The Roof and Other Impressions - 1997 Mazda MX-5 Miata Long-Term Road Test

1997 Mazda MX-5 Miata Long Term Road Test

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1997 Mazda MX-5 Miata: The Roof and Other Impressions

January 19, 2011

Miata_tak_01.jpg 

I think if this were one of my personal cars, I'd keep the folding soft top. I like convertibles, always have. Maybe if I put the Miata on track, I'd pop the hardtop on. As it is, the top of the side windows are about an inch above my eyes. In most cases, I have to duck my head down slightly to get a good view out the side. I have to duck even further down to see traffic signals if I'm first in line. I'd rather go top down, where I the only impediment is the windshield frame.

Where the performance upgrades are concerned, hats off to the talented Mr. Kavanagh. The supercharger produces smooth and linear power. There's none of the harshness that I've experienced in lesser project cars. Sure, it's a little loud, but I like the hiss when you let off the gas. I wasn't all that impressed by its straightline acceleration, to be honest, but in the turns the Miata feels like it has the perfect amount of power.

The new brake lines are a huge improvement, too. No more soggy pedal that squishes sloppily when you need to get on the binders. If this were a track car, though, I'd prefer a firmer pedal -- especially if there's no ABS.

Put some sticky tires on this thing and it'll be a riot to drive at the Streets of Willow. I think it'd be interesting to see how it stacks up against my darling Elise.

Mark Takahashi, Associate Editor @ 128,050 miles

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