Yesterday was the 2 month anniversary of Garnet Red Miata ownership. There are 2,380 miles on the odometer, compared to the 400 when we picked it up, so we are averaging pretty close to 1,000 miles a month. Could have been more, but we didn’t take it to south FLA for Thanksgiving. It may stay that way for a while as we dodged another high mileage trip by ditching our plans to drive to Maine in April and instead fly.
After 60 days of owning a 2nd generation Miata I guess it is time to revisit a post I made back in October regarding my thoughts on the sister car to this one I had used as a loaner while waiting the repairs on my beloved 1995 1st gen car. New stuff is in italics.
1) That new car smell. Still there, but fading.
2) That new car feel. Everything is still tight and rattle free. I really like the feel of the turn signal stalk, wiper switch and light switches. They are the same as on the old Miata, but I don’t know if they have been engineered better or the others felt that way too in the beginning.
Black leather from the factory. Finally Mazda has eliminated the need for having an ugly exterior/interior combination just to get leather seats. This car has beige leather, which looks good set against the maroon looking paint.
4) Round Knobs for the HVAC controls. The sliding levers of the 1st generation Miata are so 1950’s. Plus they have a nice feel too (see #2 above.)
5) Remote electronic trunk release. — This may have been inevitable, see the bad #1. Coupled with a gas strut this would be awesome. Still no gas strut, but still lovin’ this feature. Now if I could only figure out how to make one of the other buttons work my garage door — heaven.
6) No zip back window. Eliminates a step in putting the top down. This one is definitely a keeper. To lower the top all I have to do is unsnap the two latches and throw the top back. A lot simpler and quicker than those fancy electric tops. Although occasionally we would leave the top up with the back window unzipped on the other car, it probably won’t be missed.
7) With some new valve timing trickery, they increased HP to 142 from 128 and flattened the torque curve, so the car is faster. Not leaps and bounds, but faster.
8) Bigger brakes at both ends makes stopping almost as fun and exciting as accelerating. I notice the stopping power more than the going power over the ’95.
9) OEM 16 inch wheels are the nicest I’ve seen on a Miata. And as a bonus they are easy to clean because there are no small openings where you can’t wipe easily with a sponge.
1) The keyhole for opening the trunk is too low. It is hard to get the key in and turn without squeezing your fingers. With the inside release and the key fob button, who uses this anyway? I may have once so far. They ought to just eliminate it in the next redesign.
2) No zip back window. Reduces the headroom, so tall drivers will now hit the fabric panel used to automatically raise/lower window. I have taken to leaning just a bit to avoid brushing my head against the top.
3) The speedometer is calibrated in 20 MPH increments with little ticks every 2 MPH, this makes it hard to tell your speed at a glance. I don’t know about your town, but where I live, we have speed limits of 25 & 45, not 22 or 48. I’m getting used to this, I still don’t like it, but I’m probably one of the few drivers left on the road today that even looks at the speedo.
6-speed transmission. Always seems like I needed to shift. I know with more use I would have adjusted to it, but why didn’t they leave the 5 speed ratios as is and make 6 a real overdrive? (At least here in North America.) This car has a 5-speed, so I feel right at home.
5) With the new valve timing trickery, they may have increased HP and flattened the torque curve, but 1st gear to me seems to run out of steam. I really miss that kind of punchy acceleration of old.
6) OEM16 inch wheels. They are big looking. And I haven’t weighed them, but I bet they are heavier than the 15″ Kosei Racing Senekas I had on the old car. Plus tires will now be 50% higher in cost…
& The Ugly:
Splash Green Mica. Who you kidding, it’s teal. Looked odd but interesting in the mid 80’s on other cars, but why now on a Miata? The color grew on me, by the end of the 4 days I no longer gagged when I looked it. This now belongs in the good category. Although I swore I wanted another blue Miata, Garnet Red with Parchment interior is one sharp looking color combination.
2) You call that carpet? This stuff can only be charitably called floor covering. Makes the cheap loop carpet of the 1st generation Miata seem like a $50/yd plush Saxony. This definitely still belongs here. It is shredded recycled plastic soda bottles dyed beige. I think a nice set of coco mats would make a big improvement (because that would leave so little “carpet” showing.)
3) Where the heck is the exhaust note? When the Miata first appeared they had an ad that ran in magazines about how they tried 100s of mufflers to get just the right sound (and they did,) but it is all but gone now from the factory. When you get right down to it I miss the exhaust note of the 90 as it was even nicer than the 95. This is a mod that is on the back burner because until you actually hear a muffler installed you don’t know if you can live with it on a daily basis. You would be buying a $300 pig in a poke.
5) Plastic brushed aluminum trim. Looked exactly like what is was, an afterthought and tacked on. I’m thinking of seeing if one of the members in the club with the black stuff would want to swap out for some “aluminum.” It might look nice in an all black interior.
6) Not necessarily limited to the new Miatas, but the gap between wheel and fender is huge. There is like 3 inches there. Take a look at Audis or BMWs, those German engineers know how to stuff a wheel well. Why should I have to spend several hundred dollars on shorter springs that make the car ride stiffer just to make it look less like a 4x4 truck and more like a sports car?
I’m am still glad I upgraded, but that is just me, I wanted NEW. Ideally I would have liked to have traveled back 14 years and snatched that 1990 Mariner Blue ‘A’ package from myself and brought it forward to today. Although I enjoyed the heck out of that first Miata, I really would enjoy now. Bob Hall, widely credited as the Father of the Miata, had this to say about the difference between the 2 cars, “The NB (99 & up) is a better car, but the NA (1990–97) is a better Miata.” He is absolutely correct.