Edmunds Follow-Up Test - 2007 Mazda Miata Power Hardtop

Discussion in 'OT Driven' started by TriShield, Sep 1, 2006.

  1. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    Never mind a bit more weight and complexity. This is a better Miata.

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    By Kevin Smith
    Date posted: 08-28-2006

    Only 70 more pounds - Still 5.3 cubic feet of trunk space - Lower interior noise levels

    You might have thought, as we did, that the world's most perfect, tidy, eminently usable folding soft top didn't need to be replaced by a power-operated folding hardtop. Particularly in a simple, elemental car like the Mazda MX-5 Miata, the inevitable added weight and complexity could dull its reflexes and blur its focus.

    Don't worry.

    After putting a quick thousand miles on a 2007 Mazda MX-5 Power Retractable Hardtop (PRHT), we think the company's estimate of a 20-30-percent take rate on this option is going to prove low. In fact, for any duty this side of actual competition, we're prepared to say that the power hardtop version is now absolutely the right Miata to get.

    Why? Simple. When you want an open car, this one's just as good, and when you want a closed car, this one's vastly better. With the top buttoned up, the PRHT is as quiet, comfy and secure as any steel-roofed coupe. Convertible, indeed. A header latch, one button and about 12 seconds are all that separates the two very different configurations.

    We might question that flexibility if it came at the expense of chuckability and poise in the corners — the real hallmarks of the Miata driving experience — but it doesn't. The new hardtop adds about 70 pounds to the curb weight of Mazda's little roadster. Yes, that's a lump of mass you'd pay good money to remove from a true sports car. But it just doesn't create any identifiable issues.

    Handling the load

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    Tossing the new MX-5 around on a bumpy country lane, you might envision those extra pounds and think, yes, maybe the car is just the slightest bit softer and more tail-happy (the four electric motors and most of the folding mechanism lie aft of the car's midpoint). But we guarantee you wouldn't notice a difference if you didn't know to look for one.

    The incremental weight also didn't show up while whipping the car around on our test track with the timing equipment watching. Acceleration, braking, slalom and skid pad results were all within reasonable production variation, compared to the last MX-5 we tested. One measure that did show a difference was interior sound levels. That soft top registered 77.0 decibels at 70 mph; the new PRHT, just 72.9. That's a big change, one we especially appreciated in the final hours of a freeway haul back to Los Angeles from the Monterey Historic Automobile Races.

    A slight increase in rear spring rate, damping rates and front antiroll bar diameter are all the chassis adjustments the additional weight called for. Otherwise, the MX-5 PRHT is mechanically identical to the familiar MX-5 soft top. In fact, it is also little changed visually. Aside from the top itself, touches of chrome around the grille opening, on the door handles and the headlight bezels, plus a modish white lens for the CHMSL, are all the distinction the new car gets.

    Top engineering

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    But the top is distinction enough, and it's a beaut. Brilliantly engineered by the German supplier Webasto (they also did the excellent new C70 top for Volvo), the MX-5's folding plastic-paneled roof breaks and collapses using geometry not too different from that of the car's original fabric top. The upper panel lies on top of the folded stack to give a finished appearance, once the double-hinged rear deck panel drops back in place. Remarkably, the stack nestles into the same area the soft top used, so this retracting hardtop does not impinge on trunk space or usability. Actually, though the spec is unchanged at 5.3 cubic feet, a slightly higher rear deck surface creates marginally more cargo volume than the soft top car has!

    The retractable top is available on all three trim levels of Miata: Sport, Touring and Grand Touring. Although our fairly loaded Grand Touring example carried a lofty as-tested price of $29,600, the base price on a Miata Sport PRHT is just $24,350, making it the cheapest retractable hardtop on the market.

    A Miata with a soft top is still $1,800 cheaper, but the optional removable hardtop costs an additional $1,500, which means the 2007 Mazda MX-5 PRHT offers portability and lots of engineering for a paltry $300. A bargain.

    That's another reason why we conclude the Power Retractable Hardtop version is the Miata to get.

    [​IMG]

    What Works:
    Brilliant new folding hardtop, familiar Miata maneuverability

    What Needs Work:
    They aren't going to make enough of them

    Bottom Line:
    Still the true sports car, but now a better convertible


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  2. tbizzle

    tbizzle you smoke that shit?

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    i dont like the new lights
     
  3. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    Very slick.
     
  4. its very cool
     
  5. mucky

    mucky .

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    I SO want one. :bowdown:
     
  6. Scream_Phoenix

    Scream_Phoenix Handsome Boy Model

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    impressive. only 70 more pounds and only aan 1800$ option. mazdas done an amazing job
     
  7. Aviv

    Aviv OT Supporter

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    Only adding 70 extra pounds is actually pretty impressive. You're not going to feel that difference.
     
  8. mucky

    mucky .

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    This itself what push Miata > Solstice/Sky, IMO. :run:
     
  9. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    :eek5:
     
  10. Kelvin96GSR

    Kelvin96GSR OEM>YOU

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    now they need to do that to the s2000 :wtc:
     
  11. Jake!

    Jake! Guest

    now we can only hope the "solstice coupe" GM has approved for production is a hardtop vert

    Good news all around for roadster fans.


    I still don't understand why Ford doesn't sell its own version...
     
  12. Bobby Ballsack

    Bobby Ballsack I could be a friend to you

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    That's badass. I'd definitely buy one if I sucked cocks.
     
  13. Bernout

    Bernout OT Supporter

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    All convertibles should be like this.
     
  14. 97venge

    97venge New Member

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    the engineering is hot but the car is still :joshers:
     
  15. you know me

    you know me OT where the douchbags play

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    that thing looks horrible with the top up
     
  16. David02

    David02 Guest

    Thanks for posting this. I'm really considering one of these as my next car.
     
  17. IEATPUPPIES

    IEATPUPPIES New Member

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    fine, whatever, moar power plz.

    make a miata with 200hp even and the thing will sell great.

    Dear mazda,

    plz let me spec out a perfect miata. normal or folding hardtop. 2.3 litre 4 cyl w/ 7k redline 200hp 160ft/lbs
    keep price the same.


    profit!

    IEATPUPPIES
     
  18. iceburgslim

    iceburgslim Guest

    Love the new fender flares.
     
  19. DINide

    DINide New Member

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    teh troof
     
  20. glide

    glide primer

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    Love it.
     
  21. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    My dad just got one of these (minus the hardtop). I never liked the lights either, but one thing I've come to notice about the car is that it was designed to look nice when viewed while standing outside the car, not when squatting in front of it with a professional camera. The whole front end looks a lot nicer in person.

    The chassis looks like it could use a 1-2 inch drop, but the car is already so low that you'd be scraping on the pavement if you did that. Having driven the car and ridden in it as well, it's just about perfect. It even has enough cupholders.
     

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