1997 Mazda MX-5 Miata Long-Term Road Test

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1997 Mazda Miata: Fuel Economy Update March-ish

April 4, 2014

1997 Mazda Miata

Over the past few months, we've driven the Miata. As such, we've also put gas into its tank.

How far have we driven? How much fuel have we used? You're going to have to click through to find out.

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1997 Mazda Miata: Fuel Economy Update for October

November 6, 2013

1997 Mazda Miata

Since most editors treat this thing like a rusty razor blade, our 1997 Mazda Miata didn't cover a lot of ground in October. Still, we managed to run two tanks of gas through its tank. Click on through to see the numbers over the time of our ownership.

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1997 Mazda MX-5 Miata: Fuel Economy Update for September

October 3, 2013

1997 Mazda MX-5 Miata

During the month of September we put 563 miles on our supercharged 1997 Mazda MX-5 Miata project car. We averaged 23.8 mpg for the month on 91-octane fuel, and the car's lifetime fuel economy average rose just slightly to 22.5 mpg.

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1997 Mazda MX-5 Miata: Fuel Economy Update for June

July 2, 2013

1997 Mazda MX-5 Miata

During the month of June we put 814 miles on our 1997 Mazda MX-5 Miata. That's not overly surprising, as the Miata is more of a project car than one of our usual long-termers, and as such generally doesn't get a ton of miles put on it. Plus, it's small. And old. And what with the racing seat and stiff suspension, you make some compromises when you choose to drive this thing.

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1997 Mazda MX-5 Miata: Fuel Economy Update for April

May 7, 2013

1997 Mazda MX-5 Miata

If you've been following our Project Miata lately, you know it's had some issues.

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1997 Mazda Miata: The Drive Home

March 19, 2013

1997 Mazda Miata

Now there was this little matter of getting home.

After my soggy days at Laguna Seca, the mostly clear skies and drying pavement were a welcome sight. It was well after 4pm when I rolled into the closest gas station I could find, but I knew the road home pretty well: get to the 101 and drive south for a few hundred miles, pick up the 405 south and I'm home before I know it.

I was so relaxed that I popped into the usual coffee chain, grabbed a sandwich and a latte (it was a big, manly latte) and finished them both before getting back into the car. I even thought of reattaching the stereo faceplate for some music. Hey, at least I thought about it.

There was no stress as I reset the trip meter, eager to compare my on-track mileage to an honest tank of 65 mile an hour highway driving, and drove towards the 101. The sky was clear, the roads were dry...and that was to be the last I saw of those conditions.

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1997 Mazda MX-5 Miata: Fuel Economy Update for February

March 5, 2013

1997 Mazda MX-5 Miata

Project Miata didn't roll much in February, and the addition of a couple hundred miles on its odometer didn't alter its average fuel economy numbers from January's update.

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1997 Mazda MX-5 Miata: Fuel Economy Update for January

February 4, 2013

1997 Mazda MX-5 Miata

The plus side about building an engine offline (more info here, here and here) for Project Miata is that it avoids prolonged downtime for the car, so we can continue to use and enjoy it in parallel. Of course, this also means your hair's not on fire to slam the engine together and slap it in the car. It's been on the engine stand for several weeks, gradually being prepped as time allows.

In the meantime, during the month of January we drove Project Miata, our 1997 Mazda MX-5 Miata, about 600 miles. It uses some oil, some of which is oozing out of the tired old valve cover gasket and making for a grungy engine. Otherwise, it just runs and runs. During those four weeks the little green TicTac averaged 23.8 miles per gallon of 91 octane premium.

Not bad for a modified first-gen Miata.

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor @ 140,650 miles.

Worst Fill MPG:9.6
Best Fill MPG: 26.5
Average Lifetime MPG:22.1
EPA MPG Rating (City/Highway Combined): 20 city/26 highway/22 combined
Best Range: 292.2 miles
Current Odometer: 140,650 miles

Note: Cars are sometimes refueled before their fuel tanks are nearly empty. As such, "best" and "worst" fuel economy entries above are not necessarily the result of an entire tank's worth of driving.

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1997 Mazda MX-5 Miata: Not Immune To Fuel Cost

April 13, 2012

photo.JPG

It's no doubt better than filling up a truck, but this struck me last night night when I fueled the Miata. No point in reliving the golden days when I was a Miata owner and filling up cost $20. Still, breaking the $50 milestone to fill this tiny car resonates with me. 

It's going to be a long summer. 

Josh Jacquot, Senior editor @ 136,620 miles 

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1997 Mazda MX-5 Miata: The Beauty Of Dual-Purpose Cars, Epilogue

July 19, 2011

project_miata_r34_wheresthegas_resized.JPG 

And here you thought this thread had ended. In a way, the adventure had only just begun.

First, please enjoy this idyllic photo of Project Miata parked rakishly on the side of a Carmel country road.

Dead.

We'd done five sessions at Laguna Seca; the car had run like a top. Heck, it didn't even need to be refueled for the entire day. Miatas are great like that. No fuel slosh issues -- unlike in Dan's Exige -- that force you to keep the tank topped up. You can run that sucker full-bore on the track 'til it's literally almost dry and it won't sputter.

I know this because we run every stint in our LeMon this way. When it reaches 'E', you can still race for about 30-40 minutes before she sputters, at which point you back off and come in that lap to refuel. This kind of experience builds confidence, which can turn into overconfidence, which can bite you in the ass.

At the end of our track day Mike and I had planned on refueling our cars in Carmel on the other side of the Laureles Grade. Turns out the Laureles Grade is far longer and far steeper than I'd remembered from the other night, Carmel is two miles from the bottom of Laureles, and ... well, now I get to share that lovely lead photo with you. You're welcome.

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