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Old 10-30-2015, 10:59 AM   #1
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Default Turbo ND? Cool car

My first impression of the ND/16Miata: It will make a great turbo car.

Picked it up two weeks ago from Roger Beasley's Mazda South in Austin. The whole purchase experience was very pleasant. If you live within 3,000 miles of Austin, I'd recommend you buy your next Mazda from those guys. A perfect excuse to spend the next couple days driving the thing.

Second impression: It will make a great turbo car.

I must have swallowed the magazine reviews and Mazda's advertising HL&S. Clear expectations were of a perfect Miata. Ain't the case.

Sure feels smaller inside. The seat squeezes me a bit, even after I lost 10 pounds. Seems like there is less left/right space too. Yet, I can't reach a fully open door to close it with a seat belt anchored. I'm 5'6" and 180 pounds. Judge for yourself. A 6' 1" buddy drove it and said he fit okay. The seat was all the way aft and I noticed he was steering with the sides of his knees. On every depression of the clutch, we turned left. (one should never turn left)

The clutch works perfectly. More progressive engagement than usual. Less abrupt. Usually a sign of weakness, but not this time.

Third impression: Same

I am enormously relieved to be told what gear is engaged at the moment. And even more so regarding when to shift. I haven't found it yet, but I'd wager there is an indicator that tells me to rotate the steering wheel clockwise when desiring to turn right. Easy to fix with black tape or a small sign telling the thing to mind its own business, not mine.

The chassis is softer than expected. Really quite okay, just prefer it a bit stiffer. Not enough roll resistance at the rear. All that is easy to fix, but age my influence my judgement when the time comes. My age, that is.

Straight line stability is first class. It requires locking the steering in a fixed position, but when doing so it really is stable. On driving home on I-35 I needed to scratch my nose. Lifted the left hand off the steering wheel to do the scratching and promptly turned right. The steering ratio is some quicker than I am accustomed to.

Still thinking it will make a great turbo car.

The electric motor assisting the steering is the same one used in earth moving equipment. If I can find a way to feed it into the front wheels it won't need a turbo. The non-bright idea of disconnecting it didn't work out so well. It will not return to straight ahead w/o the assist. My John Deere mower shares that problem.

So the ratio is too quick and too much assist. The initial impression was light and responsive. But, after a 300 mile Interstate drive, I was physically very frazzled from the level of attention needed. And still haven't recovered.
This will be hard to change in small enough increments and not lose some of the light and responsive stuff. I still may give it a try, but first things first.

Still, the same impression regarding the turbo.

The tranny is the best shifting gear box I have ever driven. The coordination of the clutch engagement rate and the shifter is absolutely perfect. I've been shifting a bit clumsier with age, but the excellence of this transmission has me back feeling like a young Stirling Moss. Or, sort of.

I have not gotten used to the styling yet. She sits too high. Hard to fix correctlly. You surely know that twinge of "wow, she's good looking" that we like to feel on walking up to our favorite car. Not quite there yet. I've gotten up to "cute" but that's probably about it.

Madza claims an ideal 50/50 weight dist. Maybe that explains the battery up front. 50/50 is bogus for all aspects of performance. I wish they had not done that, it makes them look slightly amiss technically, plus the car does not work as well. Maybe its just because the trunk volume is small. I presume it is small, as I've not found it yet. That 2+% weight dist change by moving it to the rear will prove useful.

Access to the space behind the seats does not exist. I did manage to get one hand back there but got jammed and needed help getting extracted. Help laughed their butts off before assisting me.

Wind noise is greater with the top up and windows closed than it is with the top down. With top down, the wind path is quite well directed. It is downright pleasant.

The motor is possibly the best I've ever driven. 2.0 L, direct injection, 13 to 1 CR (maybe they mean the expansion ratio it 13 to 1). This thing pulls very strongly at any rpm I've been willing to use full throttle. Absolutely great. It revs like gang busters and even sounds off about it. It reminds me of an Alfa Romeo 1.3 Veloce motor from the late 1950's, only better yet.
Mechanically very quiet and perfectly smooth. I don't know if it has any counter balance gadgets, but with a redline of 6,500, I doubt it needs any such help. I absolutely love this motor.

The horsepower figures are not overly impressive, but the machine is gobs faster than all previous Miatas. MSM, not included. You will be hugely surprised how pleasantly quick it is.

No comment on the brakes. They look adequate, but I really don't give a damn. If you do, you have your foot on the wrong pedal.

There it is, not perfect, but I don't care. The motor and tranny excellence is
so great I'd love it even if Mazda forgot the wheels and tires.

And, it WILL make a great turbo car.

corky
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Old 10-30-2015, 11:45 AM   #2
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So when does this turbo go on? I assume you're planning to start putting together a kit?
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Old 10-30-2015, 11:54 AM   #3
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Thanks for the humorous review Corky

I'm REALLY curious about the turbo SkyActives (Activs? Activz? What's the right grammEr there?) The 13:1 ratio is quite likely the expansion volume as you described, the SkyActiv platform is all Atkinson cycle. My naive thought is that supercharging will be a cakewalk, but turbocharging will be a curious endeavor with all the mandatory overlap.

I'm REALLY impressed with how light Mazda was able to make the ND platform, in the face of all the modern crash standards.
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Old 10-30-2015, 12:11 PM   #4
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Did you get it aligned?
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Old 10-30-2015, 12:57 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by albuquerquefx View Post
(Activs? Activz? What's the right grammEr there?)
-s or -es at the end of almost every english puralized word (even invariants).
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Old 10-30-2015, 01:27 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Braineack View Post
-s or -es at the end of almost every english puralized word (even invariants).
Well, yes I do get that. The conundrum for me is Mazda purposefully leaving the "E" out of SkyActiv'e'. My immediate supposition was "SkyActivs" as the plural forum, however the double-consonant S-trailing-V doesn't look right either. Then we're left with SkyActives, which seems to invalidate Mazda's marketing ploy.

So I figure 90's l33k sp3ak is the correct method: Dem sKyAcTivZ, y0.
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Old 10-30-2015, 01:41 PM   #7
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skyactives.

and if someone says skyactii, you have my permission to punch them.
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Old 10-30-2015, 02:00 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Braineack View Post
skyactives.

and if someone says skyactii, you have my permission to punch them.
Brain's permission holds up in court.
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Old 10-30-2015, 02:49 PM   #9
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SkyActiv Mazdas. Problem solved. Quit trying to pluralize the desciptor.


e.g. We went shopping for stereos; we liked the louds.
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Old 10-30-2015, 03:55 PM   #10
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Man, following your train of thought is like playing a game of Pong.
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Old 10-30-2015, 03:57 PM   #11
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Quote:
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Man, following your train of thought is like playing a game of tequilaPong.
FTFY
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Old 10-30-2015, 06:46 PM   #12
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here's to the post-omega ND
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Old 10-30-2015, 06:47 PM   #13
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here's to the beta-omega ND
FTFY
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Old 10-30-2015, 06:56 PM   #14
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margaritapong. Fun to read though.

Oh, and an edit: MSM included. The new ND flat SMOKES a stock MSM in all measures of acceleration.
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Old 10-31-2015, 11:03 AM   #15
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Hate to ask; what does FTFY mean?

And afraid to say; my other car, the civil one, is a BMW 535i. But, at least it's a turbo. Twin, at that. Pretty nifty motor, bloody nice car, paddle shifters, gadgets galore, and fast to boot.

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Old 10-31-2015, 11:13 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Corky Bell View Post
Hate to ask; what does Fixed That For You mean?

Here, FTFY...


Thanks for the review. Looking forward to your turbo review.
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Old 10-31-2015, 11:36 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bahurd View Post
Here, FTFY...


Thanks for the review. Looking forward to your turbo review.
It doesn't mean **** the **** yes? ....huh....
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Old 02-10-2016, 03:28 AM   #18
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I imagine the high compression ratio I'd a problem.
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Old 02-10-2016, 03:44 AM   #19
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I was gonna say the same as Ed, the old NC was about as fast as a stock mazdaspeed, and the new one supposed to be faster than the old...

Stock mazdaspeeds kinda suck in nearly every way, don't they?

Are they letting people test drive these things yet? I'm trying to convince someone to buy one instead of a brz...
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Old 02-10-2016, 07:45 AM   #20
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I got a test drive with one that literally rolled off the truck that day, so yes.
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