Everything you wanted to know about the Mazda mx-5 Miata! — Buying guide

It just so happened – that there is no information about this car on the Russian-speaking Internet at all. The reason for this is that these cars have never been officially sold in the post-Soviet space, with the exception of the nc body. I don’t want to go into the reasons, you yourself will understand them after reading the series of these articles. I will break them into 2 parts – we will devote the second part to motors.

What kind of car is this anyway?

It has different names in different markets.
USA – Mazda Miata
Europe – Mazda MX-5
Australia – Mazda MX-5
Japan – Mazda Roadster.

In the back of the factory, this car was called LWS – Light Weight Sportscar. Pay attention – the emphasis on light weight is even in the code name of the project for development. The logic is simple – everything is as the creator of Lotus bequeathed – reduce weight – and you will be faster everywhere. The bare body of this car weighs only 272 kg, when assembled – a little more than a ton. We add an open roof, ideal weight distribution and rear-wheel drive – this is the happiness of a petrolhead. Someone makes them a roadster from the 50s. There are even some really stubborn off-road projects. It is a toy.

Generation ND is still in production.

These articles will focus on machines exclusively of the NB generation. After all, even in European / American forums there is not much information about this body, in comparison, for example, with NA. For some reason, all NB journalists have always been in the shadow of NA, everyone says that this is the heaviest machine, but this is not entirely true. NB was created really on the basis of the original NA car, according to the canons of the English roadster. The engineers were faced with the task of evolving the extremely successful NA, and adjusting the car to the increased requirements for ecology and safety. Some parts are really interchangeable (list here) — but the body has been significantly redesigned. Deformable zones were added (due to which the front spars rot after the first rain), airbags in the base, after restyling, ABS is installed on all cars. The car became more aerodynamic, the power of the engines increased, and blind headlights remained forever on the pages of history for the sake of pedestrian safety. But the formula for success is still the same:

1) Due to the tiny size, a very budget price can be offered;
2) Due to its tiny size, the car is relatively frisky, even with a very simple low-power motor;
3) Open roof – like a killer feature;
4) You are offered to buy a rear-wheel drive sports car for the price of a budget small car.

All this led to incredible popularity in countries where the population has such a thing as a weekend car. After all, for this amount of money, no one could offer anything like that. Prior to the nb generation, competitors didn’t even have a car that gave the same amount of Fan for the same money. The BMW z3 comes to mind, but it was significantly more expensive, albeit more powerful.

And what does she look like now?

First of all, this is a roadster. Do I need to explain the thrill of driving on an empty road with an open roof? A roadster, differs from a convertible in that it was originally designed at the factory as a car without a roof, unlike a convertible. Roadster is MGB, BMW z3/z4, Mazda mx-5, Honda s2000. Convertible – VW Golf Cabrio, BMW 3-series Converible, Toyota Celica convertible and so on. For the consumer, this means how comfortable the car will ride with an open top. For example, in a Porsche 911 cabrio, you will not be able to talk to your passenger at a speed of more than 60 km / h – just no one will hear you. In Mazda, this can only be done by slightly raising your voice. This is a big problem, because driving on a noisy highway with an open top is far from the most pleasant activity, which negates all the advantages of a cabrick. By the way, if you drive more than 60 km / h, raindrops will not bother you, even with an open top. So, yes, aerodynamics, baby!

Second, it’s a real sports car.. Here, many of the public disagree. Like 110 horses, which sports car? If for you motorsport is characterized only by engine power and acceleration to 100, you can close this article. Buy Solaris. It will be faster, any taxi driver will be able to overtake your mx-5 na/nb without much effort. In civilized countries, motorsport has very little in common with traffic light racing. Everyone is measured by pussy in specially designated places, outside public roads. Appear there on a Solaris – and here you will have problems, because not only power is important on the track, but also the ability to slow down, turn, and most importantly, endurance. Most likely, a civilian car on the first combat circle will run out of brakes on the ring, on the second you will flood the entire track with antifreeze, and on the third, if you are still driving by some miracle, your tires, which you bought yesterday with a probability can already be thrown away. The MX-5 was originally designed with the understanding that it would be used in circuit racing. Even in Russia there is an MX-5 cup, where they race on NC bodies. And the states have a great many racing series for these cars. If you find a sports package, with a 1.8 engine, increased brakes, and adjust the camber (note, without expensive sports levers, the car allows you to change it on both axles, and there is a castor adjustment on the front wheels from the factory), then two combat circles on ring will not be an impossible task for you. This car in stock rides like a BMW with a very expensive suspension, tuning settings, and so on. The stock Solaris (forgive me, Andrey Krutko) will be a pitiful sight against the background of these cars, and experienced pilots driving this machine can make expensive Bavarians nervous at a triple price. The amount of tuning for these cars is probably breaking records. There are entire stores in Europe/USA that only sell MX5 tuners. There is everything you can only dream of. Record low weight, its distribution along the axes and a low center of gravity make this car a respected contender on any race track. And if it rains, you can try to kill yourself even with all-wheel drive, if your skill allows, of course. on any race track. And if it rains, you can try to kill yourself even with all-wheel drive, if your skill allows, of course. on any race track. And if it rains, you can try to kill yourself even with all-wheel drive, if your skill allows, of course.

I want to buy this car! What to look for when buying?
If you have read this far, then most likely you have serious mental disorders. Congratulations – you’re sick, welcome to the club. It is for such freaks that this car exists. Be prepared that you will have to read and study a lot, mostly in English. Few people here know these machines, unlike Europe and the USA. For example, in my tech. Mazda MX is written in the passport, because the MX-5 model was simply not in the traffic police at the time of registration of the car. There are no problems with spare parts and consumables, since the units of the car, in general, are from Mazda 3. So you can change the oil, pads and timing in any garage, but bodywork, tuning, soft roof features – here you can fill a lot of cones, and import spare parts for fabulous money, even though in Europe they are at any disassembly. Roughly speaking – you have to become an expert in cars,

Since the car has never been officially sold in the post-Soviet countries, everything that we sell is imported from all over the world. For which market should the car be bought? For anyone, you are unlikely to have to choose – what will be available for sale, then buy. If you like, the fattest kits were in Australia, but good luck finding a car for the Australian market in our area. All configurations are different, for different markets, I will put together a list of generalizations, from what you can expect from the NB body:

Basic equipment: (like mine)
Fabric semi-buckets
Non-driving 1.6
5-speed gearbox
After restyling, ABS, electric windows, electric mirrors are added here. Often air conditioning.

A little more expensive:
Electrical package (window lifters, mirrors)
Air conditioning
Motor 1.8 (slightly faster)

Track Day Options: — Most Desirable
Self-Locking Differential
​​Powerful 1.8
Fog Lights
Sports Suspension
Leather Seats (Sometimes)

Options for the beach: – very common on Japanese cars
Any engine in combination with a gun
Leather interior (sometimes light)
Air conditioning / Power
package Music BOSE (option)

There is also a complete set of mazdaspeed, with a factory turbo engine, where the issue with the lack of power at the root is resolved. But this is a very rare beast even in the USA, so I would not hope to buy such a car from us. In addition, they all went on 16 wheels, so they have less eversion than atmospheric cars. They added power, but it still won’t be possible to really tweak 🙂 Maximum – bagels, as in atmospheric cars.

Of all this, I would strongly avoid picking with a gun. The machine turns this car from not driving into a minibus in terms of dynamics. You can forget about the use on track days.

So, the body
The car is old and Japanese, so you need to look at the body. The NB body has a design miscalculation, if the car has seen at least one winter (even outside the post-Soviet countries), with a 99% probability I can guarantee that instead of the front spars there is dust , while the outside of the car will look extremely decent. Let’s look there first. Everything is being repaired, it’s just expensive and time consuming. Therefore, if you suddenly find a car with whole spars – do not care for the machine, buy it.

The second most popular cant on the body — Rear sills in the area of ​​the rear wheels . If the previous owner forgot to clean the drainage holes, everything will be full of holes 🙂

The third cant (quite rare) – rotten passenger floor , appears as a result of the fact that once the roof was poorly closed, and water leaked into the passenger compartment.

The fourth point that is missing in the usual cars is a soft top. It can leak, just from time to time. New fabrics on eBay cost between $300 and $700, depending on the glass and quality. It is not a determining factor when choosing a car, but keep in mind that replacing a soft roof is a very difficult moment that few people have done with us. There are many nuances that pull on a separate article. With ignorance, you can break a lot of things, and then fix them for a long and expensive time.

Hard top – a piece of plastic that is placed on top of an open body turns the roadster into a coupe. The factory option is quite expensive and rare. It is interchangeable between NB and NA machines. If you suddenly find a car for sale with a hard top, this is a plus for the purchase, since these hard tops cost fabulous money. Price tags start at $1,000 and end somewhere around $6. (New, from a US dealer).


Motors and box

I will write about motors in a separate article. All I want to say now is that they are all reliable, there are no problems with them. It’s the same with boxes. They are unique to the MX5, and were only installed in Mazda 3, although the only thing in common in these engines with Mazda 3 is probably only the cylinder block. In fact, these are motors from a three-ruble note, rotated 90 degrees and with a cutoff of 7000, only MX5 are installed, so no one needs them. I bought a contract 1.8 for 175 bucks, though with a mileage of 200,000. I haven’t seen motors more expensive than $400 for MX5, so don’t worry about the units – look at the body and the condition of the car.

In short, we can recommend buying cars of the last years of production, after restyling in 2001. There are the strongest motors, fatter configurations, lensed optics, and no one canceled the freshness from the year of manufacture. The only negative of fresh cars is that since 2002, the torso (Differential lock) was replaced with a viscous coupling, which by our time, most likely, has already died. But, again, cars with blocking, in principle, must be looked for.

The beauty of NA and NB bodies is that the answer to the question “Will <part> from another NA / NB car fit on mine?” – The answer in 90% of cases will be YES. Differential, brakes, gearbox, flywheel, clutch, subframes, soft top, hard top, glass, dashboard in the cabin – mechanically much is the same and interchangeable between trim levels. Raised power by 1.6 instead of swap by 1.8? No problem the clutch from 1.8 will become bolt-on. Do you want 6 steps and not 5? No problem, the box will become a bolt it. There was no self-block assembly? Not a problem, the inside of the torso will fit into your open diff. etc. The only difference may be in the wiring, the electrics are different between the NA / NB bodies and the 1.6 and 1.8 motors. Here you need to be careful. This gives more freedom in the search for AF. If you are looking for a specific nishtyak from a specific configuration, I can recommend the book Mazda MX-5 Miata — The book of the world’s favorite sportscar by Brian Long . It describes all configurations, all machines (NA, NB, NC) for all possible markets, almost like in a dictionary, which makes this book so-so reading material, but it can help in identifying the car and picking at disassembly in order to remove the part you need from it 🙂

Why not buy mx-5?

I would highlight 2 points in which the purchase of mx-5 is contraindicated.

1) She is very small. It’s hard to find a place for a phone in the cabin. If your height is >190 cm, you simply won’t fit there. The steering wheel is not adjustable in any way, with the growth of 179 I do not see the speedometer. You will watch from behind the roof 🙂

2) If 0-100 acceleration is important to you. In a straight line this car is very slow buy something else. You can speed it up, but for the money invested in the motor, there are so many other cars that will give much better acceleration, and will be much easier to find and buy.

Otherwise, this is a very interesting car from the point of view of engineering, which knowingly takes its place not only in Japanese automotive history (already 2 mentions in initial D!), but also in the world.

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