2013 MX-5 Miata Club Stolen My Heart>

Ever since the Mazda MX-5 Miata came to the US marketplace, it’s been a hit with everyone that wants a two-seat rear-wheel-drive sports car. Not a near sports car, a real one. That’s exactly what the MX-5 is. It’s grown up over time, gotten a bit more powerful, added a few amenities to keep up with the times but never lost track of what it is, and what it needs to be.

When Mazda offered me a 2013 MX-5 Miata Club with the Power Retractable Hard Top (PRHT) and a six-speed manual transmission to drive from Chicago to Indy for the NHRA US Nationals, biggest race of the year for the straight-line set, I jumped at the opportunity. So there she was at the airport, in True Red with a black cloth interior and black hard top. So pretty just sitting there, but the true reward of any MX-5 is getting behind the wheel and letting the car go.
So we put the 22-inch roll-aboard suitcase in the 5.3-cubic-foot trunk and stuffed the backpack into the passenger wheel well – it can fit in the trunk too but I wanted to have the camera ready for close-ups at the rest stop – and set off with Leah the hearing dog riding shotgun. I’d forgotten just how much fun this car is and how rewarding it can be for any driver. True, there’s only 167 horsepower at 7000 rpm available from the 2-liter MZR four-cylinder engine, but when you’re only hauling 2447 lbs around, it all works out just fine. There’s 140 lb-ft of torque available at 5000 rpm and redline is 7200.

With double wishbone front suspension and multilink suspension at the rear, coupled with rack and pinion power assisted steering and all-wheel disc brakes, the driving dynamics of this car are delightful. Mazda fits 205/45R 17-inch high performance tires on 10-spoke flat gray alloy rims that are quite handsome. I love the tight turning circle of just under 31 feet and the quick 2.70 turns, lock-to-lock.
While you might think this would be a jarring ride, Mazda builds plenty of compliance into the MX-5, handy when Leah ended up with a pinched nerve before we were heading home. Sure she was sedated but she took all the rides extremely well, even with this exuberant driver.

The MX-5 has a rather small 12.7-gallon fuel tank and Mazda does recommend premium fuel. The Feds rate this car at 21/28/24 mpg but I rarely saw anything under 30 during this near-600 mile trip. The fuel release is in a central vertical, hidden compartment between the two seats, while the trunk release is on the lower left dash.

I just love the PRHT, which is so simple to use: just release the clasp, press a button at the top of the center stack and the top is stowed beneath its metal tonneau in under 13 seconds. Easy to release and easy to secure – isn’t that how all of them should be? Even with the top stowed, there’s plenty of space in the trunk for the backpack and suitcase.
There are cup holders in the central tunnel area and in both doors; the base of the center stack is grippy enough to hold phones in place when you’re using the USB plug or the 12-volt. There is no phone sync on this car, nor are there automatic lights. There is height adjustment for the driver, a necessity for this shorty. The MX-5 uses a switchblade-type key, yes, a key and it does have remote entry. Power windows are one-touch down only.
When I started the drive from Chicago, I turned to my little dog and said, “This is the best four-wheeled roller skate in the world.” After all those miles, going through horrendous thunderstorms and enjoying true top-down weather too, my view is unchanged. When it comes to car love, the 2013 Mazda MX-5 Club PRHT has stolen my heart.

Written and photos by Anne Proffit