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maschinenbau (I live here)
maschinenbau (I live here) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
1/18/21 4:42 p.m.

I'm about *this* close to buying a new Miata. I can't stop thinking about the ND since I got to autocross one at the 2016 $2000 Challenge. The ND2 is obviously better in every way, as documented by the staff and Keith. I've never owned a Miata. In fact that was the only time I've ever driven any Miata, ever. Now I'm actively shopping for one to replace my daily driver. Specifically a 2020 Club soft-top in Arctic White with the Brembo/BBS/Recaro package, because that's what the dealer has for me. Pretty much what I would pick out anyway, except maybe color.

What it comes down to is I've been daily driving this Saturn Astra for 11 years and I'm tired of it. I'm turning 30 next month, and I don't want to be driving this Saturn into my 30's (no offense Saturn diehards). I want to experience an interesting, amazing car that I can live with every day while I'm still young and relatively untethered in life.

My compatibilities with the Miata:

  • No need for back seat. No kids or pets.
  • Climate. Lots of top-down weather in Atlanta year-round.
  • I also have a truck. Well, it's an El Camino, but it gets the big stuff done.
  • It's way faster than my current car, which I find to be plenty fast for most things, so I doubt I'll be disappointed by power.
  • It's all I really want in a performance car. I'm not a hardcore autocrosser or track rat, but I would like to participate whenever I feel like it without a second thought.
  • Mazda is doing 0% on all 2020 Miatas this month.
  • Bucket list item to buy a new car from a dealership, at least once in my life. Is this the one?

Things holding me back, that require you to enable me:

  • Size. I'm 6'0", and my head is one unexpected pothole from hitting the roof. It's better in the soft-top, but a little too close in the RF. The Paco seat lowering kit will be a definite necessity, and reviews say it improves ergonomics regardless of height. The ND2 also has a telescoping column which they say helps too.
  • Comfort. Commute is 20 miles each way, mostly interstate, frequent stop-and-go. Will I get sore? Claustrophobic? Is the soft-top road noise really that bad? Do the Bilsteins ride too rough? 
  • Cost. I can afford it comfortably, but I haven't had a car payment and/or full coverage in many years, so that will be a hard pill to swallow. 
  • Colors. The one I'm leaning heavily towards is Arctic White. I've complained recently about the ND colors. I could always get it wrapped, but white doesn't wrap very well compared to black unless you get all the jambs done.
  • The infinite possibilities of what else I could get for $30k-ish. Used C6 Z06? Elise? Boxster? 
alfadriver (Forum Supporter)
alfadriver (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/18/21 4:48 p.m.

Having DD's a Miata for 14 years, I don't see a problem other than personal fit.  And the only way you will really know is if you try it.

I never had issues with harshness at all with my call, but still- that's fitment to me.  

NOHOME
NOHOME MegaDork
1/18/21 4:50 p.m.

Can't speak specifically to the ND, but I dorve an NA for 10 years year round and many 1000 mile solo non-stop trips in that time. Perfect horse for that game.

That said at 5'8' , I don't suffer from your pituitary challengecheeky

Mike (Forum Supporter)
Mike (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
1/18/21 4:55 p.m.

I literally did almost exactly your scenario with my NA about fifteen years ago. I was a little bigger than you at 6'3" and long torso'd, and a little less likely to see snow than you. No hard top either. Highway commute of similar length. Relatively little traffic though. Aside from idiotically buying a futon once without thinking about what I was driving, it was mostly uneventful. I say do it.

I will suggest getting the good infotainment.

spacecadet (Forum Supporter)
spacecadet (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
1/18/21 4:59 p.m.

Had an ND1 for 5 months and 9k miles in 2016

I absolutely ADORE the ND, only sold it because it was the single largest financial mistake of my life to buy it.. for me, but the car was phenomenal.

Regarding track work and autocross, they can still munch a transmission, but if you keep it stock it's a lot harder. they worked really hard to prevent the stock cars from eating transmissions on the ND2, if it does eat one, you can get one from mazda motorsports around $1500 I believe.

They drive great and are a TON of fun to have as a DD.

I REALLY want another one, but i keep myself away form buying one because I like not having car payments.

If you're an SCCA member you qualify for s plan pricing, which is invoice price. which isn't a huge discount, but it is one, just something to be aware of if a dealer wants to be a PITA on pricing.

all the trim levels ride fine, i will say, the brembos are neat, but not a requirement for track work and definitely not for autox, and the package costs a fortune.. 

I'd recommend a sport or a club.

Club gets the upgraded sound system and some other nice bits as well as the LSD and the dampers.

If I was going to DD one again I would look at going down to a 16" wheel for DD use, just because the 17's are a bit thin and potholes are a thing.

I always enjoyed the throaty exhaust note when the car fired up.







 

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UberDork
1/18/21 5:04 p.m.

If you're considering track days, look into the details of roll bars and the RF before you commit to buying the power top.  There are some solutions but they involve some compromises.

If the interior space is a significant issue but you still really want a Miata, you could look at an NC.  They are supposed to have more interior room.

 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/18/21 5:09 p.m.

It's a really easy car to like, honestly. The first modern Miata.

I hear you about the roof clearance. It's not a big car and Mazda definitely shaved a few percentiles off the range of people it would fit. I thought there was a way to lower an ND2 seat slightly without aftermarket parts - be aware than the Paco parts are basically a slider delete, so it'll effectively be a fixed seat. Not a problem for a single driver car.

Save your money on the BBS/Brembo package unless it's the only way to get the Recaros. I'm not up to date on the 2020 packages, but you can get better wheels and brakes on the aftermarket and save money at the same time.

SVreX (Forum Supporter)
SVreX (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
1/18/21 5:14 p.m.

I've had a lot of Miatas, am jonesing for an ND, am familiar with driving in ATL, and am about your height.

I have only 1 reservation...

The Miata's laid back driving position and low roofline make it almost invisible to SUVs and trucks.  When I drive in ATL, I feel like I have a target on my back in a land of inattentive giants.  Like I'm gonna get squashed any second.  It's unnerving. I'd be hesitant to want to be in a position that meant I had to drive a Miata every single day.

Maybe that would add to the thrill for you...

Other than that, Dude, you are SO right!  Enjoy it while you can!!

And when you wanna get out of town and take a jaunt through the mountains, let me know!  I've got a cabin above Dahlonega.  wink

aircooled
aircooled MegaDork
1/18/21 5:23 p.m.

My wife had a NC for a number of years.  We even used it for trips / vacations (more room than you think, you do need to pack carefully).

My concern would be the same as above.  Being seen can be an issue in the car.  Looking, eye height, as SUV bumpers is a bit concerning.  Looking, eye height, at SUV headlights is also a bit irritating.

maschinenbau (I live here)
maschinenbau (I live here) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
1/18/21 5:24 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:

Save your money on the BBS/Brembo package unless it's the only way to get the Recaros. I'm not up to date on the 2020 packages, but you can get better wheels and brakes on the aftermarket and save money at the same time.

That's exactly what someone in the aftermarket would say wink But I do agree, it's not a good value at all. It's just what they have on the lot. On that note - are the Recaros really much better? They seem to be tied to the Brembo/BBS package, and not sure I would miss any of it for that kind of coin. 

frenchyd
frenchyd PowerDork
1/18/21 5:25 p.m.

In reply to maschinenbau (I live here) :

Let me deal with only one issue.  The payment.  We would all like the freedom of no payments but there is a painless way to do that.  Have it automatically taken out from your paycheck.  
    Sad but true story, I stumbled on a fantastic deal on a house. Listed for only 55% of its market value.  Owner needed cash instantly.  I had the GI bill to buy it( $0 down) and way more than the required income to qualify. Plus zero debts. 
 Bank denied me the loan because no prior credit. 
Last  I looked that house was listed for 4.5 million dollars. My purchase would have been $28,000. 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/18/21 5:27 p.m.
maschinenbau (I live here) said:
Keith Tanner said:

Save your money on the BBS/Brembo package unless it's the only way to get the Recaros. I'm not up to date on the 2020 packages, but you can get better wheels and brakes on the aftermarket and save money at the same time.

That's exactly what someone in the aftermarket would say wink But I do agree, it's not a good value at all. It's just what they have on the lot. On that note - are the Recaros really much better? They seem to be tied to the Brembo/BBS package, and not sure I would miss any of it for that kind of coin. 

I haven't had the opportunity to spend any time in the Recaros. I know I've done a couple of thousand mile days in the non-Recaro seats and emerged without complaint.

Don't settle for what's on the lot if this is intended to be a long-term car. Get what you want.

maschinenbau (I live here)
maschinenbau (I live here) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
1/18/21 5:27 p.m.

In reply to SVreX (Forum Supporter) :

Sounds like a good excuse to get it wrapped in a crazy color!

The Saturn is black and lowered too, so I'm already used to being blinded by SUV headlights and invisible to their drivers.

DeadSkunk  (Warren)
DeadSkunk (Warren) PowerDork
1/18/21 5:37 p.m.

Nothing to add, but I did smile at the concern over ride quality when you're in Atlanta.......come up here to Michigan sometime. wink

wearymicrobe
wearymicrobe PowerDork
1/18/21 5:40 p.m.

I have used much much worse as daily drivers. The ND2 is just about perfect if you fit for a DD. Do it. Get exactly what you want though, even i you have to dealer trade or finda ntoher dealer to buy at. 

BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter)
BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/18/21 5:42 p.m.

Can't comment on Atlanta, but I owned one of the early ND1s (Launch Edition) and fairly frequently drove it in the SF Bay Area.

They're great cars and I wouldn't mind another one. Mainly sold it due to the coast-to-coast move and the fact that the clutch angle was bothering my iffy ankle a bit.

Oh, and if you eventually want to track it, Blackbird Fabworx makes a rollbar for the soft top version.

SVreX (Forum Supporter)
SVreX (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
1/18/21 5:46 p.m.

In reply to maschinenbau (I live here) :

I don't think color would fix the problem. 
 

The problem is the window sill line of SUVs and trucks is high enough that drivers look right over the Miata.  When I am driving in ATL I am constantly dodging big vehicles that randomly switch into the lane I am already occupying without warning.

It happens almost every day. It's tiring.

Plus, I find myself staring at the belt line of other cars.  I sit low enough that I can't glance at another driver to see if they are paying attention.  I just gotta gun it, and assume no one sees me.

I'll loan you my NB if you want for a couple weeks.

Olemiss540
Olemiss540 Reader
1/18/21 5:49 p.m.
frenchyd said:

In reply to maschinenbau (I live here) :

Let me deal with only one issue.  The payment.  We would all like the freedom of no payments but there is a painless way to do that.  Have it automatically taken out from your paycheck.  
    Sad but true story, I stumbled on a fantastic deal on a house. Listed for only 55% of its market value.  Owner needed cash instantly.  I had the GI bill to buy it( $0 down) and way more than the required income to qualify. Plus zero debts. 
 Bank denied me the loan because no prior credit. 
Last  I looked that house was listed for 4.5 million dollars. My purchase would have been $28,000. 

OP,

Read the sage advice above and then comeback in 30 years and let us all know how many millions your ND is worth. You can thank us then.

 

 

Edited to add advice of my own instead of strictly dropping the usual sarcasm where the world needs it.

Car payments are the devil and the only thing I have ever regretted due to my horrible financial decision of being a car guy.

Can you jump into an NC for 7 or 8 grand and scratch the same itch while not looking at the new door dent with pure disgust? Mod it to your liking and get enjoyment out of tinkering with it?

MrChaos
MrChaos GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
1/18/21 6:41 p.m.

also paco sells a bracked to lower the seat rails an inch.  my nd1 rf was a fine daily, i put 18k on it in 6 months. only sold it cause of a hip injury at the gym and the miata seating position just hurt with my hip injured 

dps214
dps214 HalfDork
1/18/21 7:54 p.m.

"Okay" would probably be exactly how I'd describe it :P The only thing I'll say is that $30k buys you a lot of boxster. But it sounds like it pretty well fits your current situation and desires. Especially if you can get a 0% loan on it and specifically want to buy a new car at some point in your life, this seems like about as good an opportunity as any. Feel free to tune out the "car loan is the worst thing you could ever do to yourself" crowd (especially when the loan in question is zero interesst), but do know that depreciation is a real thing and something to consider. Also remember that depreciation only matters if you actually sell the car.

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UberDork
1/18/21 8:11 p.m.
dps214 said:

"Okay" would probably be exactly how I'd describe it :P The only thing I'll say is that $30k buys you a lot of boxster. But it sounds like it pretty well fits your current situation and desires. Especially if you can get a 0% loan on it and specifically want to buy a new car at some point in your life, this seems like about as good an opportunity as any. Feel free to tune out the "car loan is the worst thing you could ever do to yourself" crowd (especially when the loan in question is zero interesst), but do know that depreciation is a real thing and something to consider. Also remember that depreciation only matters if you actually sell the car.

It matters if the car gets totalled as well, because you're effectively forced to sell it to the insurance company at that point.

But yes, used properly and carefully there's nothing wrong with a car loan.  Put enough down that you're not underwater, don't accept loans at stupid interest rates, don't borrow more than you can comfortably pay, and make sure you have enough cash socked away for emergencies.  Doing that consistently is basically what credit ratings are trying to measure.

 

barefootskater (Shaun)
barefootskater (Shaun) UberDork
1/18/21 8:21 p.m.

If there are any Saturn die-hards out there, and I'm sure all three live here, I bet they wouldn't be if they'd experienced an astra. Honestly, having met you in person, I'm a little shocked. Unless it's the alter-ego of a super-hero level fabricator. Did Clark Kent drive an astra?

The only Miata I've ever driven was an ND and if I didn't need back seats.... 

ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter)
ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter) Reader
1/18/21 8:45 p.m.

There are people that are ok commuting in rush hour Atlanta traffic with a manual trans, and I am not one of them. But I also wouldn't want to get a new ND2 Miata with an auto. So for me, this is a plan that would turn out to be a big financial mistake in less than a year. You may be completely different, but it's worth really being sure before you make such a decision.

DanielBarker
DanielBarker New Reader
1/18/21 8:47 p.m.

I paid $7k for an 07 NC fully loaded with 65k miles on it up in New England.

I know you want a "brand new" car, but up here at least it seems like you could easily save $10k or more on a used car with 20k miles on it. That's a lot of money. Unlike many sports cars (the BRZ/86 comes to mind) the type of person that likely buy and returns/trades in a MX-5 most likely took care of it.

For me, the NC is a "toy with practicality" it gets better MPG than my 2019 Ram 1500 for commuting, is cheap to insure, cheap to fix if I break it, AND I'm not out $30k if it meets a fixed object on a track day..

Either way, you only live once. Live responsibility, but have fun because you can't take it with you

maschinenbau (I live here)
maschinenbau (I live here) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
1/18/21 8:48 p.m.

In reply to barefootskater (Shaun) :

Yeah the Astra certainly doesn't match the ludicrous projects I cycle through in this forum. Which is kind of the point of it. I don't want a project DD, I actually dread working on my DD, like a chore. Which is why a new/slightly used ND appeals to me over a more heavily used Porsche or nicer car. I don't want to have to think or worry about it, I just want it awesome out of the box.

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