This is a fantastic car. Great handling. Performance is on par with the early 80' 911. Almost identical power to weight ratio. Similar acceleration. Top end around 135mph. Quality and organization of the interior layout is excellent. Comfortable heating and cooling with the top down from 50 all the way up to 105. The car is great around town and loves the long drive in the mountains. This is the best car I have ever owned.
Last NC before the 'goofy grin.' Very noisy, if next to a Jersey barrier, forget conversation. Worse with the top up. Nearly all the noise comes from the tires. First gear on the 6-speed is way too low which makes overall acceleration poor (more shifts mean less time on the gas). 6th gear is also too low, which makes freeway cruising frenetic. The 5 speed ratios with an overdrive would have been much better. Shifting is very notchy even after 26000 miles. Supposedly Ford makes some magic gear oil which smooths this out. The engine is good, very flexible, but it does not like 87 octane fuel which makes it clatter like a can of bolts. Steering, handling, braking are excellent. Wheel arches are too big - see BMW for how this should be done. Mine had 2 replacement fuel caps and a purge valve in warranty - poor sealing causes the check engine light to come on. It still comes on; I turn it off by disconnecting the battery for a few minutes when I have time. I eventually found that smearing a little lithium grease on the filler neck seals the neck/cap connection and stops the check engine light from coming on. My VIN is within the range for 'bad filler necks' which are a known issue. If I spend $150 to have a dealer 'diagnose' the problem I have already found, Mazda will 'consider' an out-of-warranty fix, but refuse to state that they will actually pay to repair their piece-of crap fuel system. Mazda and their 'service' sucks. I put well over 100,000 miles on a 1980 626 and had only a dome light bulb fail, yet now they can't even make a gas cap that seals. The clutch needs a bigger master cylinder, the pedal has to be pushed all the way to the floor for a decent shift - on most vehicles a little dip is enough. I complained about this while in warranty, and was told "It is normal." After the warranty had expired I found a service bulletin saying that some clutch cylinders had been assembled using ethanol, which causes poor disengagement. Mazda has refused to fix it. Overall, the car handles and performs much better than the Formula Ford I used to race. Pity they've gone 'ninja' with their latest models, which like most of their competitor's offerings are ugly enough to gag a maggot. 2018 Update: all the above still applies: at the same speed, say 60 or 70, the Miata feels like it is going much faster than my 2007 4 Runner Sport due to the Mazda's noise and harsh ride. In comparison, the truck-based Toyota feels like a limo. As a short-range, fair weather toy the Miata is fine, but as a daily driver? For example, if the door is opened when the top is wet, water pours from the top into the car (because there are no rain gutters. And with today's typical inattentive drivers and the Miata's small size, I find bigger vehicles being constantly driven into my lane or pulling out from side roads directly into my path. Poor weather/visibility makes these hazards worse.
I am a retired auto mechanic so I inspected the used Miata before I bought it .The woman I bought it from is 72 years old and she was having problems getting in and out of the car .It was time to let it go .It had only 38,000 miles on it and was never driven in the winter time . It was spotless inside and out .I put a set of new Perelli tires on it since I noticed a bubble on one of the tires . It runs great and it is a joy to drive . If you are planning to buy one used please know your limitations and get it inspected by a Mazda mechanic .Find a shop that specializes in Masda cars ,pay them to inspect it thoroghly .If you buy the car, this shop can service it for you .Under no circumstances buy the car without having it inspected by a certified mechanic, not your husband, or boyfriend .Money spent on the inspection will be the best money you will ever spend ! Make sure they check the tires for tread wear and bubbles on the inner and outer side walls .I hope the post helps someone with their purchase . George Mitchell
My Mazda Miata MX-5 answers the call for fun, speed and reliability. There are quite a few on the roads because it is mechanically sound, beautiful to just watch travel and has consistency in braking, shifting and driver expectations. The top is easy to fling done and pull back up. It has no leaks in the rain, the leather interior has been well protected and looks/drives like a much younger car even though it has 92,000 real miles. It is legal to roll the odometer back so beware of those asking a high price for low mileage-nobody has a top if the line roadster from 2007 with 60,000 miles or less. It's too much fun to let it set and decay. I'd rather not drive it on the interstate but I do if I'm only going a few exits.