1997 Mazda MX-5 Miata Long Term Road Test

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1997 Mazda MX-5 Miata: Flying Under the Radar

February 04, 2011

Damn, this 1997 Mazda MX-5 Miata is so much fun to drive. The above video (warning: turn sound off) of Project Miata editor JayKav's 24 Hours of Lemons racecar in last year's Thunderhill race is the closest way I can convey what it feels like to drive this long-termer. (Yes, there is a turbocharged Miata underneath that Enterprise disk.)

Our Miata's quickness and nimbleness make it really easy to just get around all the slow pokes on the city streets. And I credit its ability to jump in front of other motorists without offending them due to its low-to-the-groundness and diminutive stature. Now, if I pulled that same maneuver in a larger car, like a Honda Civic, I know for a fact it would incite road rage. 

As it is, the Miata flies below most everyone's eyeline and disappears before it even occurs to the other motorist that someone (me) got around them. But although it's a blast to drive in the daytime because of that, I find it kinda dicey at night for the same reason. This is compounded by the fact that the huuuge headlights really aren't all that great.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor

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