So there I was. Garage lit up, ND on the jack stands, wheels off, taking pix of the suspension. The PRISTINE suspension. So beautiful and clean and untouched. I turned around to adjust the light and get a better shot and I hear this little voice in my head.
That’s all it said. This tiny little demure voice. A voice I’d never heard before (hey everyone, Adam is REALLY insane and hears voices in his head!) telling me a name.
I’m not especially partial to the name. I’m not sure where it came from. For that matter, I’m not sure how or why I somehow have a girl car – none of my Miatas have ever felt especially girly… Sharka, Bucky, and Stormy are all boy cars – But here she is. Ramona, my ND.
Say hi, Mona.
As I said in the last post, I’ve never had a new Miata. I’ve always bought used. And as a new car owner for the next week or less before any bad weather hits, I thought I’d snap some pix of a showroom fresh 2019 ND2 RF and type out some of my rambling thoughts.
Somehow I snapped 99 pix of a showroom fresh ND in the comfort of the warm garage.
Here’s about 35 of them. Give or take a few.
The engine bay is wonderful. It’s pure Miata in there. The “engine cover” is this tiny little thing that just barely covers some injector wiring. Everything is exposed and even looks a bit like the original NA/NB engine bay.
Gone is that pressurized coolant bottle that the NC had – bravo Mazda! In place is a small fluid bottle right at the front of the bay.
And next to it, the largest possible washer fluid bottle in the world? It’s comically huge. It must have a 3 gallon capacity. For someone who almost never uses the windshield washer, that’s probably a lifetime supply of fluid from the factory.
The engine bay is super sealed up too. All four edges have insulation. When the car is running, you really only hear the exhaust. Almost no noise comes from that engine compartment… which is super odd to me. I’m used to the reverse, with a ton of engine noise and almost zero exhaust noise.
Moving to the interior, the seats need a paragraph to themselves.
I’m not a fan of leather seats and usually avoid them. Stormy had them and… eh. They were decent. My butt got cold in the winter and they could have used more compliant padding, but… they were okay. The ND seats though? WOW.
They hold your (my) butt in a wonderful way. I’ve never found myself sliding around in them. The padding is also compliant and absorbs bumps. And the heat!! LOVE THE BUTT WARMER!! As of the time of this writing it’s 21*F outside. Tomorrow’s looking like 4*F for a low. I’m pretty happy with the butt warmer.
Well done again, Mazda. You made a set of grippy leather seats!
On the opposite end of the spectrum is the interior storage situation. It’s… really bad. The lack of a glove box is an interesting choice. I really wonder what’s inside the dash back there keeping it from having an empty box to store some gloves in… And I’m gonna find out soon when I tear into the dash! But… till then I’m gonna complain.
There’s a small compartment in the middle above the “cup holders.” There’s a micro compartment behind the navigation controls. There’s another small compartment behind the passenger seat. That’s it. None are big enough to keep the owner’s manual inside.
The NC was the exact opposite. There was TONS of storage room. The FOUR cup holders that were made fun of so badly by journalists? They were brilliant. And the cavernous glove box, enormous center storage, and dual hidden seat back storage bins… it was apparently too much storage. Mazda fixed it.
Poor Ramona needs some storage. Maybe I can figure something out.
The HVAC controls on the ND are brilliant. No touch screen required. Just 3 knobs to spin around and a button to press in the middle of each. Super simple and intuitive.
The OEM gauges are… really pretty. I dare say they’re the best gauges to ever come out of the Mazda factory. I’ll be improving upon them, but I’m truly impressed. Great design.
And in the space beside the phone storage is the absolute best spot ever for a little shift pattern plate. It was Ramona’s first mod.
Side note – the stitching throughout the interior… it’s not red. It’s a shade of pinkish-purple. Which is… um. It’s an odd choice. I’m not complaining, I’m just not sure why they wouldn’t use red stitching like everyone else.
Might look really nice with a purple paint job…
This was one that surprised me – the area behind the seats that the top retracts into is carpeted and finished looking. It’s not just a compartment. It’s all buttoned up, even though you never see it without stopping the top halfway through its lowering cycle to peek.
Yet the car has such extreme obsession with weight reduction underneath… why add carpet to this area? Does it help protect the painted roof panels?
Moving under the car… it’s just so clean. Holy crap, you guys. I mean, I keep my cars pretty clean, but THIS is just something not usually achievable by a regular person. No road grime. Such cleanliness.
The whole front third of the ND is flat. The undertray goes back quite a way and keeps the engine bay sealed up. I had no idea it was like this. I’m impressed.
The weight reduction on EVERYTHING is very very apparent. Nearly every component under the car has some speed hole of some type cut into it.
Attention to detail. It’s very noticeable in this ND.
And then there’s the suspension.
I popped off the front wheel and just grinned at it. It’s… it’s a Miata suspension. It reminds me SO much of the NA/NB front suspension. The frame, the sway bar configuration, the shock placement, the A-arms. It’s the same thing. It’s just… new.
The rear is SUPER new. Modern multi-link suspension. And weight reduction everywhere. It’s… fascinating. (and clean! OMG)
The ND drives so well. It’s composed like a modern car, and feels tight like an NA never could. Yet it’s tossable like the NA. It rolls through the corners like a stock NA. It plants the ass and exits a corner like the NA. It feels like a Miata to drive! And this is why. The suspension tells the story.
It’s a modern Miata.
If you can’t tell, I’m really impressed with the ND.
My daughter typed up a quick email with her thoughts on the ND. I’ll paste it here, as written by my sweet 7 year old:
“Ramona is so clean. Ramona’s stiching is pink. Ramona is so qwiet when you drive. Ramona looks brave.”
That pretty much sums up this whole blog post in four sentences.
To sum up my thoughts: I love this car. I know it’s not cool to like modern cars. It’s not hip. I know I should be preaching about how 80s to 90s rusty FR shitboxes are TOTALLY way better than modern computerized commuter bots, but… well. I can’t do that about the ND.
The ND is great in every way the NA is great. It’s quirky. It’s fun. It’s gorgeous. I can’t wait to spend the next 20 years getting to know everything about the ND.
Mona is staying around for a while, y’all. Please give her a warm greeting below.
Welcome to the world, Mona! You’ve lucked-out with your new family 🙂
Welcome Mona! That’s a whole level of new car clean, doesn’t even look like you drove it home?! Very much looking forward to the journey over the next 20 or so years. Now how long before we see some stripes and ND gauges? :). Since I’m a sucker for the bright colors, that 30AE may just be what the Dr ordered!
Grinned throughout the entirety of this. Very excited to read more about this little girl 😀
When I do get a Miata, I plan on covering its entire underside with an aluminum panel (for aero and rust protection purposes) so the chance of the diff needing some air does catch me off guard… is diff cooling a real concern? Is it for some other reason? Is it not actually an air duct for the diff? If you do happen to learn why that is, please enlighten me!
BTW, if you’ll allow a suggestion regarding her first mods, I’ll go ahead and suggest something Garage Vary came up whose coolness overshadows the power gains it comes with. Two words suffice: Emblem. Intake.
Ramona is fitting as all ships by long tradition are women–sailing ships, ships of the air, spaceships (that’s why Ginya is a “she”).
Whether she’s a “ship of the desert” or a rocket ship that races beneath New Mexico’s starry skies is up to you ; )
OOOH! I like the rocket ship one. She’s gonna need a bit of help there though.
I see an Edelbrock in Ramona’s future . . . ; )
THAT might be fun. I miss blower whine so bad.
Does this mean that we can begin to expect more ND mods?
I hope so. =)
Congrats, Adam! I’m a bit late in discovering that you bought yourself a NEW Miata, but better late than never as they say. Ramona is a good name for her too, I’ve never come up with a name for the NC, the NB was “Baby” but the NC remains nameless.
Nice pic of your daughter in the “rumble seat”. And here I thought rumble seats went out of fashion back in the early thirties, guess not at Mazda!
Not visited the site since before you bought the ND so just catching up now. Great purchase. Not driven an ND2 yet, but I spent a year with an ND1 RF with work and really enjoyed it.
Interesting you mention liking the seats, as that’s actually one aspect I wasn’t at all keen on. I began to get backache after an hour or so of driving as the seats don’t have much lumbar support, and after doing a couple of trackdays I truly hated the leather – slip-slidin’ side to side, forward under braking, the whole lot! If I ever personally owned an ND a good pair of buckets would be among the first purchases.
Weirdly the lack of storage never really bothered me, but I rarely travel with much and virtually never eat/drink in the car. Phone and wallet went in the phone slot, keys in the centre cubby, sunshades case in the one between the seat backs.
On to the next blog post, anyway…
Adam, congrats on the new family addition. How are you liking the RF? With the top open any wind buffering? Noise? Any negatives so far?