The Three-Pedal Dance - 1997 Mazda MX-5 Miata Long-Term Road Test
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1997 Mazda MX-5 Miata Long Term Road Test

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1997 Mazda MX-5 Miata: The Three-Pedal Dance

February 08, 2012

1997 Mazda MX-5 Miata: The Three-Pedal Dance 

I love manual transmissions. I love mastering a heel-toe downshift so that's it's only heard, not felt. But I'm having a little difficulty with our little Miata.

It's not the pedal placement, no, that's perfect; it's the brake pedal stroke. Even though our Miata has steel-braided brake lines, the pedal feels a little squishy (technical term, I know). I was taught that the brake should be adjusted so that a "7" pedal (a 1 pedal is just barely dragging the pads and a 10 pedal is full panic OMG braking) would bring the brake and gas pedal even. That'll allow for an easy throttle blip between gears as you're braking before turn-in.

As it is, our Miata's pedals are on the same plane with only a "4" pedal. If I'm not careful, I'll hit both pedals at the same time. It also means heel-toeing is awkward and difficult. I'm not sure if we need to bleed the brakes or if there's an adjustment available, but it can sure use some sort of a fix.

Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor

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