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2006 Mazda MX-5 Miata

The Good  J  Fun Fun Fun.  Zippy engine, Great steering feel, Great mix of old miata and new 2006 car feel.  Quick open and close top.

The Bad  L  Very small interior.  Small luggage space.  Price goes up fast.  Lots of hard plastic inside.

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Ever since Mazda launched the roadster craze in 1989, millions of people have jumped on the convertible band wagon.  These hip cars have become the want it dream car of millions even though they have not sold like a SUV.  Truthfully there are not many convertibles that can be had for a descent price and the Miata was one of the few that was affordable.  The MX-5 Miata has largely remained unchanged over the years until now when Mazda has done a total redesign of the vehicle while still retaining similar looks.  The new MX-5 Miata is more nimble, more sporty, more aggressive, and more fun, however not much more roomy.

"The third-generation Mazda MX-5 Miata builds on the formidable qualities of the previous generation cars, and sets the standard for affordable roadsters for the 21st century," says Yasunari Otachi, vehicle line manager for MX-5 Miata.  Six versions of the new MX-5 Miata are offered: the Club Spec, standard MX-5, Touring, Sport, Grand Touring and for the very first time from launch, Mazda also will offer 750 Limited special versions of the MX-5.  "Our new model range also is the broadest ever, catering from the great value Club Spec right up to the Limited special version, which specifically celebrates the arrival of the car that probably, more than any other, sums and celebrates Mazda's Zoom-Zoom philosophy", said Otachi.

The Club Spec is a new version, and represents the least expensive way of getting into an MX-5 Miata at a base price of $20,995.  As with the next step-up MX-5, it gets a five-speed manual gearbox, 16-inch aluminum sports wheels, power-assisted door mirrors, dual exhausts, power windows, cloth upholstery, AM/FM/CD player with four speakers, dual front airbags and side airbags.  In addition, the 2nd level up MX-5 gets air conditioning and a leather-covered steering wheel for a base price of $21,995.  The 3rd step up Miata Touring, adds to this fog lamps in the lower bumper, cruise control, Advanced Keyless Entry with retractable key and steering wheel-mounted cruise and audio controls, among other extra features for a base price of $22,995.  The new six-speed manual gearbox with leather shift knob is standard on the 4th level up MX-5 Miata Sport, as are bigger 17-inch alloy sports wheels, for a base price of $23,495.  The 5th level up Grand Touring gets leather seats, faux leather door trim, cloth soft top, and a Bose audio system with seven speakers. When upgrading to the Grand Touring with Premium Package, the vehicle gets Mazda Advanced Keyless Entry & Start System.  The Grand Touring model is tested here which starts at a base price of $24,995.  The top-range 3rd Generation Limited model adds exclusive Velocity Red paint with Red or Black leather upholstery, chrome grille, windshield trim, headlamp bezels, fog lamps bezels and door handles, chrome rings around the gauges and vents, silver instrument panel finisher, stainless steel scuff plates and unique-design 17-inch wheels with bright finish, among other unique features.

The all-new exterior is rounder and more substantial than the previous version.  While remaining distinctly Miata, after a few days in real life you begin to pull out Aston-Marton-like front end traits, BMW-like side profiles, and the smoothness in the bumpers as in a Boxster.  Headlights sweep around the corners for a modern appearance.  Tail lamps are more traditional to the original Miata using a clear design material however.  A depression in the front hood panel is similar to that found on the RX-8.  Chrome latches on the rear deck provide a strong feeling.  A dual tipped rear exhaust finishes off the stylistic changed.  This third-generation car is 1.8 inches longer, 1.6 inches wider and 0.7 inches taller.  Wheelbase length is increased by 2.5 inches, primarily to give more cockpit space than the previous version. 

The new soft top is flatter up top and has a long rear contour flowing onto the rear deck smoothly.  The top features a glass rearview windshield with heating element for quick defrosting.  While it is a manual top, it is very easy to use, just press a lever and fold it back, remembering to either open both windows or doors first.  A hard push on the top locks it into place when folded.  Opening required us to twist our body and pull up on the top using one of the two built in handles.  Opening and closing from outside the car while standing is much easier.  Optional is a hard top which is very much like that of a Boxster hard top widening out to the rear for more light and a aggressive look. 

The interior is modern, clean and fresh with nothing bulging in your face.  The flat T layout is not very futuristic but quite easy to figure out.  Everything is within easy reach in this small cockpit.  New items are a tilt steering wheel offering 1.3 inches of adjustment and a new air deflector between the two seats which folds and is perforated to slow down reverse air flow into the cabin.  Also new is a full 2 inches of increased seat adjustment although you still cannot stretch your legs fully while seated in the passenger seat.  Varied use of plastics makes most parts different to look at and feel even though there is heavy use of hard plastic.

We liked the large thick leather wrapped steering wheel.  The main feature on the dash is the piano black glossy trim used.  The instrument cluster is rounded and simple but the hard plastic lid on this area looks a bit cheap.  Four circular air vents are easy to control and offer push button closing.  Four cup holders can be found in the interior for all your heavy drinking needs.  What is lacking is space for your Ipod, or cell phone, which usually ends up in the cup holders.  The stereo system is good but not excellent and sometimes sounds like it is not a true Bose system, the speakers should be improved.  A satellite and media key as well as CD changer can be found  built into the unit already.  Climate control is manual not automatic temperature controlled but functions well and is quiet.  Aluminum look parts such as the door handles and trim on the steering wheel looks like that of a car in this price range but not something superb.  At night interior lighting is a bit low, with only one lamp near the rear view mirror. We would have liked more ambient lighting in the trunk and in the floor.  Headlights work well and are quite bright for being basic halogen beams.  Interior room is not very good for those weighing over 160 pounds.  Tall persons may have an equally difficult time behind the wheel.  Seats are comfortable for long journeys of 2 hours or more but you are sitting very low to the ground and that can get tiring after this much time.

The heart of the 2006 MX-5 is a highly-responsive MZR-series 2.0-liter four cylinder engine.  This light and compact engine features chain driven double overhead camshafts, lightweight fly wheel, variable intake valve timing, electronically controlled port fuel injection and coil-on-plug ignition.  It produces 170-horsepower at 6,700 rpm and 140 lb-ft of torque at 5,000 rpm with 90 percent of torque being available from 2,500 rpm to 6,700 rpm redline.  While this much power may seem low in today's 300 horsepower car market, it is very peppy and zips you to high speeds quickly in the lightweight Miata.  The Exhaust note is deep along with the high revving engine but is not the sound of a very powerful car, more of a lightweight fun car.  We would have liked to see something with a Tubi exhaust note. 

The all-new MX-5 benefits from three transmission choices: five-speed manual, six-speed manual and six-speed Sport A/T automatic with out test car having the six-speed manual.  The all-new six-speed manual transmission boasts ultra-short throws, achieved by use of triple-cone synchros on the first four gears.  The shift gate is hard and not as smooth as say in a BMW 3 series but is definitely more fun this way for a two door sports car.  Opt for the automatic transmission and you have paddle mounted shift levers behind the steering wheel to change gears yourself.  We would prefer this for city driving. 

The engine is mounted front mid ship for better handling and balance. Weight was also reduced considerably throughout the development process.  Mazda utilized a ‘gram strategy' to weight the smallest parts and make a large overall weight effect.  The design of the rear-view mirror was simplified trimming 84 grams. An aluminum hood and trunk lid and many suspension and braking components are some weight saving measures.  Overall weight has increased by just 27 lbs over the second-generation car with a bigger car, stronger body, and side airbags and ABS system. 

With the driver in place the Miata has 50:50 weight distribution.  Bending rigidity has been improved by 22-percent and torsional rigidity by 47-percent.  A Z shaped frame made of aluminum rigidly links the rear of the transmission to the front of the differential housing assuring better conveyance of the drivers throttle inputs to the rear wheels and providing more feel to the driver. 

The front suspension is a double wishbone setup as in higher end vehicles.  Aluminum anchor points are reinforced to provide the desired lateral stiffness.  Bilstein shocks are used in our upgraded suspension.  The Miata is comfortable to drive on bumps and is flat and stable in curves.  It is not overly stiff and not loose at all either.  Steering is light and highly touted to be accurate.  The power-assisted rack and pinion system is lighter and more precise than the second generation MX-5.  We found it to be quite accurate but not amazingly connected as we have felt in some other vehicles which are much higher priced.  Front disc brakes are 11.4 inches in diameter and rear discs are 11.0 inches.  Stopping performance is very good and solid feeling. 

Safety features are also updated with new dual front air bags and side air bags which go up to the level of your head.  Dynamic Stability Control is available along with the antilock brake system and run flat tires to help you stay out of any possible bad situations.  Structural bars behind the headrests can support 2 and 2.7 times the vehicles weight each. 

The new Mazda MX-5 Miata is a great small convertible.  It makes you want to go out and get a bottle of milk and then go back out to get some eggs.  It is a driver's car as most convertible's are.  Although it is small and fits a smaller and smaller group of the American population each day (Americans are getting larger and larger) it gives you connection to the road, wind in your hair, and a passion to drive which is lacking in most offerings on the market.  We would have liked the Miata to be just a tad bigger and then perhaps it would be perfect for the price it falls into.  We still imagine this to be a girlish car, but we have never seen a young girl driving a Miata where we live.  So perhaps Mazda is on the right track after all. 

 

PRICING INVOICE RETAIL
Base Pricing 22,568 24,435
2PR &  1PR  Premium package 2 and 1  1,374 1,600
1AP   Appearance Package 915 1,145
AT6 6-Speed Sport AT 945 1,100
RF1  Run Flat Tires and Tire Pressure Monitor 440 515
CDC In Dash 6 Disc CD/MP3 Changer 400 500
1TP Interior Trim Package 345 435
SAT  Satellite Radio 340 430
RSP  Rear Lip Spoiler 280 350
MGB Front and Rear Splash Guard 160 199
FLD Chrome Fuel FIller Door 80 100

 

  2006 Mazda MX-5 Miata
Grand Touring 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl 6M)
2005 Ford Mustang
Premium 2dr Convertible (4.0L 6cyl 5M)
2005 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder
GS 2dr Convertible (2.4L 4cyl 5M)
2005 Volkswagen New Beetle
GLS 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl 5M)
2006 Pontiac Solstice
2dr Convertible (2.4L 4cyl 5M)
MSRP $24,435 $24,815 $25,149 $23,040 $19,420
Invoice $22,568 $22,773 $23,811 $21,483 $18,158
Basic Warranty 4 yr. / 50000 mi. 3 yr. / 36000 mi. 5 yr. / 60000 mi. 4 yr. / 50000 mi. 3 yr. / 36000 mi.
Drivetrain 4 yr. / 50000 mi. 3 yr. / 36000 mi. 10 yr. / 100000 mi. 5 yr. / 60000 mi. 3 yr. / 36000 mi.
Roadside 4 yr. / 50000 mi. 3 yr. / 36000 mi. 5 yr. / Unlimited mi. 4 yr. / 50000 mi. 3 yr. / 36000 mi.
Base Engine Displacement 2.0 liters 4.0 liters 2.4 liters 2.0 liters 2.4 liters
Valvetrain 16 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)
12 Valves
single overhead cam (SOHC)
16 Valves
single overhead cam (SOHC)
8 Valves
single overhead cam (SOHC)
16 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)
Horsepower 170 hp @ 6700 rpm 210 hp @ 5300 rpm 147 hp @ 5500 rpm 115 hp @ 5400 rpm 177 hp @ 6600 rpm
Torque 140 ft-lbs. @ 5000 rpm 240 ft-lbs. @ 3500 rpm 158 ft-lbs. @ 4000 rpm 125 ft-lbs. @ 3200 rpm 166 ft-lbs. @ 4800 rpm
Manual 6 Speed 5 Speed 5 Speed 5 Speed 5 Speed
Driven Wheels rear wheel drive rear wheel drive front wheel drive front wheel drive rear wheel drive
Independent Suspension four-wheel front four-wheel front four-wheel
Stabilizer Bars front and rear front front and rear front and rear front and rear
Tires P205/45R17
all season
P215/65R16
all season
P205/55HR16
all season
P205/55HR16
all season
P245/45R18
all season
Convertible Roof manual convertible roof power convertible roof power convertible roof power convertible roof manual convertible roof
Brakes - Front ventilated disc ventilated disc ventilated disc ventilated disc ventilated disc
Brakes - Rear disc ventilated disc drum disc disc
Braking Assist Not Available Not Available Not Available Optional Not Available
Anti - Lock Brakes 4-wheel ABS 4-wheel ABS - Optional Not Available 4-wheel ABS 4-wheel ABS - Optional
Traction Control Optional Optional Not Available Optional Not Available
Stability Control Optional Not Available Not Available Optional Not Available
Xenon Headlights Optional Not Available Not Available Optional Not Available
Anti-Theft Alarm System anti-theft alarm system - Optional anti-theft alarm system - Optional remote anti-theft alarm system remote anti-theft alarm system anti-theft alarm system
Premium Brand Speakers Bose Not Available Infinity Monsoon Not Available
AM/FM AM/FM AM/FM AM/FM AM/FM AM/FM
CD In-Dash single CD player 6 CD player single CD player single CD player single CD player
SPECS
Handling MX-5 Miata Mustang Eclipse Spyder New Beetle Solstice
Turning Circle 30.8 ft. 33.4 ft. 35.4 ft. 35.8 ft. 35 ft.
Max. Cargo Capacity 5 cu. ft. 10 cu. ft. 7 cu. ft. 5 cu. ft. 4 cu. ft.
City 24 mpg. 19 mpg. 23 mpg. 24 mpg. Being Researched
Highway 30 mpg. 28 mpg. 31 mpg. 30 mpg. Being Researched
Length 157.3 in. 187.6 in. 176.8 in. 161.1 in. 157.2 in.
Width 67.7 in. 74 in. 68.9 in. 67.9 in. 71.3 in.
Height 49 in. 54.5 in. 52.8 in. 59.1 in. 50.1 in.
Weight 2498 lbs.   3097 lbs. 3082 lbs. 2860 lbs.
Wheel Base 91.7 in. 107.1 in. 100.8 in. 98.8 in. 95.1 in.
Ground Clearance 4.6 in. 5.7 in. 6.4 in. 4.7 in.  
Interior MX-5 Miata Mustang Eclipse Spyder New Beetle Solstice
Front Headroom 37.4 in. 36.3 in. 39.4 in. 40.7 in. 38.5 in.
Front Shoulder Room 53.2 in. 55.4 in. 52.3 in. 52.8 in. 52.4 in.
Front Hip Room 50.6 in. 53.6 in. 51.9 in. Not Published Being Researched
Rear Hip Room Not Available 45.2 in. 41.5 in. Not Published Not Available
Front Leg Room 43.1 in. 42.7 in. 42.3 in. 39.4 in. 42.7 in.
Rear Leg Room Not Available 30.3 in. 29.4 in. 31.5 in. Not Available
Maximum Luggage Capacity 5.3 cu.ft. 9.7 cu.ft. 7.2 cu.ft. 5 cu.ft. 3.8 cu.ft.
Maximum Seating 2 4 4 4 2

 

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

ENGINE

 

 

 

Type

2.0L DOHC 16-valve 4-cylinder engine with VVT

Displacement (cu in/cc)

122.0/1,999

Bore x Stroke (in)

3.44 x 3.27

Compression Ratio

10.8:1

Output (SAE net)

170 @ 6,700 rpm

 

(166 @ 6,700 rpm - 6 A/T)

Torque (SAE net)

140 @ 5,000 rpm

Redline

6,700

 

 

 

 

FUEL SYSTEM

 

 

 

Fuel Injection

Multi-port electronic fuel injection

Recommended Fuel

Premium Unleaded

Emission Control

Evaporative purge control. EGR control

 

system. Catalytic converter system.

 

 

 

 

IGNITION SYSTEM

 

 

 

System

Distributor Less Ignition (DLI)

Alternator

12V-100 A

 

 

 

 

TRANSMISSION

 

 

 

Type

Rear Wheel Drive (RWD)

Gear Ratios :1

5-speed

6-speed

6-speed

 

Manual

Manual

Sport A/T

First

3.14

3.82

3.54

Second

1.89

2.26

2.06

Third

1.33

1.64

1.40

Fourth

1.00

1.18

1.00

Fifth

0.81

1.00

0.71

Sixth

N/A

0.83

0.58

Reverse

3.76

3.60

3.17

Final Drive

4.10

Clutch Type

Single dry plate with diaphragm spring

 

 

 

 

STEERING AND BRAKES

 

 

 

Steering Type

Rack-and-Pinion

Power Assist

Electro-Hydraulic Power Assist Steering (EHPAS)

Turning Diameter (ft)

30.8

Turns Lock-to-Lock

2.7

Overall Ratio

15.0:1

Brakes

Diagonal Hydraulic with ABS

Front

11.4-inch ventilated discs

Rear

11.0-inch solid discs

Parking

Mechanical (lever type)

 

 

 

 

CAPACITIES

 

 

 

Passenger Seating

2

Fuel (gal)

12.7

Oil (qts)

4.9

Coolant (qts)

7.5

Vehicle Size Category

Two-Seater

Cargo Volume (cu ft)

5.3

DIMENSIONS

 

 

 

 

Inches (mm)

Length

157.3 (3,995)

Width

67.7 (1,720)

Height

49.0 (1,245)

Wheelbase

91.7 (2,329)

Min. Ground Clearance (laden)

4.6 (117)

Track

 

 

 

Front

58.7 (1,491)

Rear

58.9 (1,496)

Head Room

 

 

 

Front

37.4 (950)

Leg Room

 

 

 

Front

43.1 (1,095)

Shoulder Room

 

 

 

Front

53.2 (1,351)

Hip Room

 

 

 

Front

50.6 (1,285)

 

 

 

 

TIRES AND WHEELS

 

 

 

 

Club Spec/

Sport/

 

MX-5/Touring

Grand Touring

Tires

P205/50R-16

P205/45R-17

Wheels

16 X 6-1/2 J

17 X 7 J

 

aluminum alloy

aluminum alloy

 

 

 

 

SUSPENSION

 

 

 

Front

Double Wishbone

Rear

Multilink

 

 

 

 

CURB WEIGHT

 

 

 

Curb Weight (lbs)

Manual

Automatic

Club Spec

2,441

-

MX-5

2,474

-

Touring

2,474

2,527

Sport

2,498

2,527

Grand Touring

2,498

2,527

GVWR (lbs)

3,078

Weight Distribution %

 

front/rear

52/48

 

 

 

 

FUEL ECONOMY

 

 

 

EPA Mileage

5-speed

6-speed

6-speed

 

Manual

Manual

Sport A/T

City/Highway (mpg) Club Spec

25/30

-

-

City/Highway (mpg) MX-5

25/30

-

-

City/Highway (mpg) Touring

25/30

-

23/30

City/Highway (mpg) Sport

-

24/30

23/30

City/Highway (mpg) Grand Touring

-

24/30

23/30

 

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