Tag: Miata

By on May 28, 2019

The Rare Rides series has featured two Capri-adjacent vehicles in past: This car’s immediate predecessor, the ASC McLaren Capri, and its contemporary competitor, the Lotus Elan. Let’s find out how much better the final Capri was than either of those two (or not).

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By on March 5, 2019

Mazda has always been fond of making special edition trims of the MX-5 Miata. In 2003, the engineers in Hiroshima decided to put together something a bit more unique than the usual colored trim/new wheel design combo. Presenting the 2003 Roadster Coupe.

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By on February 11, 2019

If you’re a diehard Miata enthusiast living in the United States and you had your heart set on buying one of the five hundred 30th Anniversary Edition models allocated to America, well, you’ll just have to wait for the secondary market. Within four hours of the introduction of the special edition, all of those U.S. bound pearl* anniversary units were scooped up with deposits placed by eager buyers. (Read More…)

By on February 7, 2019

Mazda is celebrating the original Miata’s 1989 debut at the Chicago Auto Show by taking the wraps off a 30th Anniversary Edition of the MX-5 at the same locale. Limited to just 3,000 units worldwide, the special edition will be offered as both the ragtop convertible and hardtop RF. Like previous anniversary editions of the famous roadster, Mazda is offering a unique color (Racing Orange, this time) and a handful of upgrades that should help collectors rationalize the elevated price tag.

We’re going to tell you right now that the only way to have this car is with a manual transmission. While we tend to always lean that way with the MX-5, having a clutch is the only way to get the 30th Anniversary Edition’s Bilstein dampers and a mechanical limited-slip differential. Otherwise, you’re basically paying extra to have one of the best parts of the package removed from the vehicle.  (Read More…)

By on January 9, 2019

Mazda’s whipping something up to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the MX-5, issuing a teaser to elicit some excitement. Unfortunately, the photo doesn’t give us much to go on. The only meaningful conclusions we can pry from the series of streaks provided by the automaker is that the special-edition Miata can still fit inside a parking garage (phew) and will have a hardtop.

Where has Mazda chosen to celebrate the MX-5’s 30th birthday? The Chicago Auto Show, naturally. That was where the Miata first debuted in 1989, and that is where the manufacturer wants to preview the special edition on its big day. While we still think forgoing a hilarious Chuck E. Cheese tie-in was a minor mistake, both roadster and brand have matured to a point where the more tasteful choice was bound to win. We also have no evidence to support the idea that the pizza party venue was ever under consideration.  (Read More…)

By on August 13, 2018

2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata Soul Red Front Quarter Wide AngleTake a good look at the photos throughout these virtual pages. A really good look. If you haven’t been obsessively reading about the refreshed-for-2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata, you are no doubt puzzled by the “First Drive” tag in the title.

Indeed, Mazda didn’t change anything visually significant in this, the fourth model year of the fourth generation of the legendary Miata. From the outside, the only real clue is the appearance of a gash in the rear bumper for a rear-view camera. But under the hood, it becomes clear that Mazda engineers channeled the storied fictional guitarist in turning the already excellent Miata to eleven.

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By on June 15, 2018

This edition of Buy/Drive/Burn was inspired by the comments some of you left on the recent QOTD Crapwagon Garage post on coupes. Though roadsters and convertibles were off limits there, the conversation turned to them wistfully. Don’t worry, convertible week is coming.

In the meantime, we’ve got a ragtop from 2005 to burn. Which one will it be?

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By on June 11, 2018

Affectionately known as the Miata, Mazda’s MX-5 roadster is a throwback to an era when fun cars were simple. While its evolution included obligatory tech and safety updates, that’s about all the manufacturer added. The recipe for the spry little convertible has always been to deliver a mechanically simple, lightweight, and sporting automobile that adheres to the regulatory mandates of its era.

The end result is a reasonably reliable and totally livable sports car that can be driven enthusiastically at moderate speeds, delivering a pleasurable experience for less than $26,000. It may lack the amenities and passenger occupancy of a larger automobile, but it’s better than a motorcycle — and serves a similar purpose in an infinitely more practical way. Like any sport bike, you purchase the Miata for the visceral and engaging experience it provides. You just have to pay a little more for the benefit of being able hide from mother nature while you’re flicking down the backroads.

If the MX-5 has a single shortcoming, it’s that it is debatably down on power. While many would argue that its sub-2,400 pound curb weight makes the 151-horsepower 2.0-liter more than adequate for delivering a good time, there are vehicles in Miata’s price range that are faster in a straight line. Mazda seems to have a solution to this problem.  (Read More…)

By on April 9, 2018

2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata, Image: Mazda USA

For 2019, Mazda seems ready to offer two things MX-5 Miata buyers have long demanded: more power, plus a steering wheel that reaches towards the driver, instead of just tilting. These are big changes for a model where every minor detail is fussed over by engineers and enthusiasts alike.

The changes are detailed in a document — apparently originating from Mazda Canada — that details the changes coming for 2019. That doc found its way onto Reddit, which was then shared by joyful members of the Miata.net forum. How does an extra 26 horsepower sound? (Read More…)

By on January 30, 2018

2019 Ram 1500

John Le Carre’s superb A Perfect Spy opens with a curious quote, attributed to “Proverb”:

A man who has two women loses his soul. But a man who has two houses loses his head.

I’m not so sure about the first part of that. The virtue of dating two (or more) women is that you don’t expect that any one of them will fulfill all your requirements, which prevents you from becoming overly demanding or difficult with them. As to the second part, all I can tell you is that when I’ve owned rental property I’ve found it to be more hassle than it was worth. I suspect the original author of the proverb was not talking about that situation. Nor was he referring to our blessed above-one-percent crowd who frequently own domiciles on both coasts, or vacation homes in sunny spots. Rather, he probably meant that a man who operates two separate families will lose his mind. This sort of thing was more common in the days before Equifax and cell phones, mind you.

The question becomes: Is owning two cars like loving two women, which is often a good thing, or is it like maintaining two households, which is almost always a bad thing? Before we fall back on the truthful but unsatisfying “it depends,” let’s consider today’s questioner and see if we can’t keep him in sound possession of both soul and head.

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By on December 26, 2017

Mazda MX-5 2018 gray and red

Mazda is offering driving enthusiasts a late Christmas gift by touching up the Miata for 2018 with a bevy of welcome options and a handful of all-inclusive improvements.

Even though nobody complained about the fourth-generation MX-5’s on-road behavior, the manufacturer still tweaked its rear suspension and steering for 2018. It also says it made efforts to reduce undesirable cabin noise. However, the most noticeable alteration for the next model year is the addition of an optional red soft top for the North American market.  (Read More…)

By on September 26, 2017

2004 Mazda MX-5 Miata GT - Image: © Timothy CainMrs. Cain is taking the littlest boy to a baby shower. I’ve got the older boy, a car-loving three-year-old who’s been pleading for a trip to the ice cream barn for days.

I take the car seat out of our Honda Odyssey and am presented with a choice. For roughly 40 minutes of evening driving from Margate to Schurmans Point, around Summerside, and back home, do we take the 2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 4Matic Coupe with its massaging seats and Burmester audio? Or do we opt for our 2004 Mazda MX-5 Miata? It’s fall in Canada, but the heat wave experienced by much of the continent has presented us with a lovely day. Granted, the evening temperature is fast falling, and the boy has a runny nose.

It’s snot a difficult choice to make. The roof goes down, his window stays up, the heater cranks up, the garage door goes down, and we’re off for a father-son bonding session in the best car in the world. (Read More…)

By on August 22, 2017

ND Mazda MX-5 Miata Design Exercises - Image: MazdaThe end result is tasty. Maybe the narrow headlamps are sliced too thinly; the hood cut line that intersects with the housing too obvious. Perhaps the rear end could use a bit more breadth. The wheels still appear a bit small from some angles.

But the fourth-generation Mazda MX-5 Miata — known in Mazda circles as the ND, succeeding the NA, NB, and NC — is generally regarded as an eye-catching, modern, successful evolution of the venerable Mazda sports car.

How did Mazda arrive at the end result? What led Mazda to settle on the final production version? Which styling direction was rejected?

In a fit of transparency, Mazda’s PR department has released the entire background of the process, including 140 photos detailing the evolution of what would become the fourth-generation Mazda MX-5. (Read More…)

By on July 5, 2017

2017_mazda_mx5_rf_soul_red_7Got $2,755?

That’s how much extra coin Mazda wants in order to swap out the 2017 MX-5 Miata’s soft top, install a pair of buttresses, and replace the soft top with a foldable, targa-style hard top.

You’re not just paying $2,755 extra for the seasonal benefits of a hard top. At least half of those two-thousand-seven-hundred-and-fifty-five additional dollars are surely attributed to the RF’s sense of style. Love it or loathe it, the 2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF is a far more eye-catching car than the regular, fourth-generation MX-5.

Nevertheless, the MX-5 Retractable Fastback, which isn’t a fastback and doesn’t have a retractable roof, would be a distinctly more enticing proposition if it could save Miata buyers $2,755, rather than cost Miata buyers an additional $2,755. (Read More…)

By on May 19, 2017

2004 Mazda MX-5 Miata GT - Image: © Timothy Cain

Silver was not my first choice. But after spending weeks on the prowl for an older Mazda Miata, I found the right car within walking distance of my childhood home.

Our new-to-us Miata is a 2004 model with a six-speed manual and only 43,000 miles under its belt. Always stored for the winter, as most Miatas are in this part of eastern Canada, the car is in ridiculously good condition, revving seductively and shifting like nothing else shifts this side of an RX-8.

I’m not a huge fan of the MY2004-2005 OEM wheels. I’d prefer cloth seats. It’s silver, not the black I was after.

But after considering German droptops and Jeep Wranglers and numerous vehicles that did not come close to fulfilling my list of requirements, I couldn’t deny my initial instincts.

I wanted a Miata for 28 years. I have one now. (Read More…)

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