Guess it’s time to join the bandwagon.
This thing was a festering pile of dogshit, to be honest. Rusty, unreliable, and I and many friends gave plenty of blood to that thing to keep it running. It didn’t help that I was driving 100 miles a day, and couldn’t afford to not drive it when it was broken... Oh, and it was horrifically slow. Like, 0-60 in 17 seconds, and that was on a freshly reringed engine.
This was even more of a pile of dogshit than the Golf, to be completely honest. It redefined “rusty”, the suspension was blown out, the steering was vague, the automatic was slipping, it was burning oil rapidly... but it was a reliable pile of dogshit, so there’s that.
This was my first car, so I can’t shit on it too badly. Wasn’t even very rusty! Reliability wasn’t so hot, but some of that was my own doing... and then I crashed it. It donated the engine to the Golf above. Of course, more weight meant it was even slower than the Golf above.
This is actually the car that I’ve owned the longest. Rarely did it leave me stranded, but it certainly had its problems, and they weren’t cheap problems (compounded by the small market for people who know what they’re doing with a VW). And, really, the steering wasn’t amazing, the suspension wasn’t great... but the LOL pedal on the right was quite effective at destroying tires, so there is that. And, it was a comfortable roadtrip machine.
On paper, this thing was a piece of shit. It was rusty (it got far, far worse than that photo), it was running on 3.5 cylinders, and it had a few other problems here and there.
In practice, though? It was amazing. Eventually it lost the timing belt tensioner, and I didn’t feel like fixing it, and decided it was time for a return to diesels - I bought the Golf TDI when that happened. What I actually should have done is replace it with another Miata.
Basically the 1992, but with more power and torque, and in decent shape. As I’ve gotten older, though, the road noise means I hate taking road trips in it - being designed in the 1980s, it has the NVH of a 1980s convertible. It also doesn’t have cargo space, even if I am good at being inventive with what I’ve got. I’ve averaged 24.6 MPG (4.07 gal/100 mi, 9.56 l/100 km), which is kinda mediocre for something this tiny. I basically just drive it on the weekends, nowadays - as a toy is where it shines.
No, Miata is not always the answer. This thing blows my mind with how efficient it is - if I’m getting under 50 MPG, something’s wrong or it’s really cold out. (Now, I’ve got a hole ripped in the front of it, so the grille shutters aren’t working right, when it’s really cold, so my mileage has been hit it seems... oh well, insurance will take care of that.) It’s got plenty of space for cargo or people, it’s comfortable on road trips (I just did about 1700 miles in it, about 1000 of those with a friend, and it was nice, unlike the ~2000 mile road trip I did in my Miata, which was... not as bad as it seems, but I suspect I suffered hearing damage), and it’s surprisingly fun to throw around, too.
It’s not as fun as the Miata, so if I were rating cars on their fun quotient, it would be further down the list... but seeing as I’m more of a slow-car fast person, it’d be ahead of my Golf TDI, the suspension and steering are set up quite a bit better.