Engine Looks Like an Engine - 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Convertible Long-Term Road Test

Edmunds.comEdmunds.com Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 10,237
edited December 2015 in Mazda
imageEngine Looks Like an Engine - 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Convertible Long-Term Road Test

You may or may not be surprised to learn that the engine in our 2016 Mazda Miata actually looks like an engine. It's one of the unique elements that makes this Miata a true enthusiast's car.

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Comments

  • banhughbanhugh Member Posts: 315
    edited December 2015
    "they told us that the metal valve cover you see here is actually heavier than the plastic one used on the Mazda 3 that uses the same engine. Plastic is fine for a budget hatchback, but a sportscar should have an engine that looks purposeful"

    WTF?!?! They put a heavier steel valve cover instead of the existing plastic solution just for the looks? Instead of saving another couple of pounds of front axle weight? Might as well put an engine cover then if looks govern...
  • miata52miata52 Member Posts: 114
    That windshield washer reservoir looks a lot bigger than the NC's. Most excellent.

    Question -- hows the horn sound? The NC has a horrible clown-car horn. First thing I did to my car was to rip out the stock horn and put some Hella Supertones in there.
  • barich1barich1 Member Posts: 143
    Keep in mind that they're after balance, not just weight savings. Changing that valve cover to plastic might have resulted in a need to trim weight from an area that would have been difficult to reduce further. Plus, the cheap looking plastic valve cover in the 3 is covered by a fancy plastic shield. Here where you can actually see the engine, (and they want you to) something that cheap looking isn't appropriate.
  • longtimelurkerlongtimelurker Member Posts: 455
    Maybe the better question is why the sports car has the same engine as the budget hatchback that at every option level from stripped to loaded is ten grand cheaper.
  • brauchbrauch Member Posts: 19
    banhugh, I think the valve cover is aluminum, not steel.

    longtimelurker, I'm not sure I understand your point. The NA and NB used engines from or based on the 323, so sharing an engine with the Mazda3 is nothing new.
  • ProfRobBobProfRobBob FloridaMember Posts: 8
    The valve cover is aluminum Banhugh.
  • daryleasondaryleason TexasMember Posts: 501
    Engine sharing is common with all of the car companies, so I can't ding them on that. You do it to lower your production cost. Go look at any Ford, you'll find the 5.0 Coyote in the Mustang & the F-150. Back when they were using the "original" 302, it was in all of their sedans, full size cars, full size trucks, Mustangs, Cougars, vans, etc. GM did the same thing with their 305 & 350 SBC engines. The LS is a cross-platform engine. Toyota, Volkswagen, Kia, etc. You have to do it. Some cars get a different tune for either fuel economy, performance, etc. GM detunes their V8 in the Camero so it won't outperform the Corvette.

    Frankly, I prefer the "bare" look in an engine bay. I like being able to pop the hood and see what's going on with the engine, particularly if I'm having an issue with the vehicle and I'm looking for an obvious problem.
  • ckuersckuers Member Posts: 21
    I'll toss it out there that the PCV plumbing and other aspects of the engine are completely different than the 3, thus necessitating the aluminum valve cover. I doubt Mazda did it just for looks.
  • longtimelurkerlongtimelurker Member Posts: 455
    edited December 2015
    brauch said:

    banhugh, I think the valve cover is aluminum, not steel.

    longtimelurker, I'm not sure I understand your point. The NA and NB used engines from or based on the 323, so sharing an engine with the Mazda3 is nothing new.

    My point is that in return for that much more money, especially for a performance vehicle, I expect a power boost. When Honda used a version of an Accord engine in the S2000, they heavily modified it...Accords of the day did not make 240 hp at 8,000 rpm.

    Of course, the Miata has no competition and there is not a lot of incentive for them to offer an upgraded engine...Honda was competing against a Z3 M-Series when they introduced the S2000...which was also rated at 240 hp, not coincidentally. Mazda will sell every 155 hp Miata they make...I understand that...but all the same I would like to see more of a value proposition. And of course any RWD/front-engine design with such a low cg and good F/R weight distribution can handle more power without a lot of problems.
  • thepuffthepuff Member Posts: 87
    Look how cute that little thing is....they probably don't make plastic covers that small.
  • misterfusionmisterfusion Member Posts: 471
    If everyone who passed on the Miata (because of the engine) takes a look at the Fiat 124, then the Fiat may end up doing pretty well for itself. They are only planning on a niche volume for the 124, and I'll bet they will sell just fine.
  • barich1barich1 Member Posts: 143
    The thing can go 0-60 in 5.9 seconds. How much faster does it need to be? It's faster than the Mazdaspeed NB by nearly a second.
  • longtimelurkerlongtimelurker Member Posts: 455
    It's pretty fast out of the hole due to short gearing and RWD - that produces a good 0-60 figure. R&T tested a Miata and they also tested a GTI...the VW got to 30 in 2.3 seconds compared to the Miata doing it in 1.8 - that's the RWD traction vs FWD traction-limited. 0-60 was 6.1 for the Mazda, 5.8 for the VW. 0-100 was 17.2 for the Miata and 14.7 for the VW...so the Miata is pretty quick, but not fast. On a track where there is really no hole-shotting going on, the VW would be hugely faster.

    And yes, I understand these cars don't really compete...just showing how the Miata 0-60 figure may be misleading.
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