Complete comparison test of the Mazda MX-5 Miata and the Pontiac Solstice. View photos, data specs of…

15 Jan 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Complete comparison test of the Mazda MX-5 Miata and the Pontiac Solstice. View photos, data specs of…
Mazda MX-5

By Dennis Simanaitis November 2, 2005

Full editorial disclosure: I am an MX-5 owner. In fact, wife Dottie and I have one of the earliest Miatas in public hands, our ex- RT Long Term car. On the other hand, I am also a Libra (October 19; no presents, please) and we all know that Libras are remarkably well-balanced, even-handed and fair-minded.

Well, some of us know.

So here I am to tell you about the third generation of an automotive icon, the redesigned. versus an exciting new offering in the lightweight sports-car class, the Pontiac Solstice. Each of these has already had full RT Road Test treatment, indeed, both in our October 2005 issue. (For the Miata road test, ; for the Solstice. ) I’ve read these over, driven both cars back to back and it’s sure good that I’m a Libra.

Admiring both, one is struck by the MX-5’s familiarity and the Solstice’s freshness. Although larger in almost every dimension than generations 1 and 2, the new Miata retains earlier styling cues. Its fender flares are now decidedly aggressive, though, and the term cute no longer comes to mind quite so easily.

The Miata, however, is still an icon of traditional open sports cars.

By contrast, the pays less homage to sports cars of an earlier era. It is, pure and simple, a 21st-century American concept car brought to life, and proudly a Pontiac at that. Its split grille and wide track stylistically hug the road.

Its brushed framing of windshield and rear deck, its headrests and flying-buttress top back there are likewise elements of high style, not stripped-down functionality.

Mazda MX-5

The cars are quite close dimensionally, though the Solstice’s numbers reinforce its appearance. It’s insignificantly shorter overall than the Miata (157.2 in. vs. 157.3), but quite a bit wider (71.3 in. vs.

67.7) on a longer wheelbase (95.1 in. vs. 91.7). Also, the Solstice’s tires are 245/45R-18s vs. our test Miata’s 205/45R-17s (the latter, upgraded from base 205/50R-16s).

All of these combine to give the Solstice rather more road presence than the MX-5. Said another way, even with its third-generation aggressiveness, the is still minimalist, nimble and lithe, terms that somehow don’t apply to the Pontiac.

Mechanically, each is powered by an all-aluminum dohc 16-valve 4-cylinder engine. The Solstice’s 2384 cc produce 177 bhp (74.2 bhp/liter) and 166 lb.-ft. of torque; the MX-5’s 1999 cc, 170 bhp (85.0 bhp/liter) and 140 lb.-ft. On the other hand, our Solstice weighs 2900 lb. vs. the MX-5’s 2490.

It comes as no surprise, then, that the Mazda’s 14.6 lb./bhp get hustled down the track a bit quicker than the ‘s 16.4. However, tires and gearing have their effects as well. By the way, figures shown here are based on back-to-back retesting (not the mixed-venues/mixed-dates of our October 2005 road tests).

This Is A Developing Story

Mazda MX-5
Mazda MX-5
Mazda MX-5
Mazda MX-5
Mazda MX-5
Mazda MX-5
Mazda MX-5
Mazda MX-5

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