Mazda mx-5 ... Comfortable, stylish and superb road handling
The Mazda mx-5 is a powerful roadster for an affordable price.
The MX-5, also known as Miata was introduced in 1989 at the Chicago Auto Show and kicked off a new era of low cost open-top two-seater sports cars not seen in the automotive industry since the 1970s.
The MX-5 is a lightweight two-seater roadster, of front-engine with a rear-wheel drive layout.
The MX5's first generation, the NA, sold over 400,000 units from 1989 to 1997. it came with a price tag of US$14,000 (US$24,100 in 2008 adjusted for inflation).It was launched at a time when production of small roadsters had fallen into almost total disuse.
The body shell of the NA was all-steel with a light-weight aluminium hood. It 1.6 L (98 cu in) dual overhead cam inline four-cylinder engine, producing 86 kW (115 bhp) at 6,800 rpm, and 136 N·m (100 lbf·ft) of torque at 5,500 rpm.
Suspension was an independent double wishbone on all four wheels, with an anti-roll bar at the front and rear.
Standard transmission was 5-speed manual. In Japan and the USA, an optional automatic transmission was also offered but proved to be unpopular. The Japanese and American markets also received an optional viscous limited slip rear differential, although it was only available for cars with a manual transmission.
To achieve the low introductory price, the base model was stripped. It had steel wheels, manual steering, roll-up windows, and no stereo or air-conditioning. Power steering, air-conditioning, and stereo were added as standard equipment in later years.
The NA could reach 60 mph (97 km/h) in 7.9 seconds and had a top speed of 130 mph (210 km/h).
In 1998, Mazda released the second-generation Mazda MX-5, production code NB, for the 1999 model year. The NB featured a more powerful engine and external styling cues borrowed from the third generation Mazda RX-7 model.
Prices in the United States, the main market for the Mazda MX-5, started at US$19,770 (US$26,300 in 2008 adjusted for inflation). Although many parts of the interior and body were different, the most notable changes were the headlights:
The first generation's retractable headlights no longer passed pedestrian safety tests and were replaced by fixed ones. The NB continued to employ four-wheel independent suspension, with enlarged anti-roll bars at the front and rear, but the wheels, tires and brakes were significantly upgraded: anti-lock braking system was offered as an option; alloy wheels were now 14 in (360 mm) or 15 in (380 mm) in diameter and 6 in (150 mm) in width, depending on the trim package; sports models were equipped with the larger wheels and 195/50VR15 tires.
The engine remained at 1.8 L (110 cu in) but received several minor updates. The intake cam was changed to a solid lifter design with a stronger cam; the intake runners in the head were straightened and the intake manifold was mounted higher up.
Mazda's Variable Intake Control System was introduced, which effectively gave a long narrow intake manifold at low rpm for better swirl, changing to a short, free-flowing manifold at high rpm for maximum breathing. Power output of the new engine was quoted at 106 kW (142 bhp) with 116 lbf·ft (157 N·m) of torque.
The Mazda mx-5 NB could reach reach 60 mph (97 km/h) in 7.5 s and had a top speed of 130 mph (210 km/h).
The third generation (NC) was introduced in 2005 with a 2.0 L (120 cu in) engine.
The exterior styling resembles the original design, but unlike the update from NA to NB, which was mostly a nose/tail/interior change, the NC shares no components with the NB, except for the side-panel turning-lights on non-USA models.
The suspension has changed from a 4-wheel double wishbone setup to a front wishbone/rear multilink setup. Technologies like traction control and stability control were added to increase driveability.
The NC was launched with a special edition called "3rd Generation Limited" which featured added chrome accents and special wheels. 3500 were built worldwide (300 in the UK, 750 in the USA, 150 in Canada), delivered in advance of standard models.
The NC offers a wider range of accessories for customization than the earlier generations. The soft top, in cloth instead of vinyl, can now be chosen in more than two colors: black and cream as previously, but also grey, camel, blue and green; and the interior can be customized to the exterior paint color.
In July 2006, Mazda unveiled a coupé convertible version of the NC with a three-piece folding hardtop, named "MX-5 Roadster Coupe" in Europe, "Roadster Power Retractable Hard Top" in Japan, and "MX-5 Miata Power Retractable Hard Top" in Canada and the USA.Adding 36 kg (79 lb) to the weight of a comparable model with soft top, the hard top takes 12 seconds to raise or lower and it does not take any of the existing trunk space when folded down.
The Mazda MX-5 has won many awards including Wheels Magazine 's Car of the Year for 1989 and 2005; Sports Car International's "best sports car of the 1990s" and "ten best sports cars of all time"; 2005-2006 Car of the Year Japan; and 2005 Australian Car of the Year and making Car and Driver magazine's annual Ten Best list 10 times.
I remember driving my friends MX-5 and Mayn! Ain' this car a beauty or what. First of all its very comfortable due to its wishbone or multi-link suspension systems to maximize tire performance, road grip, and dynamic stability. Its so comfy that you can use it everyday.
Its also very roomy for two people but not for an extra two. However, the boot is not that spacious and probably you would have to squeeze your golf bag.
With an approximate 50:50 front/rear weight balance, the car has nearly neutral handling. Inducing oversteer is easy and very controllable, thus making the MX-5 a popular choice for amateur and stock racing.
Apart from the boot being not big enough, the Mazda mx-5 is a car that's a favorite with most folks due to its lively handling, communicative steering, a happy-to-rev power plant and an affordable price.
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