Tag Archives: mazda miata

Driving the 2010 Mazda MX-5

by Carlos Lago

2010 Mazda MX-5
2010 Mazda MX-5

You see it in flame wars on forums and buried in the comment sections of YouTube and Facebook: The data are gathered, plugged

in, computed. A conclusion spits out. The digital beings follow it blindly. It is their code.

Problem: The Mazda MX-5 does not compute. The formulae can’t explain its rampant success, why it’s a constant favorite. Nor can

the digital readouts explain why we ranked the MX-5 third in this year’s Best Driver’s Car comparison — that’s three spots

ahead of the Corvette ZR1 — despite the Miata producing the worst performance numbers of all the contenders. This result

bothers the hard-coded digital beings. “How dare you say this diminutive roadster is on par with the world heavyweights!” they

rage. They erase the MX-5 from their conscious with snide bits of text. Or they ignore it, lest they contemplate too long and

fry a circuit.

The Miata doesn’t do data plots. Never has. The roadster eschews numbers for a greater goal: driving bliss. “Oneness with horse

and rider,” Mazda calls it. The automaker says its objective wasn’t to make the 2009 MX-5 faster. “Put last year’s and this

year’s on a track, and they’ll cross the finish line at the same time,” said one engineer. “But the driver of the new one will

have a bigger smile.”

The engineers revised the suspension to reduce body roll and increase steering feel by repositioning outer ball joints and

adjusting the damping. They upped the redline 500 rpm, just so you could scream above 7000. They found another horsepower up

there, too. To models equipped with a six-speed manual, they added something called an Induction Sound Enhancer, which uses

tuned pipes to route the intake note to the cabin. The Miata circa 2009 sounded more like a carbureted roadster.

The same is true a year later. The 2010 model brings a reshuffling of color and package availability, but the smile remains,

even on the nose of the car. We sampled the MX-5 line on an autocross and on the windy, two-lane mountain roads off California’s

Monterey coast. Our cars had the $500 Suspension Package, which adds Bilstein shocks, a larger rear stabilizer bar, and

limited-slip differential. And through our time with the car, that smile became infectious.

2009 Mazda MX-5 will say hey to USA

2009 Mazda MX-5
2009 Mazda MX-5

With over 800,000 copies sold during its 20-year lifespan, the Mazda MX-5 is the king of all roadsters. When the miniature Mazda hit the scene in 1989 as the Miata, Mazda gave it impeccable balance and precision. In the interim, the MX-5 has continued to evolve, and Mazda is looking to make even more magic for 2009. The new roadster will receive more horsepower, better fuel economy, and an updated aesthetics.

The lightweight MX-5 is more about driving characteristics than outright power, so Mazda only increased output from the 2.0L engine from 166 to 168 hp. While the extra two ponies isn’t going to set the track on fire, Mazda promises an improvement over the 2008 model’s 22/27 fuel economy. Mazda also tweaked the MX-5’s already sweet suspension for even tighter handling characteristics and made minor changes to the front and rear fascias. The 2009 Mazda MX-5 will also receive updates to the interior, colors, and available packages, and will debut in North American-spec at the Chicago Auto Show.

Auto Exec NC-03 MX-5

Mazda’s short but rich history at the 24 Hours of Le Mans was primarily initiated by Yojiro Terada, who first entered the race with a car powered by the 12A rotary engine in 1973. Terada now heads Auto Exec, a company that tunes strictly Mazda cars. Most of Auto Exec’s tweaks are visual, evidenced by the handsome body kit worn by the NC-03 MX-5. The car’s suspension has also been tuned, giving the compact roadster better balance (the car’s understeering character has been mostly dialed out). Auto Exec hasn’t decided to come to the U.S. market yet, but a company spokesman says that day may come sooner than later.