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The Mazda MX-5 Miata is a surprisingly versatile car


Active member

The Mazda MX-5 Miata is a surprisingly versatile car. Not only is it hilariously fun on back roads and closed courses, it can also be a decent daily driver thanks to its solid gas mileage and usable trunk. But, it doesn't excel in every driving situation. Specifically long trips at high speeds, and those involving canine companions.

This weekend, I did a roughly 500-mile round trip to my parents' home in Indiana to pick up my recently adopted dog. The trip was 90-percent highways, and I heard every single mile. Our MX-5 Miata Club has the minimally insulated top also found on the base level trim, and at highway speeds the wind and road noise fills the cabin with a loud, steady roar. This likely won't be a problem for fans of white noise, and it can be overcome by the stereo. However, over a few hundred miles, it starts to get old. The suspension, while superb for carving corners, also gets tiresome. On rough Rust Belt highways, it would become a bit overwhelmed, and the whole car would shiver and shake. On the plus side, nothing squeaked, rattled, or fell off in these instances.

There are a few other quirks that show up on long trips. The small pedal box and floor-mounted throttle means that there isn't a particularly comfortable place to rest your right foot when the cruise control is set. Neither the door nor the center console have much padding either, so leaning your knees against them for long periods of time isn't advisable. The good news is that the seat itself was surprisingly comfortable, and never once was I feeling any back pain. Plus, when not using the cruise control, the seating position is great, allowing me to stretch out and relax.

When I picked up my four-legged compatriot (a 7-year-old mix of unknown breeds named Ruby, pictured above), things became a tad tight. Standing up, she thoroughly filled the passenger compartment. For reference, she's a little over 50 pounds and stands a little more than 2 feet tall. Much bigger dogs, like my family's coonhound and German shepherd mix, won't really fit. This also made her prone to nearly face-planting on the dashboard anytime the car slowed down. She eventually figured out that simply curling up on the seat bottom was the best choice, and then slept for most of the trip. So it worked out, but I think I may have found the limit of a Miata's dog capacity.

Would any of this make me want a Miata less? Certainly not. That is if I had a second car. I've done enough cross-country hauls stuffed with too many things in my lifetime.