therieldeal Reader
2/14/20 2:02 p.m.

Yeah, another one of these threads...

It’s been a few years since I gave up on Subaru and bought my 2010 Mazda3 with the 2.5 & 6 speed. Overall I have been VERY happy with this car.  Part of the reason I bought it was because if the motor blows up they are a dime a dozen with low miles, unlike my Subaru (…probably because the MZR doesn’t generally blow up).  I went with a hatchback because often I need to carry large items around like tires, engines, trash & recycling, etc.

Last spring I went on a little road trip/adventure to pick up a “backup” daily driver – a BP-swapped Escort station wagon.  This thing has been pretty fun as expected, having morphed into a backup autocross car as well.  I was originally thinking rallycross, but I decided it’s too nice for that.  The thing is, it also fulfills my needs as far as carrying tires, transmissions, etc. … I don’t REALLY need both a hatchback and a station wagon.

Currently, a friend of mine is thinking about buying a new(er) car, and she really wants a manual transmission hatchback.  Basically, she’s flat out told me that she wants to buy my Mazda3.  Sooooo even though it’s been my favorite daily driver to date, I’ve naturally started thinking about what I might like to replace it with.

My ex and I used to share an NB miata as a summer fun car, but when she moved out she bought out my half.  We’d take turns commuting with it, and took it on every vacation/trip that made sense.  I really miss driving with the top down in the summer, but as a daily I think an NA/NB would be a bit cramped… and a soft top would probably suck for bad/winter weather.  So… I started thinking seriously about the Power Hardtop NC. 

Can you folks think of any reason not to consider one of these for a daily driver in New England?  With some weight in the trunk and a good tire I assume they do fine in the snow?  Are the power tops reliable? I already know the engine is reliable, and if it ever somehow blows up I could do a 2.5 swap.  I’ve heard the 09+ suspension is better, but the used prices also seem to be almost 50% higher.  Since I’d probably end up putting new shocks & springs on it anyway, is there any other major reason to spend the extra cash on an 09+ (assuming similar mileage/condition)?

Hit me with some knowledge.  Also… anybody selling one?

02Pilot SuperDork
2/14/20 2:23 p.m.

I very seriously considered one the last time I was shopping for a DD. Passed on a soft top and didn't find a PRHT I wanted (seemed to be nothing but auto trans cars in the NE at that time) before I found my 128i (I was cross-shopping). Set of snow tires for the winter and you should be good to go.

rustybugkiller HalfDork
2/14/20 2:55 p.m.

It's an 08 but only 13k miles. 
Fly n drive

Rodan Dork
2/14/20 5:46 p.m.

We had a '13 Club PRHT that was my wife's DD for 5 years.  We also used it for fun drives, took it on a couple road trips, and tracked it at FM Summer Camp.  For most of that time, she had a ~25 mile commute (round trip).  For the last year she drove it, a position change at work made that an 80 mile commute daily.  We also have an NA and NB, so can compare the three...

First, DD car duty:  The NC is definitely the best 'car', and the PRHT makes it much more like a regular car, with the option to be a roadster 10 seconds after pushing a button.  Roomier than an NB, but a little more cramped than an NA (with armrest delete).  Solid 30mpg with the 6sp manual.  Enough power to run with modern traffic, but not 'abundant' power.

My wife was perfectly content with it, even on the longer commute, though she did get frustrated with the lack of power.  Her route was rural two lane highway, with lots of bad/inattentive drivers who would clog up the roads, and the NC didn't have enough oomph to pass two cars at once without a long runup.   The Mustang GT that replaced it was much better in that regard and made her commute much less stressful.

As a 'fun' car:  The NC is a really good chassis.  It's very capable, and fun to drive.  Weak point is the soft factory shocks/springs... change those and it's instantly fantastic.  Shocks/springs/brake pads/tires will make an NC pretty darn good on the track.

We didn't drive ours in snow, but I would guess it would do fine if properly equipped, and the snow wasn't deep enough to 'beach' it.

The drawback of the PRHT is that it is very difficult to instally a proper roll bar, and most track orgs won't let you run without one.  That's why our NC got tracked only at FM Summer Camp... special event, special rules.  If you're going to track an NC, you really need a soft top car.  And that's a bummer, because for a street car the PRHT is so much nicer...

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
2/14/20 5:59 p.m.

We considered our PRHT a guilty pleasure at FM. It's just easy. And yes, you need to change that suspension. And understand that it won't be a track car.

I've seen more engine failures on the 07 cars specifically for some reason. If you're all hot to do a 2.5,  that's not a concern :)

_ Dork
2/15/20 10:03 a.m.

Came from na8, have nc2 now. It's a great place to spend time. Definitely do it. I don't share the sentiments above about the power. I think my nc2 has plenty of power. The only mods mine has are ppe header, roadster sport exhaust and AEM intake. It might be tuned, but have no way of knowing. 

mr2s2000elise Dork
2/15/20 11:00 a.m.

Our NC2 PRHT GT was purchased brand new in Maryland in 2009. Wife drove it 09-11 in Boston (DD). We drove it all over Quebec, Vermont, all without issues. It sat parked outside, and and well used, since I didn't want to muck up my mint 95 MR2 Turbo with salt and road grime. 

Our NC2 has been out here in CA since 2012. Excellent vehicle. It isn't my favorite Miata (I have had 9 so far), but its a fun cheap sporty car. 

dxman92 HalfDork
2/15/20 12:10 p.m.

How about one of the FRS BRZ twins?

Brake_L8 Reader
2/17/20 8:28 a.m.

My dad bought a 2013 PRHT Grand Touring brand new after years of boring sedans. Six speed manual and whatever package got the LSD and sport-tuned shocks. He has about 60k on it now and loves it. They came on some low treadwear summer tires, so we picked up a second set of wheels with Conti DWS all-season tires, and those have been just fine for the little snow and slush that Northern Virginia (and after their move, Delaware) get each winter. 

I'm nearly 6'2" and owned a NA Miata for five years. I didn't fit spectacularly well in the NA and I don't fit well in the NC. The ND is better for me, a little more room inside. But if you're of more average height (Dad is 5'10" ish) you'll be just fine.

The power top has been very reliable and takes up zero trunk space when retracted. It's a pretty simple design. I think he had an issue with one of the sensors that allows the top to go down, but a quick dealership visit took care of that for very little money, if any. He makes a point of not lowering the roof when it's colder than Mazda's preferred temps. 

Only complaints so far are that the shifter boot is this thin, cheap vinyl BS that tears, and the factory Bose head unit doesn't easily allow Bluetooth music streaming. Plenty of options to remedy both of those things through aftermarket.


Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
2/17/20 8:31 a.m.
dxman92 said:

How about one of the FRS BRZ twins?

From the first post: "I really miss driving with the top down in the summer". The FRS/BRS/GT86 has some strong points, but you can only put the top down once :)

Our Preferred Partners