Flap the Miata

I replaced my 2016 Arctic White Mazda Miata "Flap" by a 2019 Soul Red one. I had two main reasons:

  1. The engine had been tuned and produces 26 more horsepower than the one in the 2016 (181 instead of 155). It makes a big difference in how the car feels.
  2. The rev limiter had been increased from a far-too-low 6,500 rpm (engine revolutions per minute) to a really good 7,500 rpm. It was a big relief; I was hitting the rev limiter all the time on my 2016. I was really used to the 7,200 rpm rev limiter of the first two generation Miatas.
Switching to the 2019 was a good decision. For me, the excitement of my earlier Miatas is most definitely back.

The car has some Mazda-developed high-tech red paint job that looks very nice. (Click images to increase the size.) I would have preferred an off-white color, as on these you do not really see it if the car is dirty. But my Arctic White was so bright white that you could see any speckle of black dirt on it, so the red did not make much of a difference. And the red 2019 was available in early 2020 at a dealer near me, Hodges Mazda, at a big discount. Hodges also gave me a good price for my 2016. Nice place to deal with. Also, I did not really want to wait for a 2020 as Mazda had raised the price by about $1,000, apparently mostly for tech gadgets I did not want, like the car standing on its brakes without asking me. From the Boeing 737 MAX, we all know how smart high tech can be. (You can turn the "smart" braking off, but then, why have it?)

The car came with the "BBS-Brembo" package: upgraded German BBS wheels and upgraded Brembo brakes. Yes, the red behind the wheels says "THIS IS BREMBO!!". Fortunately it is the same color as the car, or I would paint them a proper black. Normally I would not have paid an additional $4,000 for upgraded wheels and brakes, but because of the discount, effectively I got them for much less. And I do think they add to the excitement, especially the brakes.

The transparent plastic plate behind the seat, just above the lowered top, is a wind blocker. It keeps the wind out of the back of your neck and head, making top-down highway driving at lower temperatures a lot more pleasant. I replaced the perforated black plastic Mazda wind blocker that comes with the car with this aftermarket one so that I can see over my shoulder. The car has does have a blind spot monitor, but I like to be able to see the big picture.

At the back of the car, below the Mazda sign, you see the rearview camera. This, like the blind spot warning, is a piece of high-tech I do like.

Note also the dual exhaust pipes in the left picture at the bottom to the right and my aftermarket stubby (5 inch high) antenna at the top to the right.

And note my custom license plate frame.

I bought a genuine Mazda rubber trunk protector on Amazon. Living in Florida, I use a California Pop Top to keep the interior nice and cool and reduce sun damage to the interior. (The Florida sun will actually burn off the leather from the steering wheel, for one.) But if there is unexpected rain, I will need to put the wet top in the trunk, and I do not want the trunk to get moldy. To be sure, the Pop Top has a build-in bag to hold the water in check, but I find some water still comes out. Also, I have a garbage bag in the trunk to hold wet stuff, but you do not really want to put the top in the garbage bag in a downpour when going home. Hence the trunk protector. It is also intended to keep my trunk clear of take-out food from Whole Foods, whose containers often leak sauces. The lip of the protector at the bottom of the picture could have been a bit higher, but I do hope it will be enough to hold the water that comes out of the Pop Top bag, or any Whole Foods sauce.

Incidentally, both my Pop Top and my car cover are hold-overs from my third generation Miata. Both fit very well, even though the fourth generation is significantly lower, and a bit wider, than the third.

The BBS Brembo package mentioned above also comes with either racing seats or leather covered normal seats. As you see, I have the leather covered normal seats.

Incidentally, the soft-top on the third and fourth generation Miata is the first I can both lower and raise while sitting in the driver's seat. It is the best soft-top Mazda ever made. Great when caught top-down in rain, which happens a lot to me in Florida. And no additional cover is needed to protect the interior of the lowered top from the sun, as in the first two generations of the Miata.

There are cruise control buttons on the right side of the steering wheel and a few audio (and mobile phone) buttons on the left side. Cruise control is really essential to me on long trips. My leg tends to cramp up.

The biggest gauge, and in the center, is, what else, the rpm. Note that red line starting at 7,500 rpm. The speedo is a smaller gauge at the right. Car & Driver estimates the maximum speed to be about 140 mph, but Autobahn tests suggest a somewhat lower 135 mph (220 km/h). Either way, it is drag (air resistance) limited. I could not see the top in the YouTube video of the Autobahn run, but I would bet that to get the highest speed, you want the top up, and an "RF" top instead of a soft-top.

The smaller gauge on the left of the rpm one lists (a) coolant temperature; (b) outside temperature (important for a convertibe); (c) selected cruise control speed; (d) range and fuel consumption; (e) Trip A, B, or mileage; and (f) available fuel.

In the picture to the left, the display in the center of the dash shows the navigation screen. It shows me at home. Since I normally use my TomTom to actually give me directions, I set the car's navigation to 2D mode with north up. So if I go west while I should be going east, I can see that at a glance.

To the right, the display shows the audio screen. If the system has a non-copyrighted picture of the artists of the song (it has many), it will show that inside the rectangle outlined in grey.

To the left is the fish eye view of the region behind the car if you put it in reverse.

To the left are the climate controls. A/C is standard. Note also the two push buttons for the heated seats.

To the right, somewhat lower you see a boxy structure that holds the card with the navigation data on it. To the right of that are two USB-2 ports. When I replaced my 2016, initially I was quite worried that the 2019 no longer had a DVD drive to play my 10 DVD disks with MP3 songs. Then I figured out that the audio system itself was capable of playing MP3 songs directly from a USB stick. So I put my 8 Gb of MP3 songs, including the contents of all 10 DVD disks, on a single 16 GB USB-2 stick. If someone walks off with the stick, it cost me only $5 on Amazon and I have a couple of spares in the car. In addition, as you see my USB stick is very small, hard to notice, and because only a tiny handle sticks out, it is not that easy to pull out either.