2014 Mazda MX-5 Miata

This isn't the first time that the third-generation Mazda Miata has passed through the Car Tech garage, but it will be the last.

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Hard top down

Our example is equipped with Mazda's Power Retractable Hard Top or PRHT.

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Two seater

The MX-5 treats just two people at a time to open air motoring.

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Photo by: Antuan Goodwin/CNET / Caption by:

Power Retractable Hard Top

At highway speeds, when parked, or in the rain, the PRHT encloses the cabin in seconds.

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Security and protection

I prefer the simplicity of the manual ragtop, but the PRHT provides better security and protection from the elements.

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Gone in 12 seconds

The top retracts or deploys in just 12 seconds at the touch of a button.

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Top tucked away

The Z-fold roof stores beneath its own integrated tonneau cover.

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Fun-loving face

The fun-loving MX-5 hasn't changed much since the last major revision in 2008.

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2.0-liter engine

The engine is a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder gasoline deal that outputs 167 horsepower and 140 pound-feet of torque.

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Six-speed manual

In this Grand Touring model, the engine is mated to a six-speed manual transmission.

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Rear-wheel driven

Of course, the MX-5 is rear-wheel driven, as befits a proper sports car.

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Simple and spartan

The cabin is simple, featuring only the bare necessities for motoring.

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Optional leather seats

The seats are supportive, but not uncomfortable during long trips.

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Basic tech

Our model is equipped with a seven-speaker Bose audio system, but only the most basic of audio sources. USB and Bluetooth audio are still missing.

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The dashboard

The instrumentation sticks with the MX-5's simple aesthetic and the wheel fits nicely in the hand.

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Heated buns

This fully loaded model features warmers for its leather seats -- a nice treat on a cold morning.

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Tossable and parkable

In addition to being fun to drive, the MX-5 is easy to park.

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Rear visibility

Rear visibility isn't bad when the top is up thanks to a generous rear glass window.

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Storage space

The trunk is modest, but there's room for at least two carry-on sized bags. The PRHT does not intrude into the trunk space when retracted.

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Power locks, keyless start

Keyless entry and start are added as part of the $1,390 Premium package.

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HID headlamps

Also part of that Premium package are Xenon HID headlamps.

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Bilstein suspension

This example also features an optional Bilstein sport suspension with a rear limited slip differential.

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Not for the power-hungry

The MX-5 is no powerhouse, but it's one of the best driving experiences on the road today.

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Corner carver

Going quickly with just 140 pound-feet on tap becomes and exercise in retaining speed through apexes. Fortunately, cornering is what the MX-5 does best.

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Casual cruiser

However, the MX-5 is also very approachable. It's handling has a soft edge and ease to it that won't scare away more casual motorists.

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Our favorite roadster

This is a car that's as much fun to drive at the speed limit on the road as it is when pushing its handling limits at the track.

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Long live the Roadster

Due for replacement in early September, we'll miss the third-generation Mazda MX-5 Miata, but are eagerly awaiting the 2016 model's improvements.

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