Miata as an only car?


#1

I’m looking to replace my 2006 cooper s. It only has 110000mi but that’s a lot for a mini. repairs keep adding up and it has cranked but not started 4 times in the last 2 months and a mini speciast mechanic is stumped. I think it’s time.

I tested the 2016 Miata and it is pure joy on 4 wheels! However it’s sooo small. I’m single and I think it could work except for traveling with my 45lb giant Jack Russell looking mutt. I’d keep the mini as a 2nd car but insuring both won’t be cheap and travel or transporting the dog is when I’m most worried about the mini’s reliability.

Am I fooling myself thinking a Miata is a perfectly good daily driver?
(Assume I will need snow tires for CT winters)

Other cars are m looking at:
Wrx (fun but terrible mpg)
Frs/brz (want to love but a bit too serious, fun on twistys but not so much hwy & city)
Mustang ecoboost (fun to look at OK to drive, ?ecoboost poor reliability?)
Keep my mini (still very fun after 10yr, increasing time repairing at home or in the shop, repairs outpacing value)
New Mini Cooper s (almost as fun as '06 but experience says overprice and unreliable)
Mazda 3 2.5l. (Fun for an ordinary car, nicely equipped for a fair price)
Civic (CVTs sedan pretty good, hatch or coupe w/ stick may be great but won’t be out till March if ever)
Golf/gti (ok but questionable longevity)
Impreza/ crosstrek (ok I guess)
Fiat 500 abarth (need to test, Chrysler terrible reliability?)


#2

The one on your list that would be at the top of mine is the Mazda 3 with the 2.5l engine (I’d get the hatchback). Lots of room, reliability, and great performance, according to everything I’ve read.


#3

I’d say the Mazda 3’s performance is a bit over hyped. It does have zoom zoom but there are a lot of ‘sporty’ cars on the market right now and I didn’t think it was dramatically better then the civic, golf or optima I tested . But it was the most fun… It Seems like everyone is striving for the same level of general somewhat sportiness with minimal compromises to comfort and Mazda just went a little further. I also got a disappointing amount of wind noise in the Mazda 3 on the hwy.
I might be all in if they brought back the speed 3


#4

I equate performance with fun. Faster isn’t that important to me. If you want faster, maybe the Civic Si?


#5

I’m with Texases on this one. Carving corners is a heck of a lot more fun than boiling the rear tires. The Miata is the most joy a working-class man can get with his pants on.

Whether it’s right for you, Hank, is a purely personal choice. If you bring your dog everywhere with you it might be a nit too much of a compromise, but if the dog only gets in it to go to the vet now & again, it might be an excellent choice. Nobody can decide but you.


#6

I’m not sure how to equate ‘fun’.
I want to say the frs is more fun then my old mini, it’s got the look, it’s quicker in a line and in corners, it has a good feel but it’s somehow still less fun in my book. The mini feels a little more hyper, eager and alive, darty might be a good word for it. The mini wants to have FUN. The FRS wants to set a lap record.

The mini and the Miata were kind of like hyper active terriers that are running circles around you. The frs is like the racing greyhound that runs the track then takes a nap.

(Not to pick on the frs as a fast car it really isn’t that fast. It’s just an example where I felt a little more performance didn’t make for more fun.)


#7

Good analogies.
In my mind a great sports car absolutely must have a drop top. I like the frs, but until/unless the make a roadster version it’ll always be lacking to me. I grew up loving Porsche Spyders, MGAs, MGBs, Spitfires, and all the old roadsters. IMHHO Mazda is as good as it gets for the budget-constrained.


#8

You’ll definitely want to either keep the Mini, or sell it and get a very cheap utility car for the days when you need to carry something.

As far as the car itself*, a Miata is fantastic. I know guys who drive theirs through MN winters and do just fine. That won’t be a problem, and they’re terrifically fun cars to drive so you’ll always enjoy your time behind the wheel.

But, and this is where you have to evaluate your needs, if I only had a Miata I’d be in trouble even just getting groceries for the week. It has 4.6 cubic feet of trunk space. That’s about half of the trunk space I have in my MR2, and while the MR2 can haul my week’s worth of groceries, there isn’t any room left over for anything else.

When I was single the MR2 was my primary car in the summer and it did everything I needed it to do, but once I got into a relationship and did the usual cohabitation/buying a house thing, the MR2 quickly got replaced as the main transportation with a car that had more interior/trunk volume. I suspect the same will hold true for you with the Miata.

All that said, you’re single, and the Miata is awesome. Were I in your shoes, I’d go for it.


#9

Why can’t your 45 pound pooch ride in the passenger seat of a Miata? I put a harness on my 28 lb dog and have a special strap with a loop that buckles to the dog harness and then the loop goes through the seat belt. My dog rides along like a person. Now any adult passenger rides with you will weigh more than 45 lbs. Now, we’ve solved that problem.
Six years ago, my doctor wrote a prescription for me that states for my mental health I needed a,Mazda,Miata. Unfortunately, he checked that the prescription could be filled generically. Mrs. Triedaq took the prescription to be filled and csme back with a minivan. My mental health has been on the decline ever since. Mrs. Triedaq said I wouldn’t be comfortable with my 6’ 2" frame. I pointed out that there is often a little discomfort from medicine, but the rest improvement in one’s health is worth it. Take it from an old degenerate—YOU NEED THAT MIATA FOR YOUR MENTAL WELL BEING.


#10

I was looking at a sports car when single and the Sunbeam Alpine with 2 tops would have been my choice then. However, I got a job in sales (diesel engines) and my boss would not hear of me trying to shoehorn a senior client into a sport scar, so I got a Pontiac Catalina 2 door hardtop instead.

Not sure of your status, but even if you were a single student, the Miata would not have enough space for your books and dormitory goods. It’s a fun car for those who also have a daily driver and a very flexile spine.

As mentioned the mazda3 Sport is a very good compromise; nice handling and lots of space for your skis. My wife loves hers for those reasons.

Don’t even look at Mini Cooper; even if you get it free, it will still be an expensive car to owns. Think of it as a very unreliable BMW with BMW repair bills.


#11

And think of the Fiat as a step worse than the Mini.


#12

I liked the Civic SI suggestion. I will also add the Golf GTI, maybe you can low ball it since VW is in trouble.


#13

Docnick, I have a mini so I can confirm your statement about mini’s being unreliable BMWs.

I think a Miata could work 99% of the time but that 1% where I want to go on a road trip with the dog or a Home Depot emergency. I guess renting or borrowing in these instances wouldn’t be bad


#14

As much fun as a Miata would be, I can’t imagine having a vehicle like that as my only car. When one needs to buy lumber, or brick pavers, or sacks of lawn products, or even to pack several bags for an extended road trip, I can’t believe that this cute two-seater would fill the bill.


#15

I had a two seat sports car for a while when I was single. It wasn’t a big problem for me. I didn’t have a dog, though. It seems to me the big problem would be if you, a friend, and your best buddy want to go somewhere together. The three of you wont fit easily into a Miata.


#16

If you own a Miata don’t shop at Costco!


#17

VDC, I certainly can. For the rare occasion when I pick up something like that I’ll rent the Lowe’s truck. Except for the extended road trip. But there’s an answer for that too.


#18

If vw is trying to win customers back with discounts, they aren’t advertising it.
I wasn’t impressed with the gti mainly the clutch had an insanely long throw. I kind of felt yeah it has improved power and suspension over the golf but it wasn’t more fun then the golf. The golf is pretty good though. There is this blob of pretty good cars that would work for me, golf, 3, civic. The outstanding cars all seem to have a problem or price ta to match.

I am restoring a 72 beetle (long way to streetable), seems like a bad idea but getting a new beetle to match Has crossed my mind. Of course the beetle is just a slightly more expensive golf with less space.


#19

Absolutely a Miata can be a daily driver. In the snow, too with winter tires on steelies. Very good quality and reliability. Only you can decide whether a 2 small seater gets the job done for you.


#20

Oh yeah have to wait for the civic si (type r now?) to come out in March. Looks to be worth the wait. I think the new 1.5t civic would be a 3 killer if they sold it with a manual.
Of course I just got a bellow invoice offer on a wrx… Very tempting