1994 Mazda MX-5 Miata Long-Term Road Test

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1994 Mazda MX-5 Miata: Baseline Track Test

April 22, 2010

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This one's for you, td53. We put Project Miata -- in stock, pre-molested state -- through its paces at the test track to establish its baseline performance. You've seen its baseline dyno performance already, I trust.

Hit the jump for its test track numbers. It turns out 1994 was a long time ago.

Upon purchase, this car was rolling on bald off-brand Chinese tires, so we threw on a set of summer tires and gave it a decent alignment (F: -1.3-deg camber, 0.10" toe out, 4-deg caster; R: -1.6-deg camber, 0.12" toe in). Also, its pads were worn nearly down to the backing plates so we swapped them out for Stoptech 309 street pads.

Other than those changes, it's stock. We brimmed the tank as per our usual protocol, and let 'er rip. Okay, rip isn't the right word. We let 'er meander in a deliberate fashion.

Vehicle: 1994 Mazda MX-5 Miata
Odometer: 174,866
Date: 20Apr10
Driver: Josh Jacquot
Price: $1,750

Specifications:
Drive Type: Rear-wheel drive
Transmission Type: 5-speed manual
Engine Type: DOHC inline-4
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 1839/112
Redline (rpm): 7,000
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 128 @ 6,500 (when new)
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 110 @ 5,500 (ditto)
Brake Type (front): Ventilated disc, single-piston sliding caliper
Brake Type (rear): Solid disc, single-piston sliding caliper
Steering System: Rack-and-pinion
Suspension Type (front): Double wishbone; stabilizer bar; coil springs; adjustable camber, caster and toe
Suspension Type (rear): Double wishbone; stabilizer bar; coil springs; adjustable camber and toe
Tire Size (front/rear): 185/60R14 82H
Tire Brand: Dunlop
Tire Model: Direzza Sport Z1
Tire Type: Summer Performance
Wheel Size: 14x6 inches (front and rear)
Wheel Material (front/rear): aluminum alloy
As Tested Curb Weight (lb): 2,327 pounds (53.1 / 46.9 % F/R)

Test Results:
0 - 30 (sec): 3.4
0 - 45 (sec): 6.5
0 - 60 (sec): 10.9
0 - 75 (sec): 16.6
1/4 Mile (sec @ mph): 17.6 @ 77.2
0 - 60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 10.6

30 - 0 (ft): 31
60 - 0 (ft): 129
Braking Rating: Could be better

Slalom (mph): 64.3
Skid Pad Lateral Acceleration (g): 0.89
Handling Rating: Needs work
Db @ Idle: 51.7
Db @ Full Throttle: 83.8
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 76.0

Accleration Notes:
Clutch doesn't want to be slipped, and second gear refuses to be rushed. Doing so results in a nasty grind. Feels tired. Smells bad, too.

Braking Notes:
Difficult to judge perfect amount of pedal pressure on initial application. Lock them up once and recovery will cost you 10 feet in stopping distance.

Handling Notes:
Skidpad - Slow reacting thanks to everything but its tires being worn out, but still respectably well balanced. Fun, even.

Slalom - Goodness! Plenty of "windup" in the Miata's body during rapid transitions make it somewhat difficult to control. Doesn't like any unevenness in mid-corner. Still, there's some fundamental goodness here - even in a worn-out Miata.

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor @ 174,866 miles.

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