$12,692 - $16,186

2013 Mazda MX-5 Miata Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2013 Mazda MX-5 Miata was new.


Performance: 9.0

The 2013 Mazda MX-5 Miata proves that sports car performance isn’t just about straight-line acceleration, according to critics. Although some competitors are quicker, test drivers rave about the Miata’s engaging driving dynamics, nimble handling and responsive powertrain.

  • "Though it's getting a bit long in the tooth, the Mazda MX-5 Miata is still great fun to drive and reasonably fuel efficient." -- Consumer Guide  
  • "From the lovely quick-shifting manual transmission to the near-instantaneous steering turn-in response, the Miata is a true enthusiast driver's dream." -- Kelley Blue Book 
  • "Yet around town, the Miata is an absolute pleasure. We folded that top back and let the sun shine in as we flicked the Miata's delicate shifter and zoomed its svelte sheet metal through traffic." -- Popular Mechanics (2012)
  • "Racers love the MX-5's balanced, endlessly forgiving chassis; little old ladies dig its spunky charm and Maytag reliability." -- Car and Driver (2012) 

Acceleration and Power

The 2013 Mazda MX-5 Miata comes with a five-speed manual transmission and a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 167 horsepower at 7,000 rpm and 140 pound-feet of torque at 5,000 rpm. Club and Grand Touring models get a six-speed manual transmission. A six-speed automatic with steering wheel-mounted manual shift paddles is available on all trims. Automatic models are slightly less powerful, generating 158 horsepower at 6,700 rpm. The EPA reports that the 2013 Miata gets up to 22/28 mpg city/highway, which is better than the fuel economy of rivals like the Ford Mustang, but not quite as good as the fuel economy of the Mini Cooper Roadster. 

Though the 2013 Mazda MX-5 Miata won’t overwhelm drivers with power, reviewers say that its engine is smooth and responsive. One test driver says that the Miata is nearly as quick as the more powerful Subaru BRZ, while others appreciate the manual transmission’s short throws. One reviewer writes that the manual transmission can feel notchy at times, but also praises the automatic transmission for its quick, precise shifts.

  • "We like the manual transmission's short throws but not its frequently notchy shift action. The automatic shifts crisply." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "There is no supercharger or turbo to boost output, no V6 crammed under the hood to throw off the 50/50 weight balance, just a marvelously rev-happy 2.0-liter engine that responds without complaint and sips fuel to the tune of 28 mpg." -- Kelley Blue Book 
  • "The Miata is down on power compared with the Subaru, but it's only slightly slower, hitting 60 mph in just over 7 seconds. And its motor makes sweeter music than the coarse notes that come from the BRZ's flat four." -- Popular Mechanics (2012)
  • "It's not a rocket, no. But it's quick, which is different than fast. It scoots from light to light with the best of 'em, and the gearbox is a pleasure--short and precise throws." -- AutoWeek (2011)

Handling and Braking

Test drivers are impressed with the MX-5's superb handling, which is both sporty and comfortable. In addition to its exceptional handling characteristics, auto writers also praise the Miata for its responsive steering and excellent brake pedal feel.

  • "MX-5's steering is quick and precise. The car easily conquers corners and exhibits little lean." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "The Miata's all-independent suspension and almost 50/50 front-to-rear weight distribution contribute to the terrific level of handling, as well as the compliant ride." -- Kelley Blue Book 
  • "The Miata has a soft suspension that sucks up the worst potholes and roughest road surfaces. The BRZ is firm. It may be too firm, in fact-maybe not for true sports car nuts, but if our commute included lots of potholes and frost heaves, we'd probably grab the keys to the Miata." -- Popular Mechanics (2012)
  • "Rear-wheel drive is standard, along with brake feel that won't quit and blissfully alive steering." -- Car and Driver (2012) 

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