2004 Mazda Miata MX-5 Reviews
2004 Mazda Miata MX-5 Reviews and Owner Comments
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If you truly love driving curvy roads and want the experience of an old English or Italian open-top sportster without the cost to buy or maintain, look no further. He is my love story: After renting a 1970's Alfa-Romeo Spider for a weekend, I HAD to have a little roadster for the awesome backroads where we live! My then 12 year-old son fell in love with cars that warm Autumn weekend as I drove him all over the twisty backroads in the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains in Virginia. The man who rented the Alfa said he'd sell it (or his TR6) for around $4,000-$5,000 each. I am old enough to remember the service nightmares of Italian and British sports cars, so I told this gentleman who had rented and worked on the old roadsters for a decade or so of his retirement from a "day job" that I was not handy and had no interest in spending time repairing a car; I just wanted the pleasure of driving a 2-seater open-air sports car. His advice was straightforward, simple, and 100% confident: Go out and find yourself a Miata that's 10 or more years old and you will have maybe $4,000 to $7,000 invested in something that's everything you say you are looking for. So I did... and he was right! With the Miata being in the same class as any other modestly priced, small, 4-cylinder car, they are priced accordingly. I paid $7,000 for my 2004 base model with 67k miles (in great shape) 2 years ago (2014). Now 12 years old, I keep it polished and clean, and aside from being wonderful to take out on a warm day or night, it looks really spiffy too. I get compliments EVERY time I take it out and stop in a public place (grocery store, etc.), and yet owning a Miata is not exactly a status thing. It IS what someone who truly loves cars and driving them buys - if nothing else, on nights and weekends - and yet it is reliable and economical if you want it as a daily driver too. I have had more enjoyment from my shiny little red sportster than just about anything I have ever owned in my 55 years. Hop in, start down the road, and I swear my blood pressure and heart rate drop almost instantly. It can be a total thrill of raw cornering fun and engine revving madness or a lovely and relaxing cruise in the country for some fresh air and sunshine. I call it my "street-legal go cart". It is 100% unadulterated fun and yet has all the comforts and conveniences of a modern motor vehicle. The Miata provides all the simple joys of driving that the older, bare-bones roadsters did, only without the constant worries and frustrations of predictable and constant "service issues". It just keeps going happily along, allowing the appreciative driver to do what he/she got into a 2-seater convertible for: Driving fun and pleasure. And, I don't worry about "if" something should break. Mazda parts are cheap and so is service. No different than any other modest brand in that regard. I looked into Porsche Boxsters, a more refined and arguably more beautiful car, but the cost to repair a German sports car is triple or more, not to mention a lot more likely to be needed. I've changed the oil twice and the only time I spend doing anything but driving is pampering my baby. I put a great, "once a year" polish on it the first spring of ownership and wash it every couple of drives, shining up the great alloy wheels and refreshing the shine on the paint with a quickie spray polish here and there. This is a car you can use and abuse or love and pamper. Either way, enjoyment of ownership is off-the-charts high if you want open-air fun plus reliability at a ridiculously affordable price. This can be and most certainly is a car that even most "working class" folks can own as a weekender, vs. waiting for retirement to get a "fine" sports car. I am 6'1", 220# and just barely fit, but for my purposes, its perfectly fine. I have long legs (32 inseam) and am somewhat short-waisted, so my head is not into the top on the few occasions I drive with it up. I agree with the assessment that you either should not get a Miata if you are over 6' tall OR do as I did and try one out first to see if you fit. This car takes corners at speeds faster than I am skilled to take them on the backroads and if the back end ever does start to let loose, it is so naturally controllable to drift that you feel like a professional on the Nurburgring. With the top down, who cares about refinement or if there might be some road noise on the highway? The only sound that will matter is taking the little wonder smoothly from 4500 RPM to almost redline. This is where the power is and this is where the engine puts out a great sporty sound. The service advisor where I took the car said (paraphrasing): "Go out and rev it all you want. Drive it the way it was designed to be driven (implication being quick and hard-cornering). Most people shift at about 4000-4500, but that is where the fun just begins. DO NOT WORRY about revving this engine right up to its limit. I never see these cars come in with engine problems unless they have super-high miles and are just worn out..." This is what I have done for over two years and about 6k miles of backroad fun and leisure. Me and my Miata are still just as happy and carefree as the day we first met.
This is the first Miata(2004) I have ever owned. I was always afraid to do do-it -self add-ons with my other cars. Not so with this one I have put on a dual exhaust( approx. 45 min.) I have had the entire dash out and back again. Everything seems to be 10mm to 13mm sockets. As far as driving. I love it. There is nothing like crusing along main street or on a country road with the top down and tunes going.
My 2004 Mazdaspeed Miata is my fifth Miata in 10 years. Every time Mazda upgraded the car, I traded up. The Mazdaspeed has a turbocharged engine, numerous suspension upgrades, and other go-faster goodies. It was sold in limited numbers for 2004 and 2005, and in special colors. Every Miata I've owned has been almost flawless in terms of reliability. My 2001 had a transmission issue fixed under a Technical Service Bulletin (TSB), but otherwise no problems with any of them. One warning, however. Two of my Miatas have been broken into by a thief wielding a knife, and replacement tops for the Miata are not cheap, so I strongly recommend garaging the car overnight or buying the optional hardtop. As for size, I can fit a briefcase and an overhead compartment rollaway or garment bag into the trunk. Also, I'm 6'0", I weigh 250 pounds, and my inseam is 33 inches. I fit into the Miata perfectly, though will admit that if I were an inch or two taller there's no way I'd be able to drive this car. Miatas are not fast in a straight line, not even my turbo. However, they can blaze down a canyon or country road with the best sports cars on the market. In terms of steering, brakes, suspension, and transmission, a Miata is a pure sports car. Top down on a warm summer evening, there's nothing this side of $40K that can touch it for pure, unadulterated driving enjoyment (except maybe a Honda S2000). If driving fun trumps practicality and you can live with a two seater, the Miata should be on your list.