Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Last Year Of The NC Mazda Miata Is Still Fantastic, Even In The Cold

2015 Mazda MX-5 Miata in cold Portland, Oregon

It’s November, 2014 and we’re receiving record cold in Oregon. Temperatures are in the 20s for highs with ice and frost. This is not the best time to have a Miata for review. However, it is the Miata with the power retracting hard top (PRHT), but it’s still a rear-drive sports car on summer tires. Frankly, it was the first time I’d worn a down jacket, knit cap, and gloves in a Miata. But you know what? That’s OK.

Miata Heated Seats
The Miata with the PRHT is one of the best convertibles for winter. That power top really makes the car feel like a coupe when the top is up. Unlike some convertibles, it doesn’t feel like you’re driving a tent down the highway due to a thin canvas top. That’s right, Teal Terror, I’m talking about you. You know what else makes this a good winter convertible? Heated freaking seats. Yes, our 2015 Mazda MX-5 Miata in Grand Touring trim even has heated seats. This could be the Winter Edition MX-5 Miata for all I'm concerned.

To be completely honest, no matter what season it is, anytime that I get to be in a Miata I’m pretty happy. It’s one of the few honest-to-goodness and affordable sports cars still out there. It’s got rear-wheel drive, a stupendously good shifter, it’s a great nimble size, and it’s a downright hoot to pilot. If you don’t enjoy driving a Miata it has to be one of two reasons: 1) You don’t fit into it or 2) you’re not a human. Those are the only reasons.

It’s all just right and it’s been right for years. You feel connected, you feel engaged. You become one with this little roadster and don’t want to part ways. Most Miata owners actually shed single tears when the engine turns off. Did you know that? And this, the 2015 model, is the last of the current body style. The car is being redesigned for 2016, and having seen it in person, the car will be a looker. Man, I hate having to give these cars back. Anyone have a tissue? I think I’m welling up.

2015 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring PRHT

All emotions aside, we were planning on taking our little tester Miata to Victoria on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. However, this part of the Pacific Northwest was also experiencing much colder-than-normal weather, and they were supposed to get measurable snowfall. And since this MX-5 was on summer rubber, we opted to take our 4WD instead. We did think about the luggage situation, too. No, we weren’t going on a two-week holiday, but we were going to be up there for four days. I test-fit our bags to make sure they’d fit. One thing about the hard top is that it eats into what precious amount of little trunk space the Miata has. But as people who are accustom to living small, we could’ve done it. Yes, it would’ve been tight. If the Miata has one downfall, it would be its lack of cargo carrying ability. But guess what? This is a damn sports car not a van. OK, I’m over it.

I could go into prose about the amazing handling, the world-class six-speed shifter, the freely revving 167 hp engine, and the simple operation of the PRHT. I could go into the great ergonomics, the simple and effective gauge cluster, and the classic looks. However, we’ve covered these points a number of times, and they're all nearly the same as the last Miata we drove. What I can tell you is in its last year, the 2015 MX-5 Miata with the PRHT is still a gem. It’s a car that everyone should have the opportunity to drive at length, even if it’s in the winter. It still has the ability to put a grin on your face every time you get in, yet won’t kill the pocketbook as far as sports cars are concerned. It’s small, nimble, frugal, and a brimming with fun. It could be the perfect car. Well, unless there’s deep snow or you need to haul around more than two people. Or a kayak.

2015 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring with the PRHT

Yes, I’m gushing as I typically do when writing about the Miata. However, if there was one small car under $33,000 that’s worth gushing about, it’s this one. If you love this body style, then you’d better act within the next several months, since the one will be in dealerships before you know it. Regardless, if you get the opportunity to drive a Miata—any Miata—do it. It’s a small slice of automotive awesomeness, no matter the temperature.

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