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Miata RF Observations - 500 miles in

I’ve had the car for most of a week, and Mrs. Shoe Pilot and I took the scenic route to Fredericksburg today. We drove out with the top down, and back with the top up. We probably spent about 4 hours in the car.

The drive itself was fantastic. I REALLY like driving the car. The transmission feels great, the engine is responsive, and the suspension and steering are fantastic. All the great stuff people have been saying about Miatas for nearly 30 years is true.

According to the dash display, we averaged about 33 MPG, which is more than reasonable for blast through the hill country. I wasn’t keeping my foot DEEP in it, but most of the time I was technically eligible for a speeding ticket if a really strict cop had nailed me.


The noise with the top down wasn’t too bad. With the side windows up and running 65-70 we could talk without raising our voices too much. With the top up it was quieter with just a little wind noise from the joints in the top, but the road noise was far more evident. The road surface itself certainly made a difference, there were a couple places where it was pretty quiet. Most of the roads we were on today were NOT super smooth, so it was a little roar-y. I don’t know if it’s a lack of sound deadening for weight savings, or if the Bridgestone tires are just particularly loud or a combination of the two.

The weather today was warm. The top temperature I saw on the dash display was 86°. When we got into the car after a stop, full-blast AC for a few minutes cooled the cabin nicely and then I dialed the fan speed back to about 60% to maintain a comfortable temperature. The headliner was nice and cool to the touch so either outside heat radiating into the cabin isn’t a problem or the AC is really great.

The cabin is snug (duh) but the seats were supportive in the right places and soft in the right places. I wouldn’t mind some height adjustment. I’d like to be a little closer to the floor and that’d be especially true if I had the top up and was wearing a helmet. As far as positioning goes, in our regular road trip car (Mrs. Shoe Pilot’s Volt) I have to get the seat adjusted JUST RIGHT to be able to drive for several hours at a stretch. Usually my right knee is banging into the center console and right on an edge so it gets uncomfortable pretty quickly. In the Miata, my knee touches the console but it’s far enough in that while I’m conscious of it, it’s not annoying me. The car comes with 2 cup holders and I’ve banished one of them to the garage. The other is mounted in the position next to the passengers knees because otherwise I hit it with my elbow. Mrs. Shoe Pilot is small, so it didn’t get in her way. When I sat in the passenger seat on a test drive it WAS in my way.

One thing I’d do differently - The nav/entertainment screen is tough to see in the sunlight and the glossy surface of the touch screen shows fingerprints pretty badly. If I were in charge, the Miatas would get a full sunlight readable screen like on Dell rugged laptops and Panasonic toughbooks. They’re available in touch screen with a matte surface finish and they’d be a big improvement when driving top-down.


Mrs. Shoe Pilot was mildly annoyed by the hump in the passenger footwell. She’s going to have to switch to a smaller purse for the next road trip.

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