By on February 8, 2011

In the rarefied world of auto journalism, EVO magazine has assumed a place at the top of the food chain, for its derring-do tales of “flat out motoring”, performance car snobbery of the highest order and rich douchebag “contributors” whose only qualification is owning an absurdly expensive car that masquerades as a “long term tester”.

Like foodies, hipsters and other urban vermin, the EVO crew clearly gets off on the elitism of motoring rather than the appreciation of an automobile or the joy of driving. Figures then, that Chris Harris, supposedly a thinking man’s Jeremy Clarkson, criticized the Mazda MX-5 as being “shit”. According to Harris, the Mazda is “slow, imprecise and unsatisfying”. On what planet?

Harris goes on to state

I don’t really see it as a sports car at all – it never feels like one through your legs, feet and bottom – because sportscars are supposed to be exciting. And the MX-5 isn’t exciting. An Elise is exciting because it’s a proper sports car, whereas the MX-5 is just a way of being a little more exposed to the elements.

Harris apparently has some kind of outside income, since he seems to drive a 997 GT3, which leads us to the inverse problem that most journalists have. Since many earn a meagre living and own crappy cars, everything feels amazing in relation to them. Harris, on the other hand, is effectively stating that the tuna tartar isn’t bluefin and therefore not fit for his consumption. It would be easy to dismiss this as a way of trolling to draw attention to the site, but our author claims that this isn’t the case. When prodded in the comments, he justifies his reasoning in a rather vague manner.

There’s a wallowy loose-ness to it as well: you turn, the bodyshell flexes, the steering column shifts, the suspension rubbers compress – it’s actually very hard to get feedback from the car at all. In this respect almost any hot hatch is better: certainly the 205s/AXs are much more appealing in the way they steer and respond.

If you couldn’t tell from the picture, I own a 1st generation Miata, and it’s been to the track on several occasions. I agree, it does feel a little soft but it’s also a 15-20 year old car. I haven’t had the pleasure of tracking the new car, but people I trust – and by that I mean people with competition licenses and racing experience, say it is lovely. For my money, I have yet to find anything more satisfying in a tactile way than my car. I find its small size helps me place the car wherever I want on a road course. I love the way I can feel what all four corners are doing, whether the front is about to push due to more throttle than necessary, or the subtle pulsating of the limited slip as it starts to lock.

And even though such a pursuit is considered to be the sole dominion of hairdressers and pantywaists, there is nothing like dropping the top on the first day of spring, cranking Abraxas through the not-bad headrest speakers and scaring a lady friend with (to borrow EVO’s most famous phrase) “a dab of oppo” while driving “flat out” through a highway ramp. I have taken my car to the track more than a few times, and have even had a successful club racer (the former coach and now rival of TTAC’s Jack Baruth, in fact) in the car as both a driver and instructor. Never once has he complained about a steering column flexing or bushings that crumble under load. Of course, a dumb North American auto journo couldn’t possibly suss out vehicle dynamics without the benefit of a blast up to Wales and back, so I’ll have to take his word for it.

Sure, there are so many better cars than my Miata. After say, the Ford Shelby GT500, it does feel like a tin can piece of crap, but really, what else can be expected? The same logic applies here. If all Harris does is drive the top echelon of sports cars, then an of course an entry-level roadster with a wheezing four-banger will feel “slow” and “imprecise”, especially if one’s daily mount is a 997 GT3, one of the all-time great sports cars.

In my teens, I loved EVO Magazine, because spouting off whatever opinions I read in it made me feel superior to other people when discussing cars. I thought that every car had to be a hardcore performance machine, and had grand visions of me wheeling my parents BMW 530i on full opposite lock, or lifting the inside rear wheel of their MKV Jetta 2.0T on the way to school. No surprise that I became an insufferable knob when it came to discussing the merits of automobiles. When a friend’s mom got a 128i convertible, I scoffed at the notion. Why wouldn’t she buy a 135i with the M Sport Package, 6-speed manual and Brembo brakes. It didn’t matter that she was over 50, used the car mostly for recreation and could not drive stick. Anything else was just not acceptable, not quite “EVO” enough.

I was too young to realize that the “Troy Queef” column in Sniff Petrol, one of my favourite online publications, directly lampooned the kind of breathlessly inane verbiage that is in EVO every single month without fail. The overwrought prose, the nonsensical, erudite English metaphors, the pumped-up tales of vehicular bravado, are all like the “Penthouse Letters” for auto geeks. When EVO first came on the scene, it was a welcome relief from the U.S. magazines full of Valentine One ads and “journalism” that hit as hard as yogurt flung from a drinking straw. Of course, jerking it to magazines and actually nailing porn stars are very different things, and rest assured the crew in England are firmly on the onanism side of the scale.

Since then, the magazine has become laughably predictable. Anything built for the “common man” will fare poorly – the latest Mercedes CLS500, a car that is by all accounts sublime scored 3.5 stars because

it’s precisely the car Merc wants it to be, but at the moment it’s not quite the car we want it to be.

Yes, Evo is supposed to be a performance magazine, but for 99.9% of the readership, who can’t afford or don’t drive a 964 much less a brand new Porsche, the CLS500 is beyond the amount of car they could ever need. Just to confirm I’m not ridiculous, they criticized the KTM X-Bow R for not being light enough, despite having a curb weight of around 1738 lbs and a 320 horsepower engine. With these kinds of standards, it’s not unreasonable to think that the MX-5 and its predecessors wouldn’t pass muster with the EVO crew. Conversely, it also shows us how irrelevant the “enthusiast” media is, as it delves from an accurate portrayal of how a vehicle behaves when pushed to the limits, to jerk-it fodder for the kind of people who like the image and identity attached to performance cars and high speed driving rather than the discipline, preparation and investment (mental, physical and monetary) that comes with it.

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71 Comments on “In Defense Of: The Mazda MX-5...”

  • avatar

    ‘Like foodies’
    God, I recoiled in horror when I read that.  The newspaper here uses ‘foodies’ as though it’s a term to be proud of.  To me, it would be about as flattering as being called a ‘douchebag’.

  • avatar

    Anyone with enough worldly perspective will ultimately come to the conclusion that EVO articles and the like are entertainment and not a lot more. The articles serve that purpose well. They aren’t going to change what you buy so much as they fill your head with numbers and data, none of which has any use in the grand scheme of things. Still, they’re fun, and any acerbic cynicism directed at them is taking them a bit more seriously that they deserve.
    Still, a great article.

  • avatar

    <Queef> “The magazine EVO is a bitch, and you spanked it. </Queef>
    Hee-hee! Nicely done.

  • avatar

    “If you can’t go fast with 90hp, 900hp won’t help you.” -Bwob

  • avatar

    Hmm… I’ve never seen EVO but now I want to, to see how bad it really is.
    And then throw it out.

  • avatar

    I am nowhere within the realm of being able to afford a CLS550 or 997…so I guess I’m not qualified to talk about “real” cars…but I will say this…I test drove a 2007 Miata the other day (in as close to British Racing Green as could be)…close five-speed, clutch pedal that almost read my mind…simple dash with no pretenses and the manual (yes…manual…not even a power top…horrors) top down.  It was nirvana, and it’s all I can think about as far as the car I want to see sitting in my garage…right now!  At $13,000, it’s a zero or so away from anything that I suppose would be considered a “proper” sports car…but I could care less.  I walked away from the 30 minute test drive with nothing but the goofiest grin on my face, and can’t remember driving a car that felt so intuitive.  To each his own, I suppose…guess I’m just a poor schmuck who doesn’t know any better…

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      Speaking of the NC, is there anything behind that bulge in the lower dashboard next to the center stack? Turns out I can fit comfortably in one, except that dumb bulge hits me just below my right kneecap.

  • avatar
    M 1

    Aw, shumbuddy’s feewings got hurted?
    A truly interesting and damnably more complex question is whether EVO or the MX5 sucks the most.

  • avatar

    sounds like he likes stiffer cars. 205/as meaning a 3-door hatchback?  i imagine it’s stiffer than a cabrio.  i think my 240 is lovely and i like to lean it in a turn but i know that my mom’s 325 will go faster and flatter.
    lots of smoke but no fire.

  • avatar

    I haven’t driven too many cars due to my lack of money and age, but out of all the “exciting” cars I’ve driven (C5 Z06, 911 C4S, 350Z) nothing makes me smile more than my NA Miata. After adding $1,000 of turbo and ECU management goodness to it I manage to outdrive most of those kinds of cars at the track any day.
    Any time somebody is boozing the haterade and dissing the Miata I just give them a 5 minute drive and their opinion ALWAYS changes dramatically.

  • avatar

    It’s a damning indictment of that publication that an article with this title ever needed to be written.

  • avatar

    I’ve owned Porsche 911 & 928S, various BMWs, Mercedes, Audis, etc. and my Miata was by far the best bang for the buck. I joined the Peak to Peak Miata club and raced at Second Creek. I’d rather drive a Miata at 80% than a Porsche or M3 at 20%. Clarkson is just jealous — the Miata is a Lotus Elan homage that actually works.

    • 0 avatar

      Clarkson loves the Miata.
      “The fact is that if you want a sports car, the MX-5 is perfect. Nothing on the road will give you better value. Nothing will give you so much fun. The only reason I’m giving it five stars is because I can’t give it 14.”

  • avatar
    Jeff Waingrow

    Derek, what are your thoughts about urban foodie vermin MX-5 owners? Still wouldn’t be too good, right? 

  • avatar

    @Jeff, they get around by bicycle, public transit or Prius, so it’s a moot point.

  • avatar

    This pretty much fits the bill:

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Seriously?  The Miata is shit?  Oh yeah cause it’s not an effin’ Porsche. 

    Thank god it’s not a Porsche, it might make it to 200,000 miles with nothing more than typical preventative maint. and an occasional clutch.  Oh and the bill for the 60,000 mile service won’t be larger than the GDP of some small African countries. 

    Obviously it’s totally crap.  (FYI the Miata and the Corvette are the only two 2 seat cars I lust over and would ever seriously consider owning, even if I won the lottery.) 

    • 0 avatar

      Hear, hear! Though my lusty race cars are the Corvette and the S2000 (erring on more power and erring on more road feel, respectively).
      Lottery winner? Ehhhhh… Vette Z06, ZR1 or Ferarri 430 Scuderia or 458 Italia. Sorry! At those $$$ numbers, I’m a bit of a sell-out. How about Ferrari in my USA McMansion, and Corvette in my Tuscan villa?

  • avatar

    Haters gonna hate and snobbers gonna snob.
    Just drive what you like, like what you drive, and don’t let opinions from internet people or Top Gear get to you.

  • avatar

    It’s not a car for everyone. Certainly not for the spoiled.

  • avatar

    My wife and I own a 2007 MX5 sport. 5 speed, pretty basic, but does have A/C. We love this car because it is a thrill to drive and I do drive it more aggressively than my Impala. Is it a supercar? No, but find something comparable that’s half as good! Yeah, I’d like a Corvette, but that’s beyond my reach for now. Elitists are not on my short list of friends, actually nowhere near my list. I just laugh at those disposed to feel superior to me or anyone else. Pretty sad if you ask me, but I guess that’s how they sell magazines. Do they?

  • avatar
    Kevin Jaeger

    I’ve never heard of EVO or Chris Harris, but I can certainly understand if your daily driver is a 997 GT3 you’d find a Miata somewhat unexciting.
    For me, I own a first gen Miata and it’s the most fun I’ve had to drive since I was a kid in a go-kart.  Nope, it certainly doesn’t have the awesome power of a real sports car but that’s not what the car’s about.

  • avatar

    When I read this I think of the guy last week that got his Ferrari ran over by the F-150. There he was on the side of the road in his skin tight yellow  ferrari t shirt complaining about the f 150 when HE was driving on the wrong side of the road. The truth is if you have FUN in your car it’s a great car. I’ve taken my zx3 to the track, and out on the canyon roads many times. I have a great time in it. I realize to a lot of people my car is “Shit”, But I sure do love it. I loved your story, great writing.

  • avatar

    An MX-5 has all the virtues, and none of the vices, of legendary 1960s sports cars like Elans, MGBs and Alfas. Chris Harris is full of what he accuses the MX-5 of being.

  • avatar

    I suppose if you want publicity, go after the one vehicle that every enthusiast has massive respect for. The resulting publicity will be a dead cat bounce, though.

  • avatar

    Derek, I hear you with this article, but you’re just feeding the troll.

  • avatar

    I think the best explanation is when Lewis Hamilton explained why he drove a Mercedes G-Wagon. He said that compared to the F1 car he drives professionally, what excitement is a sportscar going to give him.

    • 0 avatar

      Lewis lied of course, which his hooning incident in Oz proves. His whole persona was carefully managed by Anthony back then, and the car was necesserily a part of that.

    • 0 avatar

      That’s not how I remember it, Pete: The car belonged to an MB dealership who asked him to show off, and it was on a closed-off city street. Also, at that specific time, he had split with his father as manager. Lewis has been in the spotlight since he was little, and he doesn’t need his persona managed (whatever that means).

    • 0 avatar

      Actually there are quite a bunch of F1 drivers who made similar comments. Of course, the engine suppliers like to see ‘their’ drivers in one of their own products, but I remember One Pablo saying he drove an X5 (no M3?) and Jenson Button in his Honda days drove a Civic (not even a Type-R).

      That said; nowadays pretty much all the F1 drivers of the Mercedes powered teams (so, Mercedes GP, McLaren and Force India) drive a C63. Not that that is a particularly ‘sporty’ car but at least moreso than the other offering of the threepointed star (Shuey also keeps a GL and an S65 around and still has at least one Ferrari).

  • avatar

    In a Miata you can average fifty-five miles per hour on back country roads, never squealing a tire, never exceeding sixty. It’s a car that rewards smooth driving and good maintenance of momentum and can be placed so that you hit that napkin with any tire you like.
    I don’t know how Chris Harris came to the conclusion that the steering lacks feel; it’s got almost zero bump steer, decent trail, and it weighs so little manual steering is perfectly fine. The only thing I’ve driven that’s better is a racing kart.

  • avatar

    you guys shouldnt even have acknowledged that douchebag’s comments with the first post.  Answering for it with this one gives him even more attention.  Now that I know he drives a GT3, it all makes sense… stereotypical Porsche owners snob attitude, that gives real Porsche drivers a bad name.  Notice I said drivers… because drivers are different from owners.

  • avatar
    Ethan Gaines

    Not going to lie, I fit into that elitist/vermin stereotype (I take no offense by the way, people always tend to think I am an asshole), even though I drive the truly fun cars, the only reason I don’t own a MX-5 is because I am way to tall to fit in one (and I broke the suspension in one that belonged to a close friend, not so close anymore…), but I have always wanted one. I’m sure many of the writers at EVO would love to drive a MG or a Lotus from the 60’s and call it and amazing visceral experience, but what’s the difference in that experience with the one the Miata gives? (Other than reliability) Snobs tend to annoy, but car snobs, they don’t even deserve to own a car, no matter how much damn money they have.

  • avatar

    I love my Miata, but I would probably also prefer a Porsche GT3 over it.
    The unfavorable comparison to hot hatches though… that’s surprising, given how “warm” many of them have become.  It sounds like this guy values chassis rigidity and power more than the rest of us.

  • avatar
    johnny ro

    He’s right, in his way. His commenters are knowledgable. A decent read. He is wrong in the overall sense, since most people don’t think of sports cars to be what he wants which seems to be leading edge track cars.
    My ’99 has 25k on the clock. It has a pretty soft structure, bothers me but not others who ride in it. I spent money and time on several chassis braces. Its a bit better, but not a stiff car. Not much power.
    Its a quiet unassuming small fun open car.
    If Mazda wanted it to have 240 hp and go 3x the speed limit, then that is what they would have built.
    They wanted it to be fun at 0.8 to 1.5 times, fun and safe and sound and cheap and accessible to all drivers (skill not body size). Its great for what it is.
    Imagine how he would pan a porsche 550. or 356. or dino 246. Low powered overrated rubbish? by his standard, yes, and he is right.

  • avatar

    I know the miata has a huge following and It a good little car, but is EVO really that far off? Outside of a course or the 10 times a year that you can really have an opportunity to drive the wheels off a car the miata is pretty boring. Its popular because it is the easiest, cheapest way to get a small rear drive car. Its an honest little sucker with tons of aftermarket support and has a spec class that makes having a competitive car pretty affordable for everyday joes. I’m not a hardcore track guy like most internet commentators(rolleyes), but I have owned one 100% dedicated track car(I mean trailers and spares track car) and have participated in club racing and factory sponsored track events. But really anyhting with decent steering and brakes that doesn’t make diapers required safety equipment is gonna be some fun on the track. To me a miata is boring to drive in everyday type situations. A hot hatch like a GTI will outperform a miata in basically every spectrum of performance and you actually get a quality interior. Most SUV’s and minivans can run right along with a miata. I can’t stand people who are all about hardcore cars that think anyhting with a sunroof has too much weight. That is about the dorkiest crap out there. But at the same time, there is absolutly nothing fun about a car with no power in everyday driving. The miata gets a big fail from me. And honestly, as far as regular sunday driving street cars are concerned, I feel the prices of 986 boxsters make the miata irrelevant. That is about the only slow car that is still a blast to drive to and from work whether you take the long way or the short way home.

    • 0 avatar
      Sam P

      The price of an IMS failure on a 986 Boxster and the resulting engine damage will pay for a very nice used Miata. With the price of used Boxster + IMS failure, that’s close to the price of a new Miata.

    • 0 avatar

      If you drive in everyday situations in a way that a Miata does not seem to have sufficient power, then you’re probably racing from red light to red light and I really have no interest in sharing a road with you.

    • 0 avatar

      I have a GTI and an MR2 Spyder… the MR2 is pretty comparable to the Miata in performance, and I have driven a few Miatas as well.  The GTI is definitely faster than both, but the MR2 is more fun to drive.  The Miatas I have driven have all been a blast to drive, even just around town.  If you seriously think they have “no power” then you miss the point entirely.

      And Boxster prices have come down so low for a reason… the maintenance and repairs are outrageous compared to the Miata.  Cheap reliable and fun, and a rwd convertible too… THATS why the Miata is popular with drivers.

    • 0 avatar

      I have a 55 mile, 1.5 hour commute each way, 5 days a week. The only thing that makes this drive tolerable is the joy of highway on/off ramps, curves, and corners. Low-speed tail-out antics are always satisfying.
      Yeah, I can’t wait for summer when I can cruise with the top down and kick ass at autocross events. But it’s a fact that I still have fun on boring, long commutes in my Miata, even in winter. This is not true of other cars I’ve driven.
      I would not trade my Miata for a more practical commuter car. Not a chance.

    • 0 avatar

      For years Mazda intentionally avoids granting this car torque that people ALSO enjoy in day to day driving, and/or corner exit enjoyment on track, keeping me and my money on the sidelines waiting until they get that message. Other than that, its a delight to drive, a friend owns an MX5 and before that, a Miata which I’ve driven, and also instructed in a Miata on track.
      There have been so many excellent reviews of this car, frankly I’m surprised to see this article written. Who is EVO and why would anyone care? So I suspect this article is just a disguised promotion for EVO magazine. Not such a strange reaction. The tip off? The first sentence, way over the top praise, don’t you think?

  • avatar

    I guess whether you agree with Chris Harris all depends on what your definition of “sports car” is. One definition brings you to the Porsche lineup, and something as pedestrian as a MX-5 isn’t going to cut it. If your definition of “sports car” comes more from the British tradition, then the MX-5 makes all the sense in the world.

    Having both owned an MGB and spent time behind the wheel of Miatas and MX-5s, I say Mazda hit the nail on the head with them. They’re light, not too powerful, somewhat softly sprung but a blast to drive and completely reliable.

    Like my mother told me as a kid when I didn’t want to eat lobster, “Well, I guess there’s more for the rest of us.”

  • avatar

    Well, all I know is on the track a well driven Miata will pass much faster (on paper) not-so-well driven cars. With ease. I know cause it’s happened to me…being passed, that is.

  • avatar
    Jack Baruth

    Mr. Harris has accumulated a serious resume as a driver but I don’t think he has ever understood how to write about cars.

  • avatar

    The Miata came very close to my fondly remembered TR 4 experience, on my only test drive. I prefer our S 2000, but mostly for the horsepower.
    Unfair I know,, but the L 76 Corvette was in a different league.

  • avatar

    …for the kind of people who like the image and identity attached to performance cars and high speed driving rather than the discipline, preparation and investment (mental, physical and monetary) that comes with it.

    A perfect description of the people who’d like to buy a CLS500, if you’d ask me. It’s based on the E-Class platform, which might have a bunch of qualities but sportiness is not one of them. Sure, they will have fiddled with the springs and dampers a bit but bottom line is, a regular, non M-sport package equipped 5 series will run rings around it.

  • avatar

    Chris Harris makes great videos for Evo. I’ve read little of his writing (and I don’t think he writes much anyway) but I really like that guy. YouTube him.

    I don’t doubt the Miata seems unfavorable when you just bought an almost-new GT3.


  • avatar

    I’ve got to disagree with the author here. I love the mx-5 and so does, I would argue, EVO magazine as a whole. I was in an airport just last week reading an EVO article featuring a turbo retrofit kit for MkI Miatas, and the closing line was something to the effect of, “still want that Elise?” They clearly hate the car to such an extent that they’re still doing articles about improving decades old versions of it, and in closing comparing the car favorably to the ultimate enthusiast niche vehicle. It’s also constantly praised in many of their used buy features.
    Chris Harris is a track and drift enthusiast mainly, so his opinion is probably best taken as a benchmark against the higher limit performance cars. Frankly, the publication is better off for it, you really can’t compare a track prepped GT3 (or whatever) against a Miata by his standard, and that standard is certainly a valid one. He clearly does want a hard suspension and limit overwhelming torque in every car, and given his documented propensity for oversteer, he’s right by those standards to condemn any car that isn’t excellent at the task. Let me put it another way, in the US Mr. Harris would be a Corvette guy with a capital “C”. I think we could accept that a bit easier if the cars weren’t different and he didn’t have the accent, but to my eyes it’s the same thing.
    I don’t, after all, condemn all of TTAC for having writers who value back road averse highway cars (cough…panther). And really, I’d rather be stabbed in the face than own one of those.

    • 0 avatar

      There’s a difference in merely having a preference, and slagging on the cars that aren’t that preference. The former is normal, the latter is BS.

      Harris has a preference for a certain type of car. But he also has a near total inability to understand any car that isn’t that preference, and that’s where he is a mental failure.

      So your last paragraph is pretty meaningless, as Derick isn’t slamming Harris’s automotive preference or saying he’s an idiot for having that preference. Harris is getting slammed for not understanding anything outside that narrow range of preference, which is a completely different thing.

  • avatar

    Thanks, Derek – I certainly don’t question the lineage of Porsche or Ferrari; these guys have spent buckets o’ money to make their cars fast, luxurious and very profitable while laying lots of money to consistently race them. But this EVO piece entirely misses the point that some large majority of folks on the planet don’t have that kind of money, or won’t spend that kind of money for something which also serves as transportation. Mazda in particular deserves props for injecting some driving involvement into most of what they make, and the Miata/MX-5 is, with the exception of its anti-tall-people bias, about as perfect a rendition of the “sports” car as is produced today. It is reasonably raw, given the market requirements of the day, it will dance with the best of the 60’s sports cars and in the hands of a competent driver can be ridiculously fast around a track. The S2000 is now gone, the Z4 has morphed into a fat boulevardier (SLK competition) and there is simply no other competitor which offers the price/performance ratio of even the least expensive MX-5.

  • avatar

    Our own Jack Baruth is a good example here… obviously the man likes Porsches, last I read he owned 3 of them.  But in all his articles, I never get a vibe of disdain for cars that cannot compete with those elite performance cars.  He shows appreciation for all types of cars based on what they were designed to be.  Thats what I think a real enthusiast should do, especially one who writes about cars.  I cant see myself ever owning a Town Car, but I can appreciate why those who love them do so.  I love the GT3 more than any other car on the planet, but that doesnt mean I cant appreciate a Miata or a Mustang equally as well for different reasons.

    • 0 avatar

      But in all his articles, I never get a vibe of disdain for cars that cannot compete with those elite performance cars. He shows appreciation for all types of cars based on what they were designed to be.

      Jack isn’t snotty about it, but he does have a preference for certain manufacturers’ choices about how they design and engineer their products.  It’s still bias, but it’s like saying you’re biased towards steak instead of fusion cuisine.

    • 0 avatar

      After what I suffered last week, I take a little more time to think about my comments before I write them, ’cause they may not come off to others as I see them in my mind’s eye. As an unabashed Chevy and, by extension, a GM fan, I will not overlook their sins anymore than unfairly disparage other OEM’s just because I prefer a certain make/model over them. I do believe that there is a bit of anti-GM bias by TTAC, but I overlook that and try to focus on the bigger picture and consider all sides of any issue. As for the anti-Panther rant last week, I meant that tongue-in-cheek but it came off different and I made the retraction, because just because I like GM products currently, it wasn’t always that way and was really fond of many Fords, past and present, not to mention Chryslers and AMC’s various offerings through the years. After all, I drive a run-of-the-mill 2004 Impala (personalized, of course, as I am an enthusiast in that sense). I’ll have my steak medium, please, and hold the fish for the next meal!

  • avatar
    Jeff Waingrow

    mnmforever: Very well said! In fact, perfect.

  • avatar
    jd arms

    Not much to add at this point that hasn’t been said already.  I’m biased – I have an NB as my beater car.  It sits in the garage most of the time (taking up very little space).  It gets most of its use on weekends.  I use it heavily in the summer.  Totally stock, ’99, 135,000 on the odometer.  I got it used 2 years ago for around $3,500, and have put less than 4,000 miles on it.  Aside for the occasional excursion into the NorCal foothills, its main duties include such mundane tasks as: taking my daughter to the pool, taking the dogs to the vet, going to the bank, getting milk at the store, returning to the hardware store for that tool or screw or sandpaper grain I thought I had, but didn’t, picking up a pizza or fast food when we don’t feel like cooking.  Possibly the moment of greatest “prestige” for our beater MX-5….my wife and daughter decorated it as a float for our neighborhood’s annual 4th of July parade (organized by the multiple teachers, nurses, cop and firemen that heavily populate my middle-class neighborhood – no one can really afford a supercar, but there are some older Acuras and a few garaged 70’s muscle cars and lots of trucks).  My daughter and her friend then dressed up like parade queens and waved to the neighbors as the procession of red, white and blue laden bikes, dogs, little kids, tricyles, strollers, wagons, the old guy with the Model-T, etc, meandered through the neighborhood following a firetruck at about 2-3 miles per hour.  

    The thing is, in any of these boring little tasks involving the MX-5, I almost always leave the car with a grin and say, I love that beat-up little car…its pretty hilarious. And to think I almost bought a boat for about $12,000 more!

  • avatar
    Uncle Mellow

    Chris Harris used to write for “Autocar” magazine , and he was full of sh*t then – though he was better at making videos.

  • avatar
    John B


    Re:  “Clarkson is just jealous — the Miata is a Lotus Elan homage that actually works.’

    Clarkson didn’t write this review, Chris Harris did.  Clarkson is on the recod as stating the MX-5 is brilliant.

  • avatar

    Miata is a cool car.  500 HP is nice, but you can still have a blast on a country road with a well balanced RWD 4-cyl.  I sure miss my 79 Celica GT.  I guess that was a s&it car too…

  • avatar

    Well, thanks for defending the Miata. Just wanted to point out that Jeremy Clarkson from Top Gear reviewed the latest Miata NC2 and gave it a 5 out of 5 stars.

    If that guy has nothing but good things to say about the Miata, well….I’m gonna go buy one

    Oh, yeah…Not to mention the many years of winning Car and Driver’s 10Best Cars. Yep, definitely gonna buy one.

  • avatar

    A thinking man’s Jeremy Clarkson? What use would a thinking man have for a Jeremy Clarkson?

  • avatar
    johnny parmesan

    I’ll go to the Great Big Rest Stop one day knowing that my ’92 Miata will have been one of the most memorable, most fun cars I’ve owned. Fastest? Nope. Best handling? Um, certainly right up there. But for a complete package of pure, clean heel-and-toe with a little bit of oppo-lock, I won’t own much better. That car didn’t have great big balls of steel, but it sure could dance!

  • avatar

    The problem I see with too many writers (legitimate authors and commenters alike) is that they fail to frame their opinions around context all too often. Of course a Miata will seem soft and useless when the benchmark is a GT3 or any other world fighting car, it’s a Miata! Taken in their own, obviously very different contexts they’re both fantastic cars and it’s okay to say that.
    PS- I checked out this kid’s old website a couple of times; keep up the good work, kid, you’re coming along very well as a writer.

  • avatar

    Well said. Came off of a Boxster with a blown engine to a mazdaspeed mx5 miata. This thing is very very stiff, stiffer than the Porsche, probably faster stock and definitely faster with some simple bolt on mods. Stone reliable, good AC, radio, shot peened close ratio 6 spd gearbox, etc.Low mileage examples are to be had dirt cheap. Or you can buy a normal miata and easily supercharge or turbo it, add whatever kind of suspension you like through the huge aftermarket. What’s not to like? Only the somewhat cra ped space for a 6′ bigger person, but this too can be cured through the aftermarket. I am talking myself out of selling nine now!

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