Inside, the instrument panel gauges are now black-on-white instead of the other way around. And so it has come to pass that the 2001 Miata is the beneficiary of said horsepower boost, through the addition of sequential valve timing to the diminutive 1. Type of car: Front engine, rear-wheel-drive roadster Engine: 1. The resulting increase of 15 horsepower to 155 at 7,000 rpm and six more lb. .
Personally, I love to fling cars around corners, and for this alone, I hold the Mazda roadster in highest regard. On a cost-per-pound basis, nothing comes close. My biggest complaint about driving the car is that there is no tilt steering. Some people crave the need for eyeball-flattening acceleration, others for pure top end. The gas-charged shock absorbers, first introduced on the Anniversary model, provide go-kart-style cornering.
The other concern is that the newfound power and well-chosen performance upgrades found in the Sport package are morphing it into a legitimate sports car. Sixth requires a little more deliberation and finesse to get into cleanly, to avoid hanging up in the gate. What I do have concerns about though, is that the little Mazda is starting to sneak up in price. The six-speed is every bit as short and precise — through the first five gears anyway. My size, however, in no way dampens my ardor for it. The six-speed, close-ratio box was first offered in 1999 with the then 10th Anniversary model. At a curb weight of around 1,100 kilos, the second-generation Miata has remained pretty faithful to its lightweight roots, despite the accumulation over the years of certain power items and other creature comforts.
The downside is an obviously stiffly sprung suspension that creates a fair amount of cowl shake, especially when rolling over uneven road surfaces. The same holds true for sixth-to-fifth and fifth-to-fourth downshifts. And that would require a different, far tougher evaluation of its abilities and its foibles. For 2001, it is part of two optional packages, the Sport package amd the Leather package. That is, unless the car in question is the Mazda Miata. Nobody said that choosing between the honest simplicity of open-air, feel-good motoring, and the craving for more power, would be easy.
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