Mazda is developing a new MX-5/Miata and they reached out to Jalopnik readers for input. We sent Mazda our readers' ten best suggestions ranging from the serious to the downright insane. Now we can share responses from Mazda and Mazda's Dave Coleman.
Before answering your suggestions, Mazda gave everyone a thank you.
Thanks to the Jalopnik universe for taking the time to tell us what you want. We wish we could give it all to you (lighter, heavier, bigger, smaller, cheaper, more content, less content, more power, less power and a hundred other conflicting requests!), but even though our engineers are some of the very best in the world, they can't do it all. That said, thanks for making the MX-5 Miata the best-selling two-seat roadster of all time – well over 900,000 sold so far – as well as making it the most road-raced nameplate in the world too. We've picked a few responses, and given you some thoughts from Dave Coleman, our lead engineer on Mazda sports cars, and our formal position where Dave was being, well, Dave.
Welcome back to Answers of the Day — our daily Jalopnik feature where we take the best ten responses from the previous day's Question of the Day and shine it up to show off. It's by you and for you, the Jalopnik readers. Enjoy!
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Photo Credit: Mazda
10.) Limited Slip Differential as standard
Suggested By: Kiwi_Commander
What we said: Everyone knows that fitting your car with LSD makes it work harder in the bends and gives you the ability to lay down massive, smoky burnouts. That's why we said "Torsen standard!"
Dave: "Yeah, but when your mom buys an automatic MX-5, will she want to spend the extra dough for that Torsen? They aren't free, you know. You're just saying this so you get a Torsen when she gives you her car, aren't you?"
Mazda: "Sorry about that. Indeed, the limited-slip – or something else that possibly acts like one – is part of the equation. We have to balance costs with performance, of course, as we look at the whole program."
Photo Credit: dalesd
9.) Fit a 6'0" driver with a helmet
Suggested By: shaunmark
What we said: Tall people should be able to drive Miatas. We suggested lowering the seats and fitting a telescoping steering wheel to make it happen.
Dave: "You can fit a 6'0" driver with a helmet quite easily. Why do you think we made the top go down?"
Photo Credit: hushypushy
8.) Make it cheaper by about $3,000
Suggested By: Charlie
What we said: Many of our readers shared this question with our reader Charlie.
Is there any way the Miata could be a bit cheaper? I recently read a comparison test between a Hyundai Genesis, a Subaru BRZ, and Miata, and the Miata was the most expensive with the least features. I believe the price is just too high for many people to reach.
Dave: "If you take the NA Miata's 1989 base price of $14,000 and run it through the inflation adjusting computer (the one that sits next to our thoughts-and-dreams computer), it pops out at about $25,000. That means the current base price is already 1,500 2012 dollars cheaper than the NA. We'll try to bring the price down even more, but we might have to start shipping it disassembled, like an IKEA kit, to pull that off. You have Allen wrenches, right?"
Mazda:"The never-ending challenge that we have to balance is the need to fit all the safety equipment required to sell a modern car in multiple countries all around the world, plus the costs of development, testing, etc. We do all we can to bring cars to market at as affordable and competitive price as we can, and will do the same with the next-generation MX-5."
Photo Credit: Mazda
7.)Let us order the car à la carte
Suggested By: jedimario
What we said: We don't want to get stuck into buying one an option package full of stuff we don't want, just to get the one feature we lust after. We should be able to order nice rims on the base model, or get performance features without getting luxury options bundled in as well.
Dave: "You'd be amazed how long it takes to get a car with all your custom ordered bits all the way from the factory in Hiroshima to your door. Our ships are kinda slow, but they handle really well!"
Mazda: "As Dave says, the challenge here is the time it takes to input the order to our system, source the parts needed to the factory, sequence the car into the assembly line, build it and then ship it from Japan to your dealership. Unfortunately, unlike so many things that you can otherwise purchase on the Internet and can custom order, cars are a lot more material-, labor- and transportation-intensive. We have considered this option before, but do not expect to be able to do it anytime soon."
Photo Credit: Mazda
6.) Give it a turbo
Suggested By: Kindashady Sage
What we said: Some of us asked for more power. Others wanted the same horsepower but with more efficiency. We want a turbocharger.
Dave: "Talk to the guy who wants us to cut $3,000 from the price and let us know which of you guys is paying for that turbo."
Mazda: "The true challenge of developing a new vehicle, whether the next MX-5 or the next Mazda3 or the next fill-in-the-blank, is balancing the equipment we put in the car with the cost of that equipment. Oh, and the need to make a profit on the car as well."
Photo Credit: ASR Photos
5.) Keep it to 2100-2200 pounds
Suggested By: admin469
What we said: How do you make a small, low-powered car fast? How do you ensure that it's fun in the turns? You make the car as light as possible, and our readers asked Mazda to bring the Miata to its weight in the 1990s, down from just over 2,400 lbs today.
Dave: "We keep saying every new car is going to be 220 pounds lighter than the one it replaces. Do the math and somehow, we're gonna have to hit your weight target."
Mazda: "As we have said a number of times, each all-new vehicle we develop and sell will fully incorporate the SKYACTIV suite of technologies. One of the cornerstones of SKYACTIV is the extensive use of high-tensile-strength steel, which enables us to build cars to be both stronger and lighter. Light weight is a key by-product of that process."
Photo Credit: Mazda
4.) Skip the "connectivity"
Suggested By: doug-g
What we said: Many readers echoed doug-g when he said, "Skip the "connectivity". The only "connection" should be between the driver and the road. Keep the electronics as simple as possible."
Dave:"We've always maintained that the best way to prevent distracted driving is to make a car you don't want to be distracted from."
Photo Credit: Tesla
3.) Make a shooting brake Miata
Suggested By: Stig-a-saw-us wrecks
What we said: With the Toyobaru FR-S/BRZ coupes coming out, and with our desire to have more practicality in the little MX-5 chassis, it's a perfect time to make a longroof Miata.
Dave: "This is a great idea for you, a few of us at Mazda, and the 12 other people in the world who would buy one. But besides the little problem of nobody else wanting one, there's a challenge with having a lightweight car with a big cargo capacity. Filling that thing with cargo could easily add 15% to the curb weight, all on the rear wheels. Kinda makes suspension tuning tricky."
Mazda: "We seldom fully rule-out product ideas, as we are always looking for new and interesting product ideas and niches to fill. This one, however…uh…"
2.) Give it the suspension from the new McLaren
Suggested By: frinesi2
What we said: The Miata always provided the handling and the capability of big, expensive sports cars in an affordable, small package. Rather than try for adding more power, or a hardtop, Mazda should concentrate on making the handling absolutely perfect. Give the next Miata the passively interconnected suspension with active damping control you find in the hyper-exotic, ultra-fast, ultra-comfortable McLaren MP4-12C.
Dave: "We've played with similar systems at our Miyoshi test track in the past, and they're lots of fun for the engineers, but you're gonna have to negotiate this one with the $3,000 discount guy and the 2100-lb curb weight guy. Let us know what you decide."
Mazda: "Again, the challenges of bringing technology AND low price to market."
Photo Credit: McLaren
1.) Promote Dave Coleman to head of the MX-5 program
Suggested By: stoke
What we said: Our readers didn't know that Dave Coleman would be reading their responses, but they do know his very impressive resume. He was Engineering Editor for Sport Compact Car from 1997-2005. He built the Miatabusa and the LeMons championship-winning, ghetto-turbocharged Frankenmiata. If anyone could ensure that the next Miata will be filled with awesome, it's Dave.
Dave: "Dave Coleman heart clicks you."
Mazda: "Oh dear…"
Photo Credit: MotoIQ