Our long-term test continues
Spending a snow-ridden week with this rear-drive convertible put a seemingly permanent smile on my face.
Over the past few years, I’ve driven nearly every iteration of Mazda MX-5 they have sold. In fact, I have recently acquired a 1990 MX-5 with just over 30,000 miles on it as a project. It needs a few things here and there, but it’s an all-original car that has never seen a winter.
During the week that I ‘took delivery’ of the classic icon that is the 1990 MX-5, I decided to take over our long-term tester, the 2014 MX-5 GT. Spending a snow-ridden week with this rear-drive convertible put a seemingly permanent smile on my face. There’s no doubting that this is one of the most well-balanced, easiest to drive sports cars out there. I took it out on a particularly snowy night and confirmed the fact that I would prefer a rear-drive car over a front-drive car in the white stuff any day of the week, provided it’s equipped with a proper set of winter tires. The Michelin Primacy Alpins work wonderfully.
I also decided to talk about a few things that the average MX-5 Miata review may forget to mention:
- The Bose premium stereo in this top-trim GT model is surprisingly good. Bass, treble, and mid-range notes are all clearly noticeable.
- Perfect pedal placement on this 6-speed manual makes heel-and-toe downshifting a cinch.
- No matter how spiritedly this MX-5 is driven, it still does no worse than 8.7L/100km.
- When pushing the car on a snowed-over closed course, I observed that maintaining control is very simplistic, even with traction/stability control systems turned off.
- Even with only 167-horsepower, the gearing helps the MX-5 pull nicely in sixth gear at highway speeds.
- The limited-slip differential coupled to the Michelin winter tires pushes the smiles-per-dollar ratio off the charts.
- In order to operate the power-retractable hardtop (PRHT), the vehicle must be in neutral with the emergency brake engaged. Unlike other convertibles which allow you to retract the top at low speeds, the MX-5 must be completely stopped.
- Due to the compression of the engine, premium fuel is recommended (read: required!).
- Our tester, which is a top-level GT, lacks automatic headlights. It’s almost forgivable given it has projector xenon high-intensity discharge lights and front fog lamps.
- Despite this model having a hardtop rather than the convertible soft-top that the MX-5 Miata is known for, the interior is extremely noisy at highway speeds.
It may have taken a serious amount of effort to squeeze my one carry-on bag into the trunk of the MX-5 after it spent a day parked at Pearson International Airport, but I couldn’t bring myself to be angry with the little car. It’s seriously such a good car in every way imaginable. I even braved the cold and drove it with the top down a few times – my tuque was my friend!
Nearing two weeks into our long-term road test, the MX-5 GT is now past its break-in period. We took delivery of the car with ~500km on the odometer. It’s now nearing the 1,800km mark, and we have no issues to report.