I was supposed to do the test drive of a Chrysler Crossfire Thursday but the car was stored for winter. Unless I was a potential buyer that left a good deposit, they would not take it out for a test drive. Hell I wasn't even able to sit inside of it because there was 3 cm between the cars parked next to it! Disappointed, I decided to see something else elsewhere. Enter the 2004 Miata. No points to give since I've tested it for 10 minutes maximum. This is a NA vs NB review and sorry for the lack of pictures but I'm on my phone...
Take the harsh, rude and awaken spirit of the NA Miata and pour whipped cream on it. That's how it felt in short.
Driving: It is QUITE easier on the ears than my NA and you feel that the wheels are big and heavy (an alignment could fix this), but it's buttery smooth. Where I would be killing myself for driving over a pothole and feel that the car would fall apart in my NA, in the NB I'd be more "oh!....ok". The chassis just feels much more solid and the brakes feels better, but the stopping power seems the same as mine. The shifting...take mine that feels metallic, clanky and precise, add padding to make it smoother/quieter and make sure that all the gears including the first one move in with no effort and that you feel a small "bonk" when you get the gear in. That's how the NB feels. The accelerator pedal is a disappointement, it's like the NC...it doesn't feel connected to the engine like the NA is. Now the acceleration, like the NC it goes but it's not as raw as the NA. On the road, it doesn't turn as fast as my NA (again alignement can fix this) but it's smooth and guess what? NO MORE 65 MPH SHIMMY!!!!!
The exterior: I like it, the doors and fenders makes it look widen compared to the NA. But I got nothing else to say about it, except the trunk door that feels smooth and sealed when you close it compared to the NA that feels as solid but is less smooth. Kudos to Mazda for using the license plate lighting as light to see in your trunk at night. Seems like most Miatas I saw have the main trunk light cover broken, even I. Could it create some....fiery deaths???
The interior: Yes...it's much much better, but hold up right there. I hate the center console! The vents are a tad too high, it looks weird. The OEM radio looks awful and is too big. Who the hell decided that the ventilation speed control should be small like a 1 cent?? And what about the damn cup holders on the center console opening up when you shift??? On the positive side, the seats were REALLY comfortable!! I would get them for mine in a heartbeat! The gauges are really beautiful in red too, but I feel that it's missing diversity and they feel smaller than the ones in my NA for some odd reason...The doors are light years ahead compared to the NA. The NA ones feels gutless and make my speakers sound bassless. The NB feels much more upscale when you open and close the door. There's is a noticable weight gain and it doesn't feel empty inside (almost like it's filled with foam at some places.).
The audio: Reviwers were spot on about the exhaust note that felt non-inspiring, but it helps the car quiet down quite a lot! The engine note sounded meh also. It's like mine but neutered. The sound system sounds better than the NA for the bass only! Mine sounds clearer hihihi. But the NB would win hand down with the same mods that I did.
Special note about the engine compartiment: Brilliant placement for about everything. The washing fluid on the top of the manifold is perfect for cold days where having heated up windsheild washer fluid would bring down the damn ice in no time.
My verdict: I still like my NA and I'm staying with it.