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Thread: Appreciating (or noticing) the feel of driving a miata/brz

  1. #1
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    Appreciating (or noticing) the feel of driving a miata/brz

    My car is a '98 Oldsmobile intrigue. I bought it for about $3000 maybe back in 2005 or 2006 at about 90K miles.(at 160k now) 195HP, 220 Torque. I think because I bought it undermarket value, Uncle taxed it at $5k. Getting rid of it because it has developed severe rust issues underneath which begs me to get something newer.

    Anyway, I am looking to get a new or used car with a manual transmission (MT). However, I am new to a MT. I like the romantics of being one with the car. My only experience with a MT was back in 2008 at work I had to drive a Nissan Truck around a track for a few days for what I think was testing the wheel bearings. Vehicle I researched spanned from VW Golf/GTI/TDI, Mustang, BRZ, WRX, Miata, JUKE...

    My biggest question is if I will be able to feel or appreciate the driving dynamics of a Miata or BRZ for example. The obvious answer to this is test drive it dummy! But I don't know ow willing a dealer would an MT newb take a vehicle out. Will I take it to a track? Probably not. Looked into it and the prices are outrageous at least in NJ, if they allow you at all. I also tend to honor posted speed limits, though I do like accelerating off of a stoplight on a highway and take corners fast. All of this I do with my Intrigue. I never put the pedal to the floor though, and I am still the first out of the stoplight. I never floor it to pass someone on the highway.

    However, given that I got 10 years out of a $3000 car which ended up being very reliable for me, I am uneasy about dropping 20-30 grand on something new for no reason other than, hey I got a new job.

  2. #2
    Administrator Ken's Avatar
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    I have always found that the handling of a car, or motorcycle for that matter, is very much a matter or personal choice. A car that I find perfect for my driving style my wife finds to harsh. She likes a smooth, almost soft ride, I like to 'just' feel every bump in the road - If I run over a matchstick I want to know if I'm going over the stick or the head.

    In general a sports car will have a stiffer suspension and a firmer ride than, say, a coupe or saloon. The steering will probably be more direct, i.e. less turns lock to lock giving more precise steering. Not knowing the specs of the cars you are able to buy - here in the UK the Miata/MX5 has quite a small, 1.5L 130 bhp engine and a top speed of around 120 mph, not exactly awe inspiring - it is, however very popular, handles well, holds its value and can provide a pleasing, if not thrilling, drive. I think , for what it is, it is expensive at around 20,500/$32,750, A Miata would be good fun at my local track (Cadwell Park) and a full trackday only costs around 150/$225 plus fuel, oil and tyre costs. On track a Golf GTI or Mini Cooper S would provide more laughs for the buck though, in my opinion.

    I found the transition from manual to auto transmission very easy (change forced by knee injury playing ice hockey). I still drive an auto from choice although I still drive manuals from time to time and find it takes about ten miles to adapt so that gear changes are made automatically rather than by thinking about them. Modern autos, over here, now seem to all have a semi-auto option, using a sequential stick shift, as well as the full auto mode - it gives the best of both worlds and adds a bit of spice hustling my Mazda3 TS2 through the twisties.

    Ken.
    Die dulci fruimini!
    Ken.
    Wolds Bikers, Lincolnshire, England.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken View Post
    I have always found that the handling of a car, or motorcycle for that matter, is very much a matter or personal choice. A car that I find perfect for my driving style my wife finds to harsh. She likes a smooth, almost soft ride, I like to 'just' feel every bump in the road - If I run over a matchstick I want to know if I'm going over the stick or the head.

    In general a sports car will have a stiffer suspension and a firmer ride than, say, a coupe or saloon. The steering will probably be more direct, i.e. less turns lock to lock giving more precise steering. Not knowing the specs of the cars you are able to buy - here in the UK the Miata/MX5 has quite a small, 1.5L 130 bhp engine and a top speed of around 120 mph, not exactly awe inspiring - it is, however very popular, handles well, holds its value and can provide a pleasing, if not thrilling, drive. I think , for what it is, it is expensive at around 20,500/$32,750, A Miata would be good fun at my local track (Cadwell Park) and a full trackday only costs around 150/$225 plus fuel, oil and tyre costs. On track a Golf GTI or Mini Cooper S would provide more laughs for the buck though, in my opinion.

    I found the transition from manual to auto transmission very easy (change forced by knee injury playing ice hockey). I still drive an auto from choice although I still drive manuals from time to time and find it takes about ten miles to adapt so that gear changes are made automatically rather than by thinking about them. Modern autos, over here, now seem to all have a semi-auto option, using a sequential stick shift, as well as the full auto mode - it gives the best of both worlds and adds a bit of spice hustling my Mazda3 TS2 through the twisties.

    Ken.
    Thanks Ken! I never really thought about my preference to a firm vs. smooth ride. I really only have my car to go by, and it is hard to compare because I don't know any better or worse.

    The 2016 Miata starts at just under $25K in the US. The one thing I wonder is would I be able to notice a difference between the Sport vs. Club model with the Club being $3K more. And whether that would hurt resale going for Sport. I would think by the time I would put it up for sale, the brakes/clutch and shocks may need to be replaced anyway. And some people like adding aftermarket items to it. The major cons I have with the Miata is that it is only two seats and I do visit family over five hundred miles away every few years.

    Argh, it's something I need to figure out for myself. Thanks again for the advice!

  4. #4
    Administrator Ken's Avatar
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    To me, the Miata is a fun car, a top down, wind in your hair weekend blasts type of car. Sport vs Club, Hm? would you be able to take advantage of the little extra that the Club offers? Is it worth paying out the extra $3K on your first sports car? Now, distances - I don't think I would want to do five hundred miles in one go in one. However, if the majority of your journeys are reasonably short, up to a couple of hundred miles or so, I wouldn't see a problem. If you fancy a sports car try the Miata, or something similar, and get used to a stick shift - remember, at first you will feel very low down, small and vulnerable. For your long journey to the relatives there is always the option of hiring a nice comfortable saloon or coupe, stick shift or auto as takes your fancy at the time. Over here in the UK, if you are interested in almost any car the dealer will nearly always send someone out with you for a test drive - I usually want an hour or so, on a good mix of road types - to see how you get on. Make it clear - 'No drive, no sale'. The same applies with motorcycles, I have used the same dealer for my last five 'bikes and always have a good test run on possible candidates before finally making up my mind one way or the other.

    Ken.
    Last edited by Ken; 07-27-2015 at 01:08 PM.
    Die dulci fruimini!
    Ken.
    Wolds Bikers, Lincolnshire, England.

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