1997 Mazda MX-5 Miata Long Term Road Test

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1997 Mazda MX-5 Miata: Things To Like

April 16, 2012

1997 Mazda MX-5 Miata: Things To Like

Below is a list of things I like about our Miata project car, starting with the one I find most appealing. 

  1. Pedal placement. Cliche, right? Maybe, but every time I drive one of these cars I'm in awe of how right this is. That's a relatively small size 8.5 Piloti covering a good portion of both pedals. Sure, I'll admit I didn't drive it hard on a track so I can't comment on the effectiveness point like Kurt did. Still, during street driving, heel and toe use is awesomely easy.
  2. Bump travel. It's an often-overlooked yet critical component of making a first-generation MX-5 work right when lowered. And, holy crap, is this thing ever lowered. Yet it can still be driven hard into an unexplored corner with little concern. It's a trait my boosted Miata distinctly lacked back in the day.
  3. There's some measure of chassis rigidity. As long as we're crapping on my old Miata, here's another area where it fell measurably short. Now I'm not saying this car is a structural masterpiece -- no, there's still some twist in there -- but it's certainly better than stock.
  4. It's not perfect. There are years of patina both inside and outside this car, which makes it somehow more endearing. I see the value in items that are well worn but still work right and this car is a perfect example. Kudos to Jay Kavanagh here.
  5. There's no urge to drop the top and sunburn my scalp -- something I did far too often when I owned a soft top Miata.

Josh Jacquot, Senior editor 136,655 miles

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