I'm 5'10" and the original NC door cup holder dug into the side of my knee so that it hurt with-in minutes. It would be nice if they had added an off switch for the power window switches. The heel of my hand finds them to often, but I'm nitpicking.

It's a great car.

2013 Mazda MX-5 Miata Club Edition Specs:

Drivetrain Layout:
Front-engine, rear-wheel-drive
Engine:
2.0 liter Inline-4
Horsepower:
167 bhp
Torque:
140 lb.-ft
Transmission:
manual
Suspension:
double-wishbone front, multi-link rear
Wheels:
17-inch
Tires:
204/45R17
Brakes:
disc (front)
disc (rear)
Weight:
2447 pounds
Price:
Base: $26705
MPG:
EPA City: 21
EPA Highway: 28
Observed: 28.7

Staff Ratings:

Stock Performance:
Performance Potential:
Daily Driver Manners:
Fit and Finish:
Overall:

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