The rear license plate housing is, like so much about the new Miata's contours, rounder and more crisply molded into the surrounding sheet metal than on the '05. The hand brake isn't, ratcheting up out of the passenger's side of the drive tunnel instead of next to the driver's right thigh. Blame it partly on tougher safety regulations that make things like a more crashworthy body structure and four airbags mandatory. They had to order a new shifter knob and convertible latch, to be installed later. Lively and alert, it is, by any measure, huge fun to fling through a set of switchbacks.
With the second-generation Miata in 1998, achieved something few automakers ever manage when reinventing an icon: The lively, tactile personality of the original made the transition virtually unchanged. There are more Miatas on racetracks every weekend around the country than any other car. The properly stubby shift lever is where it should be. So how much for this record breaker? Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. It also does well at the track, not a surprise knowing the lineage and past capability of this roadster. So how does it drive? Plus, fifth and sixth gear should be a lot taller. Once you sift through the shifting mix of standard and optional features, that is.
It's more powerful, but gets better gas mileage and is cleaner. Quick, left-right-left transitions on a winding two-lane running along a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean on the Big Island of Hawaii succumb to nearly perfect steering response: light but not twitchy, with good feel regardless of the speed. The center brake light has been moved from the trailing edge of the trunk lid forward, right behind where the top folds into the body and where the hardtop will seat. But she still knows all the moves. Make no mistake, the Miata is a tough act to follow. The '05's concave side body panels have filled in on the '06, tumbling in a nearly sheer drop from the beltline to the rocker panels. Fuel level is reported in a small circle to the lower left, coolant temperature by one to the lower right and, thank you very much, oil pressure by a matching triplet positioned top center between the tach and speedo.
This is with the stability control system deactivated. Rollbar-like hoops rise out of the body behind the seats; Mazda doesn't list them as safety features, calling them seat back bars, but they're certainly more than merely surfaces to which decorative trim can be affixed. A power outlet conveniently placed at the base of the C-stack waits for a radar detector or cell phone. InteriorThe all-new 2006 Miata is bigger than before, which results in a marginally roomier cabin. It's longer and wider, but taller. This is even more telling when you factor in that the car is larger in every measure, from what's beneath the hood to the interior to the shadow it casts on the road.
Forget using a Bluetooth headset, and be ready to speak up so your passenger can hear you. This is a simplification because concentrating too much of the mass around the yaw axis can make a car unstable, but you get the point. This is our Mustang, our 911. But what about all that extra weight? During that visit, they replaced the burned-out fuse that had caused the 12-volt power port to stop working. Several added that the car's incredible driving dynamics, combined with the simplicity of the top's controls, meant even a short drive could be thoroughly entertaining.
So we're not exactly complaining. The top, with a glass rear window, collapses into a well behind the seats cleanly and completely, in a way requiring no cover. It weighs about 10 pounds regardless of where the weights are positioned. The new Miata is a blast to drive. The engine in the '06 has been moved rearward more than five inches from its relative location in the '05. New Car Test Drive correspondent Tom Lankard filed this report from Kona, Hawaii. She's also put on a few more pounds.
But specify the new six-speed Activematic auto, and you'll get only 166. Starting at the front, the central air intake is both enlarged and mildly reshaped and augmented by a smaller opening beneath. Ordering the sport suspension buys a firmer ride and increased feel of the r As the holder of the sales record for two-door, convertible sports cars, the Miata has its work pretty well defined. Crank in more steering to keep it off the rock wall on the outside of a tight switchback on that two-lane, and the rear tires step tentatively sideways. More obvious is that the lower the mass is in the car's chassis, the lower the car's center of gravity and the more stable its ride and handling.
All registered in England and Wales. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. The charm of the original Miata was the delicacy of its steering and the fluent communication of its chassis. Oh, yeah, dropping the spare tire no doubt helped. Think about it: When the Miata was first shown at the Chicago auto show in February 1989, the small, affordable roadster was dead. Compound, projector-beam headlights return but in housings that are marginally smaller, more oval than teardrop in shape, more deeply recessed and nearer to the car's centerline, all tending to emphasize the Miata's diminutive size.
Small quarter windows, like yesteryear's windwings, fill the acute angle where the doors meet the A-pillars. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car. The premium sound system has a function Bose calls Audiopilot that goes beyond simple speed-sensing volume control by actually re-mixing in real time the sound coming out of the speakers to help the stereo punch through the ambient wind and road noises that accompany open-air motoring. It's a daily commuter in environments as disparate as Southern California and Detroit, Michigan. The new brakes are bigger all around, with 11. Aluminum upper and lower control arms for the front suspension are 5. It's still not accommodating for full-figured or especially tall sports car lovers.
With their luggage, it tends to a rear bias; empty, with a full gas tank, it tends to a front bias. The tilt steering wheel helps with this, at least a little. Overall, interior quality and appearance are way up the charts. We didn't have the opportunity to drive any of the three models with the 16-inch wheels and standard tires and five-speed manual, but from experience with last year's Miata, we'd expect a similar experience, albeit at lower thresholds. The standard urethane steering wheel and shift knob wrappings are obviously not leather, but they're not offensive, either. By May 2000, total Miata sales had topped 532,000 units worldwide, making it the best-selling two-seat convertible of all time. Imagine a broomstick with two five-pound weights attached.