Mazda Miata Test Drive



-HOW IT LOOKS.
I did drive a version of the Miata last year, before the “facelift”, as they say.
The new look is nice, but I still prefer the previous front end. It just looked more natural, and simpler.
The rest of the car is pretty much the same.
The Miata has always been a great looking car, and this one is no exception.


-HOW IT IS INSIDE.
The interior is pretty much the same as before.
They finally added a plug for your iPod. And you can also get a new tan interior, at least with the leather option.
But still, all surfaces are hard plastics. It’s well put together, and looks OK, but a bit of a let down.

The stereo on the Grand Touring model sounds excellent. The seats are the same, supportive and comfortable.


-HOW IT DRIVES.
-Ride
The ride is still too stiff for every day driving on bad streets. Which most of them are in L.A…
At least with the Grand Touring model and the Sport option. ( The only one Mazda had available)
I really think there is no need for such a stiff ride. I drive to work, see my friends and get stuff. Basically, like 99% of people.
I do not drive on the track.
The car is low and pretty wide for its size, so it’ll handle fine without a stiff ride.
-Steering
The steering seems to be much improved from the car I drove last year. It now feels much more secure at freeway speed. The previous one was very twitchy. It is still very firm, but the car seems more planted on the road .
-Engine
The engine has plenty of power for the car. But it is still pretty rough and noisy to me.
I guess most people don’t complain about it. I know it’s a sporty car, but the noise doesn’t sound very refined.
Most readers like to complain about how crude the Solstice was. But after driving both, I liked the GTP Turbo engine better.
None of these will win smoothness award, but I thought the Pontiac was more in tune with the car it was in.
The Miata does look like a more refined car, while the noisy engine sends another message.
-Transmission.
My car was a 6 speed manual. With no complains.
The clutch isn’t very forgiving, but OK.

-SO???
Like I said, the Miata looks more refined than it is.
The engine is noisy and not that smooth, the transmission feels like what you’d find in a sports car. Although I still see the Miata as a “sporty” car only.
Driving long distances can be really tiring. Noise with the top up is almost worse than when it’s down.
I guess the hard top option is well worth the extra money.
Plus the ride is stiff for a daily driver.
And I do usually prefer a firm ride. (The 370 is fine with me)

The thing is, with the death of the Solstice and Sky, the Miata is pretty much the only game in town if you want an affordable 2 seater convertible. (until the VW comes out)
I would recommend avoiding the sport suspension and really look into the hard top option before you buy.

Conversation 4 comments

  1. As a huge fan of just about every Mazda they make, I actually prefer the ride, interior and handling of the Saturn Sky versus the Miata. It's a shame that both the Sky and the Solstice will be going away because Mazda needs some competition. A convertible top needs to be thick and perhaps layered these days so that it can be used every day summer or winter. And the Miata with the retractable hardtop looks cheap and dopey. But the Miata's formula hasn't changed since 1989 and it's just not good enough these days.

  2. "But the Miata's formula hasn't changed since 1989 and it's just not good enough these days."

    I agree 100% that Miata is seriously in need for a total redesign. Something like a convertible RX8 perhaps?

  3. I own an '06 Miata Grand Touring, and wouldn't change much of anything. I wanted to buy a Soltice, which has bolder styling, but the hard to open/close top, and good for nothing trunk was a deal breaker. I can do a reasonable grocery store run with the Miata, and my wife and I can take a weekend trip with luggage. Lowering/raising the top is a piece of cake. The plastics are hard, but nice quality graining, and precise fit and finish. It's a sports car, and drives like a sports car. Considering the price, it's hard to beat. I have a soft top, but I have to say the hard top is ingenius. How many other retractable hard tops don't eat up ANY trunk space? (none)
    the only 2 things I'd say is that if you live in the north (we're in the chicago area) – get yourself some snow tires mounted on a spare set of rims. It's a little bit of a pain, but it makes the car as easy to drive as a typical sedan in the snow (it's no SUV of course). the other thing I'd say is that if you're a big guy (or gal), think twice. I have some tall friends who have to do a little contorting to get in. If you're under 6', and less than 250 lbs – you're fine. Don't quite understand the MX-2 – in the photos it looks MX-5 size, but I suspect smaller. Probably not much of a market here in the states. If anything we need something to slot in between the MX-5 and cars like the Boxster/Z-4/SLK etc. It's a roughly $20-30K gap. It's a shame about the Sky/Soltice. They are very nice looking. Reliability is only so-so (typical new GM cars), but if they could have worked out the niggles, and re-engineered the top/trunk – the Sky would have made a great poor mans' Corvette.

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