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Thoughts on the 2006 Mazda MX-5 Miata - Page 2

post #16 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by SGladwell
Have you driven a Z4? It's a cheap, ugly, boring POS with Buick-quality steering feel.

I have, and I disagree. It is probably the best handling BMW (including the Mini) currently made, and that's no mean feat. The Z4 Coupe with the S54 and a tuned suspension is going to kick some serious butt. Ugliness is in the eye of the beholder --- I've always thought BMW should have explained flame surfacing by putting their cars in front of Frank Gehry's buildings. But yes, there are some really cheap-feeling things in there: I always feel like I'm going to break the steering wheel adjustment lever.

Quote:
As for the Elise, you must be a small guy. Getting in and out of them with either top affixed is pretty difficult for anyone above about 5'10".

I'm 6 feet, and it wasn't a problem for me once I learned the right way to get in.

BTW, Jon's Audi has a CVT, not a slushbox.

--Andre
post #17 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian SD
Are you being serious? I can't really tell, but I went with my roommate who's looking at new cars. He test drove the Pontiac, and it was not only the ugliest interior I've ever seen, it drove worse than his c1991 Ford Aspire.

Yes was actually serious for once. I don't see what is so bad about the comparison, they are in the same price level as the Miata. It's better than comparing against a Z4 or Z8 which cost tens of thousands more. People automatically judge the Solstice and Sky (even though the sky doesn't exist yet) just because they carry American branding. Trunk room is null because these types are cars are not road trip cars, they are second cars. You don't buy one as a primary vehicle, and if you do then you don't take long vacations with one.
post #18 of 43
post #19 of 43
thanks benchan
post #20 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andre Yew
I have, and I disagree. It is probably the best handling BMW (including the Mini) currently made, and that's no mean feat. The Z4 Coupe with the S54 and a tuned suspension is going to kick some serious butt. Ugliness is in the eye of the beholder --- I've always thought BMW should have explained flame surfacing by putting their cars in front of Frank Gehry's buildings. But yes, there are some really cheap-feeling things in there: I always feel like I'm going to break the steering wheel adjustment lever.

--Andre

Indeed, the Z4 does not have the same failing Servotronic system, which kills the E90 (thankfully on the E90 the system is optional). However, it is not optional on my car, and this is why every Audi has a very dead steering feel to it. Yes, it is better overall, but it has absolutely no feel to it.

Personally, there are many styling elements of Bangle that I will never like, such as the grill on 3 & 6er's, the lights on the 5er and the rear of the 7er (even though that was a ballsy move that seems to have paid off; but I still don't like it).

However, the Z4 and especially the new Z4 coupe is very good looking. The rear end of the Z4 coupe reminds me a lot of 50's and 60's British sports-coupes.


Jon.
post #21 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian SD
Are you being serious? I can't really tell, but I went with my roommate who's looking at new cars. He test drove the Pontiac, and it was not only the ugliest interior I've ever seen, it drove worse than his c1991 Ford Aspire.


Yeah, but the '91 had that certain je ne sais quois, so it's not really a fair comparison.
post #22 of 43
All this talk of "driver's cars" reminds me that I have a 1971 Datsun 510 sitting half-restored and collecting dust. I am starting to think about getting that thing put back together and maybe taking it for a spin this summer.

Gladwell (or anyone), I'd be interested to hear if you have any experience with/opinions on this car. Mine has a balanced L18 engine with ported/polished SSS head, dual 40mm Mikuni dual sidedrafts and a 200sx 5-speed trans, Koni shocks and custom springs, swaybars, etc. Still need to find an LSD for it among other things. It's sitting half completed and mainly needs an interior at this point. Kind of a nagging at the back of my mind for years now.
post #23 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by LabelKing
Of course, an Alfa Romeo is another option, with the cultish legacy, and history to boot.


listen to this man. he knows what he's talking about.
post #24 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by matadorpoeta
listen to this man. he knows what he's talking about.
Ah, are you an Alfista?
post #25 of 43
Intereting.. really appreciate the opinions as always SGladwell. I have had the chance to drive the STi, but not the EVO. I find their boxy awkwardness to be endearing and almost ironically attractive. I'm a pretty big fan of bulky 80s RWDs from the likes of Nissan and Toyota, maybe it's this attraction that draws me to the STi and EVO.

Quote:
and the also departed Ford SVT Focus, which is probably the best big hatch this side of a Peugeot 206GTi and probably a cheap car to buy used.

I have driven a Focus SVT and it does handle incredibly well. I really like the feeling of driving it, but I would never consider one as my daily driver because of horrible reliability, and horrible ugliness, and a gross interior. However like you pointed out, its GREAT bang for your buck right now. An almost brand-new SVT is like 12 large in California - but still. Ugly and unreliable.

I have been considering a Mazdaspeed Miata. It is absolutely perfect as a fun to drive, attractive body, and practical enough as a daily driver. A car that is fun at low speeds is important for someone who plans to only travel short distances, and in San Francisco, you won't reach very high speeds very often unless you go quite a bit out of the city. The other serious consideration is the S2000, because something about how Honda's feel is always comfortable (may have something to do with my having only owned Civics).

Quote:
Yes was actually serious for once. I don't see what is so bad about the comparison, they are in the same price level as the Miata.

I was just being elitist as I thought pretty much everyone hates the Sky and Solstice. Considering the options, I think it is a valid comparison - they're pretty similar in their basic functions.

As for the Porsche's auto being faster than the manual.. that doesn't make auto better - it's just faster. What that means is that Porsche expects a lot of their drivers to be lazy.
post #26 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by j
All this talk of "driver's cars" reminds me that I have a 1971 Datsun 510 sitting half-restored and collecting dust. I am starting to think about getting that thing put back together and maybe taking it for a spin this summer.

Gladwell (or anyone), I'd be interested to hear if you have any experience with/opinions on this car. Mine has a balanced L18 engine with ported/polished SSS head, dual 40mm Mikuni dual sidedrafts and a 200sx 5-speed trans, Koni shocks and custom springs, swaybars, etc. Still need to find an LSD for it among other things. It's sitting half completed and mainly needs an interior at this point. Kind of a nagging at the back of my mind for years now.

I think we talked about this on AIM, but I just thought I'd put in that I LOVE 70s Datsuns. The 240z is my favorite.. I think they're great machines. My neighbor's 300ZX with the straight 6 drives incredibly well.
post #27 of 43
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian SD
I have driven a Focus SVT and it does handle incredibly well. I really like the feeling of driving it, but I would never consider one as my daily driver because of horrible reliability, and horrible ugliness, and a gross interior.

Yeah, the interior sucks, though the horrible looking radio remote/steering column tumor actually works pretty well. What's also unacceptable IMO in such a car is fuel economy that tops out at only 26mpg highway. I didn't know reliability was so bad. I thought that since the SVT Focus is really just a Federalization of the hot Euro model (ST180 or something) that it might escape some of the problems of the junior Foci. Though I do remember reading the maintenance schedule and cringing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian SD
However like you pointed out, its GREAT bang for your buck right now. An almost brand-new SVT is like 12 large in California - but still. Ugly and unreliable.

Yeah, by the time I convinced the Ford dealer that I really didn't want the (new) car no matter how cheap it got, they had gone down to 16 and change, and then on top of that the 0% financing they were offering at the time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian SD
I have been considering a Mazdaspeed Miata. It is absolutely perfect as a fun to drive, attractive body, and practical enough as a daily driver.

I drove a Mazdaspeed a little after they came out, and I can't say I thought it improved on the standard model at all. The turbo implementation feels crude to me, though maybe a lot of people prefer that kind of wait-for-it...WOOSH power delivery to a design that uses the turbo to mimic a highly refined larger engine's torque curve. A dyno test here does a good job of quantifying what I mean even though the 2006 isn't a turbo and uses VVT to do the same thing. Beyond the engine, the 17" wheels and rubber-band tires do the ride quality no favors, and they seem to have cut some of the travel in the suspension to compensate for that absurd Hotwheels-like rolling stock. Lastly, I find the new plastic bits a little tacky. The dealer-installed tupperware that afflicts many 2001-2005 Miatas is even worse, though.

If I were you and looking for a Miata, I'd focus on a late model Sport package instead of a Mazdaspeed, because they have the Bilsteins and in some years the same amazing brakes. (At some point Mazda standardized the sport package brakes across the line, but I don't remember when. I think if it has 16" wheels it has the bigger brakes) Alternately, if you're a big fan of the color blue look for a 1999 anniversary edition. Yeah, that is an older car, but with Miatas I don't think you have to worry much about age. They're very reliable cars. And simple by the standards of most moderns. As long as the clutch isn't shuddering and the clutch slave cyl isn't leaking any year should be fine. (Beyond regular maintenance, the slave cylinder is the only thing that ever needed fixing on mine. Three times, about 50k miles apart. From what I know of other Miata owners, my experience was not atypical.) If you find the power's not to your liking, you can always add a supercharger or turbo and still come in at a lower overall price/insurance cost than a Mazdaspeed. Also, I daresay that a good aftermarket supercharger or turbocharger on a regular Miata with the Bilstein shocks would be a better all around car than the Mazdaspeed. I don't know much about the current SOTA in Miata aftermarket forced induction, but when I was considering it for my 1993 I drove a few Sebring/Jackson Racing (same kit, different owners) kits and they were pretty good. Another one that was an order of magnitude better yet was from a company called Coldside. Or maybe that was the name of the kit. It has been a while. It used the same blower as the Sebring but put it on the intake side of the engine bay rather than above the headers. I'd imagine that the newer kits are even better, with 7-8 years of development since I was considering one. In my case, I ultimately decided I liked my Miata just fine with 116hp, and I think Helmut Lang got the money that was earmarked for speed bits. If I bought one today, especially a newer one with much more tire than mine had (6" vs. 8" wide, 14" diameter wheels vs. 15/16") I would probably revisit that decision just because I've grown to really enjoy a note of blower whine on top of my engine.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian SD
I was just being elitist as I thought pretty much everyone hates the Sky and Solstice. Considering the options, I think it is a valid comparison - they're pretty similar in their basic functions.

I don't think you were being elitist so much as being not delusional. One's a real car and the other is a cynical (or clueless) farce. Contrary to what was written in this thread earlier, most cars like this are not bought as second cars. Even if a fairly large minority of them were second cars there is still a baseline of practicality required for a car that sees street use, such as being able to carry two people and a couple duffle bags for a weekend trip- speaking of which, I scored a beautiful Bottega Veneta scotchgrain leather weekend bag for my girlfriend at NM Last Call a few weeks ago, for less than $400! - or even just a decent-sized picnic basket. GM's roadsters have barely more than a quarter of the Miata's trunk space, despite being several inches bigger and 400+lbs. heavier. Look at it another way, the Lotus Elise has 185% more trunk space than the GM twins, while weighing a full 1000lbs less and having its engine behind you. So clearly it is possible to make a small roadster reasonable practical, GM simply chose not to do it. GM also failed on their top design. While Mazda's engineers did a great job on simplifying the operation of the 2006 MX-5's top, GM chief engineer Rube Goldberg was hard at work making their car's top one of the worst feats of engineering in the 21st century so far. Ol' Rube also oversaw a car that is slower and gets worse fuel economy. There's just no reason for a 170hp car to have 10" wide tires all around. They don't do anything but dull the performance and fuel economy! However, for anyone willing to live with a car that's slightly more practical than the GM twins I highly recommend the last Toyota MR2. It's just a little more practical than the twins, a little quicker than the other "entry level" roadsters, and the most ecologically high-performance US-market roadster of all.
post #28 of 43
If you are buying a 2 seat roadster for the trunk space then you are shopping for the wrong type of car. I agree the solstice/sky should have a power top but that would cut more away from the "precious" trunk space. Personally I am applauding GM for finally creating good looking American cars and finally taking a chance. In fact I think the Sky is better looking than not only the Miata, but the Z3, Z4, SLK, and the Elise and to the average consumer (who is not a racecar driver) good performance, great looks, and low cost = a hit.
post #29 of 43
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by visionology
If you are buying a 2 seat roadster for the trunk space then you are shopping for the wrong type of car.
Says someone who has owned exactly how many 2-seat roadsters and used them over a period of exactly how many years? As someone whose primary vehicle for over 90% of his driving life has been a two seat roadster, let me tell you why you are wrong. It is not about hauling stuff, it is simply about being useful. There is a threshold of carrying capacity, below which a car is just not suitable for regular use. If your daily life includes tasks such as grocery shopping, picking up dry cleaning, going to the bookstore, or any outdoor activity at all that requires equipment - ice skates, camping gear, tennis bags, whatever - 1.4 baguette-shaped cubic feet of trunk space is simply not going to be sufficient even for the routine of a normal person's daily life. But if it can't even be counted on for such things, a weekend getaway to the beach or the mountains with your girl is never going to be possible in such a car. By contrast, a roadster with a larger, smarter shaped trunk can fit a week's worth of groceries, and even an Elise can fit two weekend bags in its well-shaped four cubic foot trunk. To think about it graphically, 1.4 cubic feet is around 2420 (edit because I've forgotten how to do math in my head and overestimated) cubic inches, the standard measure of size in American backpacks. If you can do all of your daily tasks using no more cargo volume than this backpack http://s7images.sierratradingpost.co...0,0&iccEmbed=0 from STP after cutting it vertically in half and stacking the sections one atop the other, then the Solstice is a reasonable option. Still, there will be no romantic getaways in such a car. Or even two friends going to a concert in the next state and staying a few nights.
Quote:
Originally Posted by visionology
I agree the solstice/sky should have a power top...
Agree with whom, exactly? That's just what a fat ass needs, more fucking donuts! Maybe next you're going to advocate filling the frame tubes with Crisco? 26" gold plated wheels made of depleted uranium would be about as appropriate as a fucking power top for a small minimalist roadster. Really, with that comment you show your basic cluelessness about fun-to-drive cars. They are not in any way shape or form about powered bullshit gizmos. The successful, iconic ones such as the Miata, MGB, Alfa Spider, Fiat 124, Austin-Healey 100/4, Porsche 356, and Lotus Elan are about elegance, simplicity, and above all low mass! American car makers have never made a good roadster because none of those things are concepts they or their die-hard fans know anything about. The Miata, MR2, and Elise don't have powered tops. Standard or optional. The former two have outstandingly well designed manual tops that can be raised or lowered by anyone with functioning arms from the driver's seat in probably ten seconds or less. The Elise has a less well designed manual top that requires getting out of the car. A compromise, but a compromise with a purpose as the fattest Elise weighs 300lbs less than the lightest MR2 and 500lbs lighter than the lightest Miata.
Quote:
Originally Posted by visionology
Personally I am applauding GM for finally creating good looking American cars and finally taking a chance.
Styling is subjective, but on any objective measure GM is not "taking a chance" so much as reverting to their shopworn MO of throwing out an inferior product and hoping that people will buy it anyway because it is cheaper to buy, if more expensive to own due to poor resale value. In the end, here's what's going to happen to the Solstice/Sky. They're going to have one big year. Maybe two, if the GM hype machine keeps duping people like, well, you for that long and there are no major recalls for things like body parts falling off or (much more likely) leaking tops. But once there are enough of these things out there and not just a shiny blob in the marketing package people will see how impractical and stupid it is. I saw a Solstice today with a sticker on the windshield offering it at what would be over $30k with taxes and fees! In five years, that person will be shocked to discover his Solstice will be worth far less than a Miata that someone else paid $5000 less for. Or not, if a friend bought said Miata at the same time and they've been comparing notes. Of course, if you've already drunk the kool-aid then you'll learn what I'm writing about later rather than sooner. But you might want to bookmark this thread and come back to it in a few years to see how right I was. The real danger the Solstice presents is that people will believe the idiotic idea that a car cannot be of reasonable size and practical - GM's real goal for the Solstice, perhaps? - and not realize that it is GM's incompetence that created an viciously impractical car rather than any innate constraints of the genre.
post #30 of 43
Quote:
Personally I am applauding GM for finally creating good looking American cars and finally taking a chance. In fact I think the Sky is better looking than not only the Miata, but the Z3, Z4, SLK, and the Elise and to the average consumer (who is not a racecar driver) good performance, great looks, and low cost = a hit.
Really just can't see where you're coming from - I personally think the Solstice and Sky are both ugly. They're way too muscular and aggressive for what they are supposed to be, and I'm not sure if its the styling or the materials but the body just looks cheap. To be honest I didn't even know they got up to $30,000. From what I saw they look to be $18,000 or so vehicles.
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