I turned 16 in 1989 and I was consumed by things that most teenage girls were. Things like boys, clothes, shopping, and most importantly, I was old enough to get my driver’s license! Nevermind that I only lived two blocks from my high school, driving alone with your friends was a rite of passage and something I just couldn’t wait to do. I was also blessed with the opportunity to purchase a 1984 VW Rabbit Convertible as my first car! Convertible cars are to California as palm trees are to Hawaii, a way of life! There was that small fact that my new car was a stick shift and it was bought before I knew how to drive it, regardless, it gave me butterflies just looking at it!
25 years later, I got those very same butterflies as the 2015 Mazda MX5 Miata Grand Touring pulled into my driveway. The shiny Meteor Gray exterior just sparkled in the sunlight. I jumped right in to find that my past has come back to me and the car has a 6-speed manual transmission. Noted to myself, remember how to drive a stick and fast! After a quick retractable hard top tutorial (it’s simple and easy when you remember to keep your finger on the button the whole time), I was on my own with this gorgeous car!
I immediately noticed how low to the ground I was getting in and out of the car. I guess when you’re used to family style SUV’s that I often need a boost to get in, the tiny Miata almost has you feeling like you’re stepping down into the basement. The leather trimmed seats are accented by a leather tilt steering wheel, leather shift knob, and leather trimmed hand break providing smoothness everywhere you touch. The interior options and dash are pretty basic though it does have a trip computer for mileage. The steering wheel has cruise control and audio capabilities. There isn’t a navigation system in the car, I didn’t really miss it since I have navigation available on my smartphone and I was staying pretty local during the time we had the car. But I do miss not having a USB port for connectivity and charging. There was Sirius Radio installed and a nice Bose audio system with 7 speakers about the car. With the top down and 65 mph, the sound made an impact!Window controls are behind the shift knob in the center console area with two cup holders and there is also a compartment for storage. That compartment contains the gas cap cover release lever.The trunk space is tiny (5.3 cubic feet), like my basic suitcase was too big but I could fit a few small bags. So packing lightly for a weekend getaway or day trip is the best bet, you may getaway with a small cooler as well.
I’m 5’1″. I fit basically in any car pretty comfortably. The Miata was comfortable for me and although the two-seater is small and compact, I felt at ease behind the wheel with the wind in my hair! My husband is 5’10” and it wasn’t the most comfortable ride for him, but he endured it for the thrill of a sporty, open-air ride. Lucky for the amazing weather and wonderful local landscapes, the Miata is a perfect car for any Californian. Took my teenager for a ride and she broke out the sunglasses and hair tie! The 7 days I had the car the top was down for 6.5. Who knew the first rain in our 9 month central coast drought would occur while I had a convertible to test. The car is lightweight and handles well on the road with it’s electronic power assisted rack and pinion steering and 17 inch alloy wheels. Driving a stick shift is like riding a bike, and I loved having more control over my speed (167 horsepower, 2.0L, 4-cylinder engine)!I can’t deny the fact that I loved the attention garnered by the beautiful car combined with the ability to go top-down. I felt young again driving down the coast to Monterey and the beach was a mandatory stop!Looks aside, I have an almost licensed driver in the house that asks me, “mom, how safe is this car?’ While my VW Rabbit had a roll bar in case of a serious accident, the Miata does include driver, passenger, and side air bags, 4 wheel ABS, 4 wheel disc brakes, electronic stability control, and traction control. The ultimate bottom line: I have a family of 5, this two seater is not practical for all of us by any means. But if you have the extra $32,000 for a fun weekend getaway car, your husband and best girlfriend will love you! The car is fun and gorgeous and could totally be my “when the kids grow up” car for as long as I live the California lifestyle. I loved the memories it had of being young and wild and free. It reminded me of my old car that I had through high school, through college, marriage, and only for a short time after I had my first child. Even though life changes, your passion for the wind in your hair never dies! For more information, visit www.mazda.com/.