Does The NC Mazda MX-5 (Miata) Deserve The Hate? My First Drive

Today I’m driving the black sheep of an automotive dynasty – the third generation Mazda MX5. Derided by the community as being far too heavy and slow for its own good, can you still have fun in it?

Hello everybody today we are looking at a car which is definitely the black sheep in its family this is the impact bumper of mazda mx-5s the w-220 of miatas and i’m doing my bit for the english by upsetting everybody that i encounter up here in slightly drizzly scotland you see my buddy dominic has been playing sort of automotive seller black all week for me

And he introduced me to a good mate of his ally who’s a lovely charming guy and has joined me for this drive now ali has a very slightly modified mini r53 cooper s lovely cars and he did offer it to me for a review but when i popped over to his house i said um actually could i could i have a go in this instead and this it turns out is his mother diane’s car

So when i say a big thank you to her for lending it to me what i didn’t tell her was that the reason i want to drive the mx-5 is because everybody says that it’s terrible the mx-5 is one of those cars that very many people seem to have a real aberration for and it’s one of those sort of middle bits of the venn diagram of automotive enthusiasts all sorts of

People have a love of an mx-5 yet very few seem to like the nc the reason for that usually seems to be the fact that by mx-5 standards it’s a little bit of a porker however if you compare it with just about any other car especially a convertible it’s not really that heavy still the nd was a lot lighter and of course the nb and a which are very similarly related

Are much lighter again and of course they have that rawness and that specialness of being the original in the case of the n a and that’s left the nc sort of sitting in the middle really doesn’t help that very many of them are the 1.8 liter petrol which produces a pretty pathetic 125 odd horsepower even this 2 litre version scarcely gets something close to 170

Break which isn’t really enough to set the world on fire in fact it’ll barely warm it up in fact i think this thing’s about as damaging to the environment as a prius possibly lesser if you ask certain people however i am a man that likes to try things out and see what they’re like for myself because actually i must admit i have something of a soft spot for the

Nc and in fact i was actually planning on getting one of these instead of my s2000 huh true story the good news is that because these cars are so entirely unloved they’re quite cheap to buy you can get a good condition nc for about 4 000 pounds and granted it might not be the fanciest or latest one and the truth is because i didn’t really prep for this review

I don’t know much about them at all maybe that’s for the best because the less i know the less i’m likely to say and get wrong instead that leaves me with the job of talking simply about how the car drives and i’ve got to say i actually rather like it the steering wheel is a joy to hold simple thin rimmed not squishy and big and bold like a lot of modern bmw

Wheels this particular car is the two liter but it’s got the folding hard top and actually there’s a lot to be said for that combination with the top up it’s presumably a little bit quieter than with the soft top version now the reason that ali’s mum picked the hardtop having previously had a soft top is because she does a lot of longer journeys with the car

And when you’re on a motorway soft top convertibles well they’re not the nicest place to be i can attest to that having an s2000 and having spent a lot of time behind the wheel of boxsters and so on and so forth a lot of the time you find that they’re just as noisy with the roof up as they are with the roof down hard tops tend to be considerably more refined

Sure there’s a bit of a weight and therefore dynamic penalty for it but actually this car is quite engaging quite involving and really still feels to me like a proper mx-5 now the original cars i do know had double wishbone front and rear and i think this one might have done away with that possibly has a multi-link at the back don’t quote me on it however it’s

Still really nicely damped and it’s what i’d expect from a sports car of this kind the body moves and rolls and will pitch and bob about as you’re moving down a road like this the fact that it has little to no torque even in two liter form means you work the gearbox and it’s a good thing then that that gearbox is actually a real delight to use in fact i believe

The third generation mx-5 by this one still had its gearbox in use long after the model had gone out of production because they were putting it in the fiat and a bath one two four apparently this box can cope with quite a bit of power now for petrol heady types the one to drive surely is gonna be one of the bbr kitted cars because those guys can get about 200

Horsepower if not more out of one of these and that’s without the help of something like a turbo i’d never like the idea of turbos in a car like this because whenever i drive something turbocharged small and light i think it just doesn’t work supercharged absolutely fine because you keep the responsiveness you keep the interaction but turbos now that’s just

That’s just wrong it just doesn’t work for me now of course it doesn’t scream or shout like my s2000 can but that’s because it’s pretty much bone standard there are a few odd things about the nc granted what bugs me the most i think is the side repeaters they’re huge absolutely massive and for no apparent reason if you are the sort of person who gets their

Kicks from straight line performance absolutely not the car for you but it revs cleanly nicely smoothly and i have no particular problem with the amount of power on offer when you consider the price that these now go for and like i said if you want more there’s always a way to get it as a practical proposition the mx-5 has got a few good things going for it

Too it’s not the nicest interior but it is a step forward versus the old na or nb you’ve got climate control and you’ve got both stereo you’ve even got heated seats and the boots not actually too bad a size vaguely comparable to the s2000 a little bit smaller i would say and that’s impressive when you consider the folding hardtop in play the hardtop is actually

Pretty slick in operation goes down nicely and easily and of course electrically and it means the nc is actually a pretty sharp looking little character i actually think it’s one of the best looking of the mx-5 family i do and i can never make my mind up whether i prefer the pre facelift or the facelift i’m never sure i’m never sure but to be in it’s not all

That bad yeah sure there’s some cheap plastics and whatnot going on but again these cars were produced as a cheap vehicle that’s that’s their thing now if you want power oversteer and all that sort of jazz i don’t think it’s going to happen very readily it just isn’t the grunt i mean i gotta say that gearbox mx-5 gearboxes are are up there with the absolute best

Of them it’s so nice and it shouldn’t be a surprise to me because i love the way that the rx-8 drives and that in fact is simply a stretched version of this platform with a fixed roof on it i always love the idea of putting that crazy rosary engine in one of these because i think that would just be the perfect thing which would be such a great combination but

The little four banger does all right and the good thing about mx5 of course is they’re cheap to run cheap to service they’re pretty reliable and if you want to do anything to them there’s almost certainly going to be a part for that a specialist for that somewhere you can take it and so let’s make an ideal car for sort of doing everything with really and in

Fact even if you’re considering one of these perhaps not just as a first sports car but a first car it’s actually a pretty high water mark the steering is not too bad it’s got a reasonable weighting to it tells you what’s going on there’s even some texture coming through which is rather a novelty when you drive a lot of modern cars pedals are nicely weighted

They’re light enough to not really be an issue in normal use clutch in particular is absolutely fine not heavy like you’d find in a supercar that sort of thing but they’re still involving enough it’s the transfer of weight in this car that i really enjoy even at more modest speeds i’m following some guy in a skoda i don’t think he even cares really what he’s

Doing but it’s a nice little thing to be in the buffeting is actually not a problem at all we’ve got a little piece of glass here which is helping keep the wind off of us but actually i’m just feeling a tiny bit of it in my hair and it’s pretty chilly out there today it’s pretty pretty grim and miserable as you can probably see from all the cameras but the

Mx-5 is doing a great little job i have to be perfectly honest actually i think out of the box this guy’s probably a bit better set up and a lot safer to drive than an s2000 particularly an early one like mine those are a bit spiky on the limit you have to know them and you have to be ready for them i probably wouldn’t be going any quicker than this in the

S2000 that’s the honest truth so i know mx5 people really don’t like this car and i understand why i get it there’s lots of good things about the na the mb there’s lots of great things about the nd as well fantastic car i love those good looking thing crazy package mazda have done so well to actually be able to make that car at all and to keep it true to their

Philosophy but there is absolutely nothing wrong with the nc i know it’s got its haters and i’m happy for them to stay hating because it means that maybe one day actually i will buy one might not even be for me might be for the girlfriend because it’ll be a perfect convertible for her because she hasn’t really got any driving experience so she can enjoy it and

Then i can enjoy it as well i’d even actually go for the hard top but i would have to go for the 2-liter that i think would be non-negotiable this is not exactly a firecracker of an engine and the 1.8 i imagine might just frustrate instead it’s damp it’s sodden and it’s pretty greasy out there and even still this car is outright refusing to really move around

So there’s no worries about the two liter being too much for even a new driver so there we have it that is the mazda mx-5 nc it’s not rubbish who’da thunk it thanks for watching please like comment below subscribe if you haven’t already and i’ll see you all for the next one bye you

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Does The NC Mazda MX-5 (Miata) Deserve The Hate? My First Drive By JayEmm on Cars