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1997 Mazda MX-5 Miata Long-Term Road Test Posts: 10,059
edited September 2014 in Mazda

image1997 Mazda MX-5 Miata Long-Term Road Test

Ensuring we keep the five-speed manual transmission in one piece in's long-term road test of the 1997 Mazda Miata.

Read the full story here



  • stovt001_stovt001_ Posts: 799
    Isn't there a reverse lockout to also prevent you from scattering your transmission all over the highway?
  • I would definitely imagine there's a reverse lockout. I have to admit that going for a few years in my RX-8 to my Neon SRT-4, there are a lot of moments when I want to pull the car into sixth.
  • yaymx5_yaymx5_ Posts: 49
    It has a tall fifth gear? Where is that gear hidden? When I shift my Miata into 5th gear, it seems pretty short. :/
  • s197gts197gt Posts: 486
    after years of 4 and 5-speed manuals I drove my friend's then new 2004 GTO 6-speed manual. It just didn't make sense to me! that 6th gear really threw me off.

    i am sure a few more days with it and I would have gotten use to it but i've never felt the need for a sixth gear in my mustang.

    now my old honda vtx 1300 definitely needed a sixth gear. one of the biggest complaints on the vtx forums.
  • You need to go back and drive a "3 on the tree" :)
  • huisjhuisj Posts: 1
    The three cars I've had in my life all have had 5-speeds. A few years back I drove a 6-speed Cruze Eco at an SAE conference, and shifting into 6th was the weirdest feeling ever. I could get used to it, but it's just funny how much muscle memory takes over normal things we do everyday without us realizing it.
  • wdrauchwdrauch Posts: 22
    I'm still getting used to having a 6th gear on my Focus ST ...... I find myself cruising down the freeway at high speed in 5th gear and then remember, oh yeah there's one more gear!
  • duck87duck87 Posts: 649
    early Japanese sports cars + highway speeds + 5 speed = 4000 rpm droning.

    Also, worse you might do with reverse is hear a crunching... it's never going to engage (for better or worse) ;)
  • fordson1fordson1 Posts: 1,512
    All the Japanese brands still sell a lot of 5-speed manuals. They are always slow to add more ratios to their designs, auto and manual, in contrast to U.S. and European mfgs.
  • darthbimmerdarthbimmer Posts: 606
    Having 6 gears is really useful. It lets designers keep the ratios close enough together to enable smooth acceleration while also providing a top gear that enables cruising at 75mph without having to flog the engine at 3500+ rpm. For example, I would have loved a 6th gear in my E36 M3. Topping out in 5th was okay because the engine was smooth at middle rpms, but a taller gear would've improved noise and fuel economy a bit on open highways at 75-80 mph. My wife's Jetta 2.0T a few years later had a 6 speed, and we used 6th all the time on open roads.
  • evodadevodad Posts: 135
    Except for a month of DD'ing my brothers LS1 camaro, I've driven a 5 speed for the last 11 years and yet sometimes if I'm accelerating onto the highway just right (briskly but not WOT and not winding the car out in each gear), I reach for the shifter to move to sixth in my car. Then I remember there isn't one and end up cruising in the 3.5K-4K range. Sometimes I wish I had the 6 speed.
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