Northwest NEWS

May 21, 2001

Features

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Mazda's new 155 horsepower Miata.

TEST DRIVE: 2001Mazda Miata

Sun calls for fun and the 2001 Mazda Miata fits the bill. This sporty two-passenger convertible is great to drive with the top up or down.
   New for 2001 is the increase in Miata's horsepower. The 1.8-liter inline four-cylinder engine now has a DOHC cylinder head with variable valve timing (VVT) on the intake cam. The result is 155 horsepower at 7,000 rpm and 125 lb.-ft of torque at 5,500 rpm. The compression ratio has been increased to 10:0:1 (up from 9:5:1). Also new are the optional 16-inch alloy wheels, a six-speed manual transmission and some interior adjustments.
   A trip to Eastern Washington in the Miata proved that there is sufficient power and maneuverability with the Miata. There was no lack of power on steep grades and the road feel was just right. You definitely feel like you are in a small car, but there is good visibility.
   The Miata has power-assisted 4-wheel disc brakes.
   You do have to pack carefully. I ended up with soft, pliable duffle bags rather than other luggage in order to make everything fit in the trunk. There is a small amount of space for some items behind the seats on a back sill.
   My test drive model was British racing green with tan interior.
   Included were power steering, power windows and mirrors, leather trimmed upholstery, reclining bucket seats, air conditioning, BOSE® audio system with am/fm/CD, tweeter speakers, cruise control, glass rear window defogger, halogen headlights, fog lights, chrome-plated aluminum fuel door.
   The center console has a lockable section, two-cup holders and the gas cap and trunk remote openers.
   The cloth-like tan vinyl convertible top is easy to put up and down. The separate cover can be attached easily once the top is down.