By on August 9, 2012

 

The conventions of auto writing require that we come up with at least one labored metaphor for every comparison test, so here goes: You guys remember that movie It Might Get Loud? Obviously, the Scion FR-S is Jack White: deliberately stripped-down and retro, perhaps too self-consciously context-sensitive, adored without reservation by a bunch of people who have never signed a mortgage. The Genesis 2.0t R-Spec is the Edge: a lot of sharp edges and technical brilliance intended to cover up a fundamental deficit of talent.

The Miata? Well…

 

When we meet Mr. Page in the aforementioned movie, he is being chauffeured to an ancient English home. He is a sixty-ish man in a bespoke greatcoat: quiet, reserved, old. He tells a few stories in a voice that barely registers over the road noise and looks thoughtfully out the window at the lovely countryside and whatnot. You know he wouldn’t fit into the infamous dragon suit, and you wouldn’t want to see him in it even if he could manage the trick. Sure, he used to be a rocker, but now he’s a dead ringer for your college roommate’s grandfather.

Then, somebody hands him a guitar. Oh, look, old chap, it’s that 1959 Gibson he used to carry around. Frightfully ancient now, just like the fellow wielding it. Jack White is watching him dispassionately, perhaps wondering exactly why they’ve disinterred the man and the instrument for the movie when he, Jack White, is the man of the hour, he‘s the one who soaks the panties now, he‘s the one with the hipper-than-thou record company and super-precious Nashville building chock-full of limited-press vinyl records, this guy is as dead as Elvis, just doesn’t know it yet, and it appears Mr. Page is plugging in now, and might manage to give it a strum or something OH MY GOD HE’S PLAYING WHOLE LOTTA LOVE.

At that precise moment, anything and everything associated with the movie disappears and it becomes plainly obvious to everyone that, despite their millions of record sales and undisputed merits, Jack White and the Edge aren’t fit to carry Page’s dragon jockstrap.

The same thing happens as I, fresh from ten laps each in the FR-S and Genesis, hop in the Miata, loaf down the front straight courtesy of the never-impressive normally-aspirated MZR/Duratec/whatevs, and tap the brakes briefly before bending in for Turn One. Well, this car is cramped, and it’s slow, and OH MY GOD IT ISNT EVEN CLOSE. This is a sports car. Pay attention, Toyota. Once upon a time, you guys made a sports car. You made a few of them — the star-crossed turbo second-gen MR2 and the miniature-Boxster MR Spyder — that equaled or surpassed the greatness of this particular Miata. You know how to do it.

More importantly, Mazda’s made it easy for you. The Touring-spec power-retractable-hard-top Miata is the least charming MX-5 in history. To begin with, it’s too big, it sits too high, and it has neither the Elan-through-a-copy-machine charm of the first-gen car or the sleek sports appeal of the second-gen. It weighs too much and it sure as hell costs too much; no matter which country you call home, this is probably the most expensive car of our trio and it delivers the least content by some large margin.

It’s possible to whip the “NC” Miata into shape as a race car, as I know from experience. Our test car, however, hasn’t received that sort of fettling. Instead, it has a folding metal hardtop. Why? The Miata has always been a convertible. It makes sense that way. For more than twenty years, however, people have been demanding a Miata Coupe. Other than a very brief Japanese-market production run of 200 NB Coupes, Mazda’s never felt like responding to that request. Instead, we have the PRHT. I can’t see weekend warriors spending the extra money for it over the soft-top, and the people who want a Coupe want one for reasons of weight and stiffness which the PRHT explicitly fails to address. Call it the “Miata New York”; it only makes sense if you live in an area where people cut soft-tops open to steal whatever’s been left in the glove compartment. We didn’t ask for a PRHT, but we aren’t a color rag and we don’t get free Honda S2000s with signed-over titles sitting in the glove compartment so we can go play SCCA racer on someone else’s dime. Instead, we got what happened to be in the press fleet, and that was the retiree-spec PRHT. Ugh.

Going into our test, I was reasonably certain that the hardcore, touge-tofu-dorifto FR-S was going to humiliate the Miata. It made sense: a newer, faster, stiffer car should win against this thoroughly-compromised end-of-run special. I could not have been more wrong. The FR-S and Genesis are both far too large and clumsy to compete. You don’t realize how big the Scion is until you sit in the Mazda. Yes, the current car is pretty monstrous by Miata or Elan standards. No, it’s not a 1.6-liter NA. It’s not that good. (Full disclosure: your author owned an ex-SCCA National Solo Winner Miata “C” package ’94, purchased as a surprise gift for his wife, who drove it twice and pronounced it “weak” before returning to her Stage 3 SRT-4.) It’s still good enough, however.

Against an MR2 Turbo, the Miata would seem slow, weak, prone to pushing. Against an MR Spyder, the Miata would seem like a bit of a Bayliner, truthfully, particularly in tight sections. Against the FR-S, the Miata comes off like a freakin’ Caterham. It’s only a couple of inches narrower by the tape, but in practice it feels like the FR-S is a foot wider, a Testarossa to the Miata’s 308GTS. This is not something that anybody on the Internet wants to admit, but if you have to group our trio by driving characteristics, the Genesis and FR-S are in one basket and the Miata is in another.

It’s such a joy to steer around Toronto Motorsports Park; the Miata always communicates exactly what’s happening. Even at the more-present-in-magazine-articles-than-reality 10/10ths, I can’t imagine that anybody short of a ham-handed idiot could crash this car. Anything the Scion can do, the Mazda can do better. At a place like VIR, the lack of power and undesirable aero profile would cost the little convertible money, but on the Alan Wilson-style tracks with their short straights and compound corners the Mazda can deliver the tofu just as well as the FR-S. Naturally, the Genesis has so much more power that it just disappears into the distance regardless of track layout. You’d need an SCCA rulebook autocross course, complete with 45mph max corners, to equalize the two.

Driven in isolation, the Miata’s 167-horsepower four seems energetic enough, and as has been the case since 1990, the shift quality is outstanding. The brakes are thoroughly unremarkable sliding-caliper affairs but they work fine. All the control efforts are light and well-matched. It’s possible to get better steering feel in a production car, but you’ll need to hurry, since the 987 Boxster has almost disappeared from showroom floors.

The current Miata has been roundly criticized for its suspension tuning, and that criticism is valid. There’s more roll than strictly necessary and the car can feel a bit tippy-toe at times. For about $1400 you can do Koni Yellows and aftermarket springs. I’d certainly make that change on my personal car, but descriptions of the stock settings as “scary” or “uncontrollable” are either hyperbolic or incompetent. You’re not going to roll the car. I tried, believe me, mostly to upset our News Editor Derek Kriendler who was in the passenger seat at the time.

Mazda’s perfectly aware that the Miata is a third car for most of its owners, and they build it that way. What I mean is this: the interior is high-quality and clearly built to last. The plastics are durable, the vehicle is easy to service, and save for the aforementioned PRHT there’s no stupid gimmickry. There’s no SYNC system or the like, because Mazda understands you’re going to keep your Miata for ten or twenty years and by the time you’re ready to sell, today’s most advanced system will be as embarrassing as the “Your Door Is A Jar” electronic-voice system from a 1982 Datsun Maxima would be today.

At the end of our testing day (which, again, we shared with AutoGuide) we were informed that we had about half an hour with which to drive a shortened variant of the track. The AutoGuide crew heard this news and immediately ran for the FR-S, which was sitting next to my Boxster in the grid. Derek and I were between them and the FR-S. We looked at eachother… what should we do? As one, we turned away from the Toyota and walked back to the Miata to put fifteen or so more laps in. This current MX-5 may be the worst Miata in history, but it’s still the best car in this test. Deal with it, kids.

Images courtesy of Julie Hyde, who thought she was just coming along for the Mike Stern gig in Toronto that night.

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119 Comments on “Boomerang Basement Bolides – First Place: Mazda Miata PRHT...”


  • avatar

    So, how about them tall drivers? Out of luck?

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      How tall are we talking? I’m 6’2″ but have short legs, and as you can see from both the video and the photos, I fit in the car. Sort of.

      • 0 avatar

        I’m about 6’4″ to 6’5″ and barely fit 1G Neon without a helmet. I did notice that the head in the sideways picture was sticking out.

      • 0 avatar
        Georgewilliamherbert

        I’m 6’4.5″, and I … well, DO NOT FIT. Sorry. Can barely see level through the windshield, if I have to put the top up my head is about 1.5″ taller than the top, the legroom is insufficient for safety much less comfort or performance driving. And then there’s safety… I’ve seen the various roll cages that the race schools use for tall students such as myself. I’ve seen the taller back solo rollbar people put in for tall drivers. That might keep my head off the concrete or dirt if I roll one, but … No. Just no. It’s a small car, for small to slightly tall people, not tall tall people.

      • 0 avatar
        sexyhammer

        I guess I’m built to party. 6’0″ 160lbs 32 inseam and size 11.5 shoes. My NA with hardtop gives me more clearance from the top of my skull to the roof than I had in either of my S13s, my Cressidas or even my first car beater Olds. You can always get more room in every dimension with an aftermarket seat; I’ve seen guys my size in an NA that have to crane their neck to check their blind spot.

    • 0 avatar
      racer-esq.

      I’m 6’2″, and could never sit upright in my NC PHRT. Unless you want to hack apart the side impact airbag equipped seat there could be issues. Detaching the tension springs underneath the bottom seat cushion helps, but then the bottom seat cushion gets uncomfortable and starts to deform.

      If you fit in an NC it is a great car. I recommend the PHRT over the soft top. Used examples are very cheap, especially off season.

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      Yup. When my desire for a sports car was finally able to be satisfied some years ago, the first place I went was to the Miata. I’m 6’4″ and you just can’t get there from here, sadly. Same story with the S2000.
      The Z3 works for me . . .just.

    • 0 avatar
      moorewr

      Well, with the top down you’re fine till at least 6’3″ – at least, I am pretty comfortable in an NB Miata, even for a longer stint……

      • 0 avatar

        6’3″ here and I can attest to that. I fit well in my NA, just fit in the NB, but haven’t sat in the NC yet.

        It was weird to go from the NA to NB and expect more room, because it looked bigger from the outside, but instead get less. Regardless I did fit. Man do I miss that car.

      • 0 avatar
        70Cougar

        I’m 6’3″ and had a first gen Miata that was comfortable enough, although I had to reach under my left knee to roll the window down and I took the sun visors out so I didn’t have to tilt my head as far to see when a traffic light turned green. My dad has an ’07 soft top, which I can drive, but I find it less comfortable.

        I found this review to be thorough and unbiased, because I wanted the Miata to win. If you haven’t seen It Might Get Loud, see it. You can stream it on Netflix, but be prepared to listen to Zeppelin for the next month after you watch it.

    • 0 avatar
      patman

      6’5″ with 36″ inseam and orangutan arms and I don’t fit in the latest generation, or any generation Miata for that matter.

      I did take my brother’s 1st gen for a spin when he bought it ages ago but I was folded up like a pretzel. The newer ones are a little roomier but there is still no way I would really be able to live with a car that small unless I sectioned it and added about a foot to the middle. Unlike a 2+2, there’s no way to move the seat rearwards – it was right up against the bulkhead.

      • 0 avatar
        ithiel

        When I bought my NB I remember reading something about the importance of not just overall height but your proportions as well (most of my height is “in my legs”). I am 6’3″ but like you have a 36″ inseam; while my legs do fit (snugly), my upper torso fits just fine, leaving ~2″ of room between my head and the top.

    • 0 avatar
      Sam P

      Being 5’10″ is great. Abnormally tall people; I hear minivans and full size pickups will fit you pretty well.

    • 0 avatar
      mkirk

      6’0″ and I fit just fine in the NA miata. Ironically though I owned an NB Mazdaspeed MX5 and I didn’t fit in it wort a darn. I have driven an NC when I got the NB and I had plenty of room but Jack is right on. It was a very good driving car but not much of a Miata. I’ve driven lots of them and owned a few. The one I keep is my 90 with manual steering and roll up windows. It is going to get some love when I get home.

  • avatar
    mitchw

    Nerd alert, JB: When Mazda designed the NA they drew coupe versions as well. The car has always been offered with a removable hardtop,too. But oh my, how that 45lbs over your head messes the handling.

    Still, not many people have the ability to drive Miata near the limit, hence the underpowered complaints, and the spare parts availability.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      I want it all: a Miata hatchback (shooting brake style), with a MazdaSpeed Turbo, stiffer springs and wider tires. Sure you could buy junked one and built it… I’m sure someone has done it. This Photochop job is really close: http://www.flickr.com/photos/electrofreeze/3800254611/ (Mazda 3 + Miata)

      • 0 avatar
        fatalexception04

        I think the speed turbo engine is too heavy and would throw off the 50/50 balance.

        I wish Mazda would produce the super20 concept. Which you could build on your own. It has stiffer suspension and a cosworth supercharger. 0-60 in 5.3 and maintains the perfect weight balance

        I don’t know what would be better for a shopper. Buy this version and boost it or purchase the mazdaspeed miata

      • 0 avatar
        mkirk

        I had a hardtop for a bit. It rattles a lot and is not easy to store. Most solutions involve an elaborate hoist in the garage. I suppose however one could weld it on if they had to have a coupe.

  • avatar
    cackalacka

    I love the sour comments to your Youtube video.

    Looks like Scion/FR-S will be to the automotive world what Apple is to all things tech.

    • 0 avatar
      Feds

      I just went and read them. “Gay Elvis” is my favorite.

      • 0 avatar
        Jack Baruth

        Based on the comments on YouTube and at a few other forums, I can definitely now see that I am a gay twenty-something virgin who lives with his parents, has never gotten laid, has sex with a lot of guys, had sex with some other forum member’s wife which was totes uncalled for, is at least 50 years old, has never owned a decent car, had never had to drive a cheap car, who needs to learn how to drive but who also spends wayyyy too much time on the track to know what people really want, and who absolutely perfectly resembles everybody who has ever had the nerve to grow a beard.

      • 0 avatar
        cackalacka

        I, for one, like the sparkly jacket. Needs more dragon, though.

      • 0 avatar
        fatalexception04

        just read the youtube comments and they were quite funny.

        But…this is what you get for not suckling the teet of the fr-s god and sacrificing your first born (child or pet) at its feet. lol

        Don’t you know the fr-s is car of cars. It is better than any car to come before and after no matter the price.

        funny stuff though when the fanboys come out on youtube. I still like the guy that complained you had shorts on haha ridiculous stuff

      • 0 avatar
        moorewr

        “I, for one, like the sparkly jacket. Needs more dragon, though.”

        Heck yes! That jacket cries out for a jumbo Chinese dragon across the back.

      • 0 avatar
        Jack Baruth

        How is Ryan Gosling gets away with wearing a satin scorpion jacket and I can’t wear the golden hoodie?

        Oh, yeah… he’s good-looking and I never was.

        Still seems unfair tho.

  • avatar
    carguy

    You know that the Miata could only be Jimmy Page in your analogy if it was the most awesome car ever.

  • avatar
    thirty-three

    I absolutely love sitting in a Miata. The car fits me like a glove. I haven’t yet driven one but I want to, even if it is underpowered.

    I remember reading a comparo between the Miata and MR2 in Car and Driver. They also concluded that the Miata is the better car because it was so much more satisfying to drive.

    Dammit Jack, now I want to trace in my beloved Civic for a Miata! You’re a real troublemaker.

    • 0 avatar
      mitchw

      Here’s a tip, if you wait for the next Miata to arrive, and it’s small and light like the NA+NB, I’ll bet quite a few current owners will start dumping their rides for the new Miata. Supply meets demand, and there may be a few too many old Miatas looking for new owners.

      • 0 avatar

        When I sold my NB I had several guys with NCs looking at it. They all regretting moving into the new model and wanted to go back.

      • 0 avatar
        jleez

        I’ll admit that the thought of getting an NA/NB has crossed my mind many times, even though I’ve put in enough effort and money into my NC to make it a fantasticly fun handling little car. With each passing year, the urge to go find a BRG or black-on-red NA Miata and collect it as a stock classic car grows stronger and stronger.

      • 0 avatar
        mkirk

        It is said the NA was designed by engineers, the NB was designed by engineers with beancounters looking over their shoulders and the NC was designed by bean counters. I don’t know, aside from the smiley face years I don’t have any beef with them but yeah, no one really misses them when they sell them like people do an NA. I am not sure though that given all the safety items required today that getting down to NA weight is realistic without the use of some exotic materials thus increasing the cost. I drive one and all that is between your side and the outer doorskin is the window glass…no side impact protection. That ain’t gonna fly today.

    • 0 avatar
      racer-esq.

      I’m seeing the following difference between a 1994 base Miata and a 2012 base Miata:

      Curb Weight – Manual (lb.) 2,293 2,447
      Wheelbase (in.) 89.20 91.70
      Length (in.) 155.40 157.30
      Width (in.) 66.00 67.70
      Height (in.) 48.20 49.00
      Track Front (in.) 55.50 58.70
      Track Rear (in.) 56.20 58.90

      The most substantial difference in the above specs is a 6% difference in weight (154 pounds). For much more rigid, much safer car with better brakes and larger tires.

      The people hating on the NC are luddites that have no idea how close the NC specs are to the NA specs, and that just have an assumption of generational model bloat programmed into their heads. I doubt any ND will be good enough for them. Especially since NCs are available for the low $10,000s or less, while a new ND will likely be $25,000+.

      NAs are already super cheap, but are starting to become classics, so I would pick one up now.

      • 0 avatar

        As stated in this trio of reviews, numbers can’t tell the whole story. They lost a little something with the NC. Sure it might be better than everything else on the market, at and mostly above it’s price point, but Miatas are never more ruthlessly compared than when put up against other Miatas.

      • 0 avatar
        racer-esq.

        I had an NA Miata and an NC Miata. The NA Miata definitely had a soul and character that the NC lacks. Just one example is the chrome finger pull door handles. But old cars almost always have more soul and character, that’s inevitable.

        It’s another thing to cry that Mazda destroyed the car, or made it a fat pig, like I see some Miata fans claiming. That’s just not true. It is absolutely amazing how close to the original specs Mazda has kept the Miata, while constantly improving its performance, safety and feature content. Anyone that has an NA or NB with air conditioning, power windows and/or ABS should adjust the weight to account for that – I imagine they will be very close to, if not above, the weight of a base NC, which includes all of those features.

      • 0 avatar
        jleez

        Perception equals reality. The visual difference between an NA/NB and an NC is massive.

        When I brought my NC back home, I parked it next to my NA and took some pictures. I was astounded to discover that my NC covered pretty much exactly the same footprint as my NA. Even the top of the windshield frames for both vehicles matched in location and height.

        But the NC has a relatively high hood compared to the NA, a beltline that’s about 2″ taller, and dat ass with a uptucked, fatty rear bumper. It’s also wearing 17″ wheels, compared to the 14-16″ wheels that earlier Miatas wore. So the NC looks *huge*. And if it looks huge, people are going to make the association that it’s physically bigger and heavier, despite evidence to the contrary.

        Mazda certainly didn’t help their case with a suspension setup that, out of the box, couldn’t compare with the earlier cars. Bam, another mental bridge for folks to blame the car’s (relatively) terrible handling on the weight monster.

      • 0 avatar
        mkirk

        But the 94 model is NOT the original. The original would be the 90 and I believe the curb weight was right at 2100 pounds. Thus the new model’s weight gain is pushing 20%, not 6% over the original.

      • 0 avatar
        racer-esq.

        The base weight was 2,182 for 1990 and 1991, and then it went over 2,200 for 1992. And that is IF it had manual windows, no air conditioning and no ABS. And there was one airbag. And a plastic rear window.

        Which puts a base 2012 Miata with standard air conditioning, ABS, front and side airbags and power locks and windows, a glass rear window, 16 inch wheels with larger tires, instead of 14 inch wheels, better brakes, 50 more HP, etc., at a 265 pound increase over a 1990-91 Miata with no options.

        That means that a base 1990-91 Miata only weighs 10.8% less than a 2012 Miata.

      • 0 avatar
        mkirk

        I show 2105 for the base car. Yes, the 2012 is clearly a safer and more refined car than the 90. But to say people who notice a 10 percent weight gain in a car noted for its lightness are crazy is crazy. Like I said, I don’t dislike the NC, but I don’t like it as much as my NA. Admittedly though I am in a minority though among folks that used the 2 as a daily driver. My Mazdaspeed MX5 weighed about what the NC weighs though and I would not call it bloated though so I see your point. I’d still be driving it if my head didn’t rub on the top bow.

  • avatar
    mikey

    I’m not a racing/track guy. However I find these articles,and writing style,very entertaining. After all this is the “TRUTH” about cars.

    Jack writes, what he believes, “in his experience” is the truth.
    For what its worth, I believe him.

    Now lets see the comments roll. I’ll give it a couple of hours,and I will crack a beer and have good read.

  • avatar
    JCraig

    Mazda has said this car is too big and heavy but they had to development it with the RX-8 in mind. Luckily they’ve also made it clear that the next Miata will be smaller and much lighter.

    I’ve loved these since my Aunt bought one of the first ones in ’89 or ’90.

    Edit: All I can say to the doubters is don’t comment unless you’ve had a drive in a Miata.

    • 0 avatar
      racer-esq.

      That the Miata is based on the RX-8 is helpful terms of comparing the Miata and FR-S. There is some argument over whether the FR-S or the RX-8 is a better sports car. If the RX-8 is possibly better than an FR-S, then a substantially smaller, lighter RX-8, i.e. the Miata, is almost certainly better than the FR-S.

      Still, if I was going to buy one of them I would buy the FR-S, since I am too tall for a Miata.

      I’m interested to see how light the next Miata is. The current Miata is only about 2,450 pounds, and the very spartan, mid-engine (which allows the weight advantages of no driveshaft and a combined transmission and differential) MR2 Spyder was about 2,200 pounds. I don’t see a lot of room for cuts.

      • 0 avatar
        JCraig

        Supposedly it will be close to the first gen, which was a hair over 2100lbs and relatively much smaller. I can see that happening with their Skyactiv philosophy of reducing weight by using stronger and lighter material.

      • 0 avatar
        racer-esq.

        I will be shocked if the next Miata is that light. The 1990 – 1991 NA was 2,182 pounds, with no options, and the weight has been going up since then. Especially when the NA was given more structural integrity in 1994.

        A base Miata now has power windows, power locks, air conditioning, ABS, larger wheels and tires, MUCH more structural integrity, a glass rear window, three more airbags and 50 more horsepower, and has only gained 265 pounds since 1991, or 154 pounds since 1994.

        I don’t see how Mazda is going to keep all those features, make the Miata as light as it has ever been, and keep the price low. If Mazda does that will be cool, but I’m skeptical.

      • 0 avatar
        mitchw

        I am preparing to be quite shocked about the next Miata’s weight loss. I’ve heard numbers like 1800lbs, achieved through high strength steel and a smaller car. Trust me, I challenged the weight number when I heard it.

        Now’s also the time to tell prospective and current NC owners that a quick way to lighten their load is to lighten their load. We can all shed a few stones. Am I right?

      • 0 avatar
        JCraig

        I’m hoping part of their ‘back to basics’ approach to the next Miata includes a base car that has crank windows and that’s about it. No radio, a/c etc. I will be shocked if they offered that though. Maybe at least a crank window, basic stereo model?

        Mazda has been hinting at shockingly light weight and smaller size. Since they can focus development on a ‘pure’ roadster again instead of having to engineer for two cars I am optimistic. Also hoping they bring the price back down…

      • 0 avatar
        racer-esq.

        No power windows takes a lot of redesign and alternative parts sourcing. Also, I’ve read that modern power windows actually weigh less than crank windows. Apparently that is why Chrysler went with power windows when it switched the Viper from plastic side curtains to glass side windows.

        I can see a club sport with radio and AC delete.

  • avatar
    stuntmonkey

    “Mazda’s perfectly aware that the Miata is a third car for most of its owners, and they build it that way. What I mean is this: the interior is high-quality and clearly built to last. The plastics are durable, the vehicle is easy to service, and save for the aforementioned PRHT there’s no stupid gimmickry.”

    Bingo. That’s exactly what this kind of car should be. Almost…. classic 911ish, don’t you think?

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      LISTEN TO STUNTMONKEY, FOLKS.

      This is the key to the kingdom in terms of the context by which this trio review by JB (and Derek Kreindler) should be judged against.

      If the stated goal at the outset was “[which] one of the these is best, second best and dead last as a daily driver,” the order would certainly different.

      As a third car with a genuine sports car feel, and no gimmicks or trickery snuck in by the manufacturer, the Miata probably would seem have the best steering feel, stick-clutch action, toss-able (not stick-to-pavement-like-glue) chassis (without getting flustered even under extreme stress), and most importantly, that (and I HATE to use this term) ‘x factor’ of being the most fun to drive for both reasons known and unknown.

      If more people kept the mission statement of this series in context, front and center, I’d bet more people currently howling in protest would have less of an axe to grind over the subjective opinions of the reviewers and the outcome itself.

      As a daily driver, the Miata would be my least favorite, and probably by a relatively wide margin.

      As I bothered to pay attention to the purpose of the review and context for it, the Miata would also be my first choice, and to be perfectly honest, I’d have a hard time not puttinging the Hyundai and Scion in a near dead heat for 2nd place (it’d probably boil down to what day of the week it was, and whether I favored more power or a better chassis that particular day).

      Great review, JB, Derek & TTAC.

      • 0 avatar
        mkirk

        I daily drove my Miata for a couple years to include a winter at Fort Drum, New York. It is actually a pretty good commuter, especially if you are just shuttling yourself back and forth to work. The trunk is very useful in size and dimension especially when yoou look at the competition of the car over the years. The fact that it is usable as a real car versus just a toy is I believe the reason you can still buy a new Miata while you have to scour Ebay for an MR2 or a Solstice/Sky. The only downside is the fact that it is low and loud but mine is a 90. The later cars, especially the NC is much more civilized. If you don’t need a back seat I doubt you’d be any worse off daily driving an NC than a Civic coupe.

  • avatar
    juicy sushi

    The Miata is brilliant, the problem I ahve is that now, with a child, I need the back seat. Still, if I win the lottery, as the toy, it probably would be the car I’d pick (although not an NC). What will be really interesting is seeing what the ND turns out to be. It will either be brilliant, or the Mazda equivalent of the 996/991.

    • 0 avatar
      JCraig

      Too bad Mazda didn’t use the Miata’s initial success to create a Miata sub-brand… Can you imagine? A 4 seater Miata4, A hatchback Miata5, a hardtop MiataC, a 4 door Miata S, luxurious Miata L, truckster El Miata…

      • 0 avatar
        righteousball

        Volume and market share-wise Mazda has always been too small an auto maker to have a sub-brand.

        They also learned the hard way from the Eunos/Amati and Efini debacle, that you need to concentrate on the biggest brand you’ve got.

        What you described is almost exactly the new Efini and Eunos models circa 1990-93…trying to build cars with a hint of the Miata’s soul. Soul doesn’t sell, and here we are today.

        Also, recall that JDM Miata was the first Eunos-branded car.

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      I’m looking at being in the same boat (that kids will be a possibility by the time I’ll need a new car), which is why I want the FRS to be, well, a four-seat Miata. On one hand, it’s much closer to that than the Genesis. On the other, that back seat is nearly useless, and there’s a healthy supply of used RX-8s.

      • 0 avatar
        Buzz Killington

        ^^Exactly.

        The correct answer to “I want a Miata but need a usable back seat” is “RX-8.”

      • 0 avatar
        icemilkcoffee

        If only they made the RX8 without the rotary engine. The 2.3 turbo engine would be just about perfect.

      • 0 avatar
        Georgewilliamherbert

        icemilkcoffee – Won’t work. The RX-8 works because of that rotary engine. The weight balance F/R comes from the engine being front-mid (completely behind the front axle line). The back end of the engine is actually between the driver and passenger feet.

        You’d have to put in a transaxle to keep the F/R weight balance intact with a more forwards conventional engine, and while say a ‘Vette transaxle might work, you’d have to redo the body at the back to fit it, and I don’t know if they’d sell it to Mazda or if the cost would be prohibitive. And I don’t know of another mass production transaxle.

        You could – at least on paper, and custom production – do something that looked like a RX-8 and handled like an RX-8 with a conventional engine up front. But it wouldn’t be an RX-8. It would be a new car based on the RX-8 chassis. Might be a fun custom project, but would be a lot of work…

    • 0 avatar
      jdowmiller

      What does your signifcant other drive? I’m lucky that my wife doesn’t have to work and can schlep the kids to school in the back of an XC90, unofficially freeing me up to pretty much drive whatever I want. Although, I *have* been admonished that whatever I drive must have a back seat in case of emergencies lol

      • 0 avatar
        mkirk

        I am not sure the piston engine would clear the hoodline of the RX8. That wankel is low. Interesting though, you could probably get close to what you are looking for with the flat 4 of the FR-S in an RX-8 body. But yes, there is no “R” part of the RX equation without the rotary. Doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be a good car though.

  • avatar
    stryker1

    That part of It Might Get Loud is classic. Watching The Edge and Jack White try (and fail) to maintain their cool when Page starts playing Whole Lotta Love is awesome, and worth a few rewinds.

    I’d say you’re being somewhat hard on Jack White. Sure he has douchey attitudes on a variety of subjects, but at least he can sing, and is not a bad song writer. Jimmy Page he ain’t, but neither is he NickelBack

    I will grant you that I cannot, for the life of me, understand why he’s in a movie about the electric guitar when he seems to have nothing but disdain for the instrument.

  • avatar
    Secret Hi5

    “You’re not going to roll the car. I tried, believe me, mostly to upset our News Editor Derek Kriendler who was in the passenger seat at the time.”
    -Love it! Speaking of which–Would you get a roll bar installed if you had an “NC” Miata?

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Most road courses won’t let you run without one, so yeah. Same reason I have a BreyKrause on my Boxster: compliance with the letter of the regulation.

  • avatar
    Thill

    Now to convince my wife (we have three young kids) why we need a third car……

  • avatar
    RubyDoo

    Drivers 6’5″ and taller have found ample headroom in the NC Miata with a simple seat lowering. Go to Miata.net and search for “gordym seat mod”.

    There are no aftermarket rollbars that will make the PRHT trackable for any but the tiniest drivers, and none likely. Quite a few nice choices for the soft top.

    Take Jack’s suggestion for a suspension rework to heart … and include antisway bars which he does not mention but are a real weak link. The most basic suspension upgrade takes the NC from ok to amazing.

  • avatar
    Oren Weizman

    Now for that pricing issue … Will Mazda have the guts to bring it down to a reasonable 25K in Canada cause it’s all of 23K in the US for a base model Miata !

  • avatar
    WheelMcCoy

    >> New York edition

    Hahaha, that would be for me, one day. Damn the purists, I’m in that area and would definitely prefer a hard top. Also, a hard top, along with winter tires, would work best with the harsh East coast weather.

  • avatar
    jdowmiller

    Allusions to a movie featuring three of the most overrated guitarists of all time aside, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this series of articles.
    I have been toying with the idea of getting an NC as an adjunct or even as a replacement to my ageing Outback but I’ve read several posts here intimating a general preference for the NB over the NC. Anyone who has owned or driven both, feel free to offer me some advice.
    For the record, a 1996 Miata was my year-round DD for about five years. I found it enjoyable and very easy to work on. My beefs with the design were that it seemed too light and flimsy…like driving a tin can. I know, that’s a ridiculous complaint to have about a sports car and maybe I shouldn’t have been using it as a DD, but my point in mentioning that is I was under the impression the NC was a slightly bigger, sturdier and marginally safer (side air bags) vehicle…as if perhaps Mazda cured everything that ailed me about my car.
    I’d be happy to own another NB but haven’t given it much thought because of my impression of the NC as a superios vehicle. Clue me in.

    • 0 avatar

      Depends on what makes a car better to you. The NC is better in nearly every way, except one, which happens the one that Miata drivers care about most. That “tin-can” feeling you negatively describe is a positive attribute for others, myself included. I don’t need, or want, a solid germanic thunk when I shut the door on a Miata. I want them to trim as much weight out of it as possible. The more it feels like a thin sheet of metal the better.

      The Miata’s best safety feature is that you can’t help but give it your full attention while driving. You are going to anticipate the stupid moves that other drivers are about to make before even they are. You also have the handling prowess and braking ability to avoid even the hairiest of situations.

      From what you describe it seems like you might be happier in the Genesis, or even a Mustang.

      • 0 avatar
        jdowmiller

        Thanks for the thoughts. As nice as they are, I’m not interested in the big coupes. I really miss driving the Miata. I had to sell it because we moved to a place right smack downtown Nashville with no garage…and it finally started to break. The trunk would fill with water after a heavy rain and I had already replaced the top once. It got frustrating to own. Now that I’m back in a place with a sweet garage, I’m ready to take the plunge again. I guess I’ll just go test drive some NCs and see what I think.

      • 0 avatar
        JuniperBug

        The most often cause of a wet trunk in the NA/NB Miatas is blocked drain tubes. It happened to me. 3 minutes of poking a straightened clothes hanger down the tubes, located just about beside the seatbelt anchors, and the problem was permanently solved.

      • 0 avatar
        mkirk

        Don’t forget the cracked rain rail as a means for water intrusion in first and second gens.

    • 0 avatar
      Buzz Killington

      I guess it really depends on whether you want a better “car” or a better “Miata.”

      I had a ’91 as a daily driver for about three years, and except for about four months of the year, it got old eventually (I still dearly miss it, though). I seriously considered an NC but ended up in an RX-8 b/c of the “having a kid” thing. Based on your post, I’d bet you’d be pretty happy with an NC; it is a “real car.”

      • 0 avatar
        jdowmiller

        Indeed, driving a Miata in the snow with non-winter tires is challenging. I’ve thought about RX-8 but I like an open sports car. And I don’t know if I could work on the engine.
        I, too, have kids. Three of them actually. Once you have more than two, a back seat in any car becomes a moot point. :p

      • 0 avatar
        mkirk

        Drove my first gen Year Round in upstate NY on summer tires. Yeah, it is a challenge, especially on Fort Drum where they never plowed the roads down to the concrete. My preferred method was to break the rear end loose with the handbrake and turn it dirt track style, though I only recommend this at the low on post speeds. I was gonna do winter tires but I got transferred before I had to do another winter.

  • avatar
    tp33

    Mx5 ftw? Not surprised. Gotten plenty of seat time in a colleague’s NC PWHT, and I’ve still never driven anything as planted and communicative (though I was once treated to a ride in an Elise, from which my back has yet to recover). The first time I drove a Miata (late teens) I thought something was wrong with the steering. Not only was it “twitchy” (the wheels turned whenever I moved the steering wheel even slightly!), it also didn’t seem to have any of those luxury filters that kept out all that annoying “road feel” like my LeSabre did, lol). I thought all cars were supposed to have 4 inches of off center slack in the wheel. That’s what made highway driving (and yachting) so much fun!

    But seriously, Jack. Jimmy page? Virtuoso to be sure, but no more original than a Chinese tube amp. What Muddy, Willie, and Spirit giveth, Page & Plant taketh away. LZ could have been the greatest cover band ever, if only they had remembered to share the writing credits (and the royalties) once in a while (google led zeppelin plagiarism, but prepare to spend a few hours…).

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      I’m a bit of an amateur Zep historian, and I’ve been to Clarkdale, I have a reasonable idea of what’s original and what’s not in the Zeppelin catalog.

      It’s rare for an idea to spring out of nothing. Leadbelly wanted to wear a suit when he played the country blues in the city. Willie Dixon created Muddy Waters out of a fellow named Morganfield. John Mayall wanted to play the blues across the pond. Clapton wanted to crank his Marshall (and Jimmy Page was on-site to approve that idea) and play the blues LOUD. Mike Bloomfield did the same thing with a more comprehensive awareness of theory and history. Jeff Beck hired Rod Stewart, ironically keeping Stewart out of Led Zeppelin, and played something very close to hard rock with him.

      So you have all of that background. You absorb all of that. You want to play the music. You take the cranked-up aesthetic and, because you’re a producer, you make a record that feels cranked-up compared to “Truth” or “Beano”. You have a drummer who creates his own aesthetic on the move. You add a singer who has an immense physical and vocal presence — kind of Howlin’ Wolf two octaves up. Then you put on your dragon suit and create something that is, by definition, new because nobody’s seen it before.

      Every single part of Led Zep exists somewhere else, from Ike Turner’s showmanship to Paul McCartney’s lyric bass playing. They just didn’t exist together.

      As for the plagiarism, Jeff Beck has stated openly that “we weren’t getting paid very much for these records and we didn’t care to share what little we did get,” or something like that. Page and Plant got sued, not because they stole, but because they were successful.

      • 0 avatar
        tp33

        Thoughtfully argued, Jack. My issue was never with the reinvention or reinterpretation of the music (or roadsters or ponycars for that matter). Dylan himself has stated that he’d never really HEARD “watchtower” until Hendrix played it, and there are countless songs, from James Ray’s “Set on you” to Otis Redding’s “Respect,” that might well have not existed (at least not in popular consciousness) had they not been covered by the Arethas, Elvises, and BB’s of the world.

        My problem was that LZ had to be sued in the first place. Contrast Zep to Clapton or the Stones. Both were every bit, if not more, derivat…err “inspired” than was LZ, yet the lineage was not only acknowledged, it was celebrated. Skip James eeked out a few extra years of life courtesy of (profit from) Cream’s “I’m so glad” cover. Jagger and Richards payed for Sumlin’s funeral. I LOVED Zep coming up as a kid (and in some ways, still do). But the heights to which they took it (only sharing writing credits after litigation, ripping off their own opening acts, etc.) are just a little too much to excuse. Rocket 88 may be a great track, but the guy singing it is still a prat…

      • 0 avatar
        John

        I get SO tired of situational ethics. Theft is theft, whether it’s profitable or not. Any musician knows the difference between influences and plagiarism. “Dazed and Confused” was flat out stolen. That’s theft whether you are a stadium band or sell tickets to your friends for fifty cents. The “everyone was doing it” defense didn’t work at Nuremburg, and doesn’t work here either.

      • 0 avatar

        tp33,

        I long ago disabused myself of the notion of the noble bluesman.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    Considering how many bicycles I see with baby trailers, I wonder if there’s a way to design a similar baby trailer for MX-5 MiaPas(TM).

    Small, aerodynamic, able to be quickly and easily attached/detached to the back, fully-enclosed, and…safe…ish. WE CAN’T LOSE!!!

  • avatar
    Grahambo

    And if I follow your logic, I take it Jeff Beck is the Porsche Cayman S?

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Beck is the Elise: technically superior, prone to breakdowns, hires the wrong guy to stand out front.

      • 0 avatar
        Domestic Hearse

        True, dat. However, he did put Tal Wilkenfeld behind him recently to hold down the bottom. While not as mind-blowing as when Stanley Clarke drove his rhythm section (more like, lead כ:), Tal does fill a Baruthian requirement. Perky rack. Cute smile is free.

      • 0 avatar
        ...m...

        …prone to breakdowns?..

        …i own and daily-drive both cars, and they’re both wonderful and reliable little runabouts, but the only one which requires occasional unscheduled maintenance does not sport a toyota drivetrain…

      • 0 avatar
        chaparral

        Who’s John “Jerome” “J.” Geils in this one? The S2000? The Corvette?

  • avatar
    Grahambo

    Hilariously well done.

  • avatar
    daiheadjai

    Ah, but how much tofu can it deliver without much of a trunk?

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    Great article, I cant wait for part zero! With used NC Miata’s being available so cheap, it makes a very compelling arguement for a 3rd car. Many more people can afford one. Imagine the choice of trading in your current car on a new FRS, or just keeping it and buying a used Miata.

    I especially like the props you gave to the MR-S. Helps confirm my original plan to keep ours, even if we did pick up an FRS for my wife. It is starting to need some maintenance items, I guess I should start spending some money on updating things.

    • 0 avatar
      homer281

      I do agree the MX5 is overpriced @ MSRP of about $28k for the Touring PRHT. However, rebates of the $6000+ range are not uncommon in the fall. I paid $21500 before T,T&L for my 2010 Touring PRHT, and at that price I feel it’s an exceptional value.

      The PRHT is totally unnecessary if this is your third car, but as for me it’s my one and only car so I appreciate the extra quietness and coupe-like qualities that come with it since it’s a DD. Roll bars are an issue but if I ever got serious about tracking I’d just buy a NA Miata probably.

  • avatar
    RRocket

    Did I miss it? What was the lap time of the Miata?

    • 0 avatar
      Robert Gordon

      Didn’t you hear? Despite being an organisation who’s core business is testing cars TTAC doesn’t have access to any kind of timing equipment. Finances must be really bad if they can’t even afford a $10 iphone app let alone a higly tax deductable $1000.

  • avatar
    robc123

    Like the mx-5 but the only thing I don’t like is that it does not depreciate fast enough. Would never buy new.

    You can get a bmw z3 or z4 for the price of a new nd/ used nc- V6 and a nicer interior and better MPG.
    ya ya parts cost more but a z does look better than an NC.
    Hell old boxsters are 30k with low miles.

    Do like the super20 concept mentioned above.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      What. You can easily find low mileage NC miatas for $12k. I was looking at NCs in 2010 and there were loads for $13k or so then.

    • 0 avatar
      ...m...

      …we cross-shopped used boxsters and Z4s before selecting our new NC, and three years later i’m confident that we chose the better car: admittedly, not the fastest, but the best road car of the lot…

    • 0 avatar
      Sam P

      You do realize that the Z4 is a repair queen, right?

      - The power hardtops love to fail – around $3000 to fix.

      - The electric power steering often fails – another $3000 repair.

      Other random finicky stuff (like the inner and outer door handles) fail all the time. The Z4 is actually much worse from a repair perspective than an E46 or E90 3-series.

      “Old Boxster”?? Haha, you’re in for some learning. Google “RMS failure” or “IMS failure” or just look on a Boxster board.

      The S2000 is the only close competitor to an NC Miata, but it’s hard to find one that’s not thrashed or riced out.

      A friend picked up an ’04 AP2 S2k for $16k with 60k miles last summer, but it desperately needs torque and the engine screaming at 3500 rpm at 60 mph gets old on the freeway.

      • 0 avatar
        Charles T

        The rare V6 Z3s and Z4s that robc123 is referring to might be more reliable than the straight-six ones that are clogging up the repair bays. And, as Jack mentioned, MR2 Spyder. Mine’s been amazing even as a daily driver.

  • avatar
    RRocket

    So no lap time for the Miata? So it’s truly a subjective comparison at this point then. That’s a bit shabby not having track times for all three. Seems like something a lesser print magazine might do….Just sayin’…..

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      I don’t know any other way to say this, other than the way we’ve already said it.

      We participated in this test at the sufferance of our partners, who had first call on the track, the cars, and the data.

      Our test took place in the nooks and crannies of theirs.

      We didn’t hand-time anything because hand-timed results are worthless and have no credibility with anyone who has ever competed on a racetrack.

      • 0 avatar
        RRocket

        Understood. But IMO a hand time is preferable to no time. All I was saying was if one of the print rags had done something similar (winning car with no recorded track time, win based purely on subjective scoring) there is no question it would be mocked on your end. But I do understand how you were at the mercy of other parties and their testing.

        Indulge me a question if you would? Have you ever decided NOT to participate in a test with another group since you thought it would compromise the way you generally do your tests/comparos/articles? Or do you jump at every chance to drive certain cars regardless of circumstances since press cars can often be difficult to get? Just wondering…

      • 0 avatar
        mkirk

        I have no issue with this test. Every time someone does a track test about 4 posts in someone points out that a Mustang V6 would trample whatever is being tested. That person then gets flamed because no matter how true, the Mustang V6 drives like a Winnebego and isn’t a serious “drivers car”. In sports cars things like driving dynamics and feel matter. Those things are by and large subjective however given the number of tracked Miatas out there I think a lot of folks see eye to eye with jack on this one. I can strap a rocket to a skateboard and get around a track in short order but that don’t make it a sports car.

  • avatar
    vanpressburg

    If I had Scion FR-S and Genesis in front of my house, I would pick Scion for every day driving, because it is much more playful than Genesis and for trip from Seattle to Florida definitely Genesis.

  • avatar
    AoLetsGo

    Best band of the 70′s – Led Zeppelin
    Best band of 2000′s – White Stripes

    and what the heck as long as I am on the soap box

    Best band of the 60′s – Beatles
    Best band of the 80′s – Talking Heads
    Best band of the 90′s – Green Day

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Close,but…

      The Doors
      Steely Dan
      Squeeze
      Nine Inch Nails
      Foo Fighters

    • 0 avatar
      mkirk

      I’m gonna take a lot of crap, but for Best Band of the 80′s I am gonna call Guns N’ Roses. 90′s and 2000′s…I don’t know, I kind of quit caring. I’ll go with you on the 60′s and 70′s though.

    • 0 avatar
      moorewr

      Well, best band of the 2000s is like “leper with the most fingers,” but I am going to have to disagree with calling Green Day the best anything. Not sure who I would give that purely subjective nod to.. I see some painful choices..

      U2 sold a bunch of albums, so did Guns and Roses
      Nirvana ruined fashion for half a decade
      NiN was awesome… so were metal survivors like Anthrax or Pantera..

      but none of these are it.. clearly the best band of the decade was the Beastie Boys.

  • avatar
    mvahle

    Thanks, Jack and TTAC, for another great piece. Enjoyable and thoughtful.

    PS – I bought a new NC in December 2012 with giant rebates. And it definitely feels like a very good, well engineered car from 8 years ago. I loved it every bit as much, but in different ways, than long since-departed NA.

  • avatar
    chas404

    I am 6 foot 3 and I lost interest in Miatas when I could only get my right leg into the original model!!!! (ditto dodge vipers).

    I owned a 2003 BMW z4 (sport 3.0) and fit OK. it was a FUN car. incredible brakes and killer motor and stick shift. yucky electric steering.

    Now have a 2007 mustang GT (yes it handles like a monte carlo and brakes are terrible but the motor sounds great and the stick shift is nice. no $350 run flat tires, a real trunk and you sit a touch higher in traffic).

    Corvettes are roomy too.

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    My question is what was the goal these cars were being compared to? Was it the best track car? If so, the unfortunately absent Mustang V6 kicks everyones but on the track, followed by the Hyundai. The most fun but the one that will lose every race? The Miata. The closest to the Miata’s level/sort of fun while still having a back seat and truck that you can haul shit in and drive every day? The unloved FR-S. The rivals that will probably match the Hyundai for lap times and beat everyone in practicality/useability although being wrong wheel drive in 2/3 cases? the hot hatch trio of the Focus ST, Mazdaspeed 3, and Subie WRX. The Dark Horses no one wants to talk about? The $15k BMW or Boxster with $10k set aside for repairs.

  • avatar
    Japanese Buick

    I think I have some good perspective to add to this NA vs NC discussion. I bought an NA new in 1996 and then two months short of its 16th anniversary wrecked it. I loved that car for all 16 years and shed a tear when the insurance company towed it away. BUT… I am 16 years older than when I bought it and it was starting to feel smaller and also my back and shoulders were not enjoying working the manual hard top from inside the cabin. Not only the motion of lifting it over my head to close it, but also the turning and twisting needed to close the zipper around the plastic window. I loved driving it though.

    I replaced it with a new PRHT grand touring model after cross shopping with mainly Mini models (convertible and roadster). While I miss the old car, the new one is an improvement in almost every way. It’s more comfortable, has more room, the shifter is better, and the PRHT is so easy to operate that I actually get more top-down time now than I used to — which is a primary reason you buy a Miata (I see too many of them on the road on nice days with the top up, but I digress).

    I have a 60 mile round trip commute and I could only stand to drive the NA to work twice a week, and not on any days when I knew I would have to take errands or side trips that increased my time in the car our would put me in stop and roll traffic. The new NC I can comfortably drive every day, and as a result my LS400 (which my avatar is named for) is getting driven a lot less.

    That said, the NC is not as good at the winding country road blast as the NA was. I find myself taking the same drives 5-10 mph slower in the NC. I’m not sure if this is inherent to the car or if I just lack 16 years worth of familiarity with the new one, but I don’t feel as confident in the new one blasting through the twisties (yet?). So I agree with the conclusion that the NC may be the best fun car in the market segment today, but it’s not as good a pure fun car as the NA. But I get much more use and therefore value out of my NC than I did from my NA.

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    as an aside, hit up the local autocross last night and and a BRZ took home the BTD. It did have upgraded super sticky low treadware rating tires (although they still had tread, it was lightly raining, the track and public roads were damp to wet, and the owner drove it there, raced it, and drove it home without changing tires) but was otherwise stock and still brand new, but it had some good competition in multiple Miatas (including a tuned NA stripped of weight to the point that it had almost no body panels), an S2000, WRX’s, Evos, and a 1000 hp Supra Turbo on race tires. It also looked the best, as far as crispest turn in, minimal body roll, dive, and squat, neutral behavior, etc. The Supra sounded the best though haha.

  • avatar
    fli317

    Interesting story. I enjoyed the review. Am disappointed with what I hear of the FRS. Back 15 years ago, my wife had a Nissan 240 that she drove while in college. After a time it was put in our garage where it sat until late last year. I never paid it much attention as I was into trucks and muscle cars. But I dragged it out of the garage last fall, tuned it up, put new tires on the old S13. The AC is even still ice cold. Its surprising how little is needed to make an enjoyable, engaging car. I drive it now several days a week commuting to work, giving my SUV a break. It has a back seat, so I can pick up the kids from school in pinch. It does fine as a daily driver. But it does excellent as a canyon carver. Was thinking about buying an FRS. After what I hear, think I’ll just save my $500 a month and take my wife out for a couple extra dinners each month for letting me tool around with her old car.
    Thing is, this is in no way a solution for many people. There are not many old S13s that haven’t been hacked up by the tuner and drifter crowd. Why can’t toyota or any of the manufacturers get it? Wonder if the big manufacturers even read these enthusiast web sites.
    The miata sounds pretty good. But man, sometimes you just need some kind of back seat. Even more than you need a Nav system. Heck, most of the time when I’m out canyon carving, I’m trying to get lost. Well, I’m not putting money down until they put out some kind of similar car. Doesn’t look like it takes much to keep that S13 rollin’.

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      @fli317

      Don’t give up on the FR-S / BRZ based on this review alone! TTAC liked the car; they were just emphasizing how it performs on the track and that good alternatives are available.

      I gather the FR-S/BRZ is a fantastic car on the street and in the canyons.

      But if you are happy with your Nissan 240 and saving $$$, more power to you.

      BTW, if you are looking for a Miata with a backseat, David Kreindler *playfully* described the Mazda3 as such.

      http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/02/review-2012-mazda3-skyactiv-take-two/

  • avatar
    fli317

    Yes, I am still thinking about it. Will probably give it a test drive in the next couple months.


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    CRConrad - +1
  • Re: Ur-Turn: Need A Lyft?

    CRConrad - Also, @28-Cars-Later: Hydrogen is a highly flammable gas — it’s what the Hindenburg was filled with. Don’t drink anything that contains it. In...

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