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Discussion Starter #1
I've been researching for a month on the internet. I read all the search results from miata and elise drivers here on the forum. Most Miata's mentioned were pre-2006 model (NC) though.

Big question: Elise will be $35-38k. A used '07 MX-5 touring goes for $18-20k, or a new power hardtop touring has an MSRP of $25k. I'm trying to gauge if the Elise is worth the extra money- I know it's the "better" car.

I just moved to San Diego. I'll be selling my sport bike (riding for 11 years). I'm used to canyon carving, but with age, my sense of mortality has now got me thinking I need a car with seatbelts and airbags vice hitting loose rocks on a blind corner on a bike. So I need to replace that fun, zooming around corners feeling. I'll also be commuting 15 miles of freeway, exit/entrance ramps, some bumper to bumper to traffic, and a few miles of bumpy 25mph zones, etc getting to Coronado every day.

I'm also somewhat image conscience, in part because I'm a Naval Aviator, the second because I live and breathe cars and believe they say what kind of person you are. (I've owned 300ZX's, a Subaru STI, '71 Cutlass Convertable, and a few trucks)

I also have a "green" wife who wants me to get the most MPG I can and to help the environment (both MX-5 and Elise get close to 30mpg). That offsets my 14mpg diesel truck.

I need a small car for the micro-sized parking lots around here. The roads are pretty rough around there too.

I've sat in both cars and like the a lot.

So pluses and minues:

Lotus- Plus: looks by far the best, faster, handles better, more exotic, rare, pride of ownership. Minus: Cost, confort, inability to leave it parked somewhere in a not-so-good neighborhood, dealership is 45 min away, not easy to put top up when running into a store.

MX-5- Plus: Price, top goes up quickly so I don't need to hide my radar detector and Garmin GPS every time I go to the store. More practical. Oh yeah, cheap. Minus: Very worried about girl car image, slower, doesn't look as cool at the lotus.

Every day I change my mind on which one I should get. I'd love to hear some advice. I keep thinking, "go for it" and get the Lotus, but if it's miserable to driving in slow traffic, I might not be happy with it. I could get the MX-5, drive it for a few years, and upgrade later.

I need some help.
 

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Lotus by far. The minor drawbacks are far outweighed by the advantages.

Get a Lotus and leave some cash spare for a "hackmobile" that you can take to dodgy places and lug bags of cement in... ;)

The MX-5 is good but it's boring to look at and you certainly won't be terribly bothered about keeping it clean. With a Lotus you will practically have another family member...

MX-5 is slow too. And a powered hard top is heavy.
 

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Was with you for a Lotus until you got to the 'micro-sized parking lots.'

No bumpers at all, even the bumperettes on the newer cars are just for show.

Can't be seen in parking lots, pull in spaces are asking for trouble, conversely parallel parking is out of the question.

I can't speak for many other people, but I'm with a fairly large number here that decide whether or not to take the Lotus depending on the known parking conditions at the other end of the trip.

It's not about 'profiling' and keeping the garage queen perfect. It's about keeping it out of harms way which in other cars creates damage (door ding) that one might not even bother getting fixed, but in the Lotus will rack up thousands in damage.
 

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I wouldn't make a blanket statement that the Lotus is a "better" car. It's a very different car than the Mazda and certainly better in some ways. It really depends on what you value. I suggest you test drive both back to back and you will suddenly gain complete clarity on which one to get.
Chris
 

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Wow, its rare for someone in the military to admit his own self-image issues in public like this. Very interesting and refreshing.
 

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MX-5- Plus: Price, top goes up quickly so I don't need to hide my radar detector and Garmin GPS every time I go to the store. More practical. Oh yeah, cheap. Minus: Very worried about girl car image, slower, doesn't look as cool at the lotus.
First, forget about the "girly car" image. You will get more comments about using the Lotus to compensate for having a small penis than you will get about the Miata bing a "girly car". In 12 years of owning a Miata, I've only had one idiot that made such a comment, and he was driving a BMW Z3 - enough said.

As for the Miata being more secure, think again. All it takes is a pocket knife (or a nail clipper knife) to slice the top and reach inside. Then you are out not only the cost of your detector/GPS, but also an new soft top ($1,000 + after installation). Of course the same thing applies to the Elise. I'm of the school of thought that you leave nothing of value in a convertible, and leave it unlocked so that the thieves don't cut up your top to search for valuables. But at lest the Elise has a cockpit motion sensor connected to the alarm for people that reach in...

will the Elise be able to go over the speed bumps in your parking lot? Mine wouldn't.
My Miata drags it's mud flaps (or bottoms out completely) going over some speed bumps that the Elise clears easily. You still have to be careful about speed bumps, dips, pot holes, and steep driveways, but it applies to both cars.

As to which is better, it all depends. Only you can decide. I do find it interesting that a large number of Elise owners also have a Miata. But cars have advantages and disadvantages. You have to weigh the pros and cons to decide. :shrug:
 

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The latest NC version of the Miata doesn't have that cute look, it's meaner, more muscular. It's a great fun car to drive and I would suggest getting the hardtop retractable, it only weighs around 40 more pounds than the soft top and it increases rigidity, reduce wind noise, and you don't have to worry about worn/damage soft top.

The Miata has great performance potential as well, with some modification it could be very fast around corners. A Japanese tuner from Kobe put in a 2.3L NA engine (190hp) from a mazda 3 and beat out a previous gen stripped out, race prep lotus Elise running 2zz (from current Elise) in this video: (sorry I can't find the actual battle clip but you can find the full video and download it from where): 土屋圭市SPECIAL ホットバージョン Vol.89「峠最強伝説 グランプリ2007開幕!、RE雨宮RX-7 2007峠仕様 シェイクダウン、SUPER GT エースドライバーの条件」- BestMOTORing.JP

Here is a modified one in Japan racing around Tsukuba circuit, very mean looking:



 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks for the comments. It's funny that when I'm sitting here at work reading forums- (I have the mazda forum up in another window) and playing with the loan calculators, I feel the MX-5 will be plenty for a fun, nimble, quick daily driver. My wife has a civic hybrid, so that works for taking 4 people somewhere, or parking in a sketchy area. I still have the F250 supercab for hauling stuff and towing the boat.

But, everytime I walk outside here on base and see cars driving around, I can't shake the feeling of sitting in the elise and imagining it going down the road.

In my imagination, after getting out of the MX-5, I won't look back before walking into a building- the Elise, I sure would...

I need to do a MX-5 test drive this week to help me narrow it down.
 

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Have you driven both cars? That's the only way I could make a decision.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Have you driven both cars? That's the only way I could make a decision.
Nope. I've sat in them, rowed the gears, and made "vroom-vroom" noises in my head. Lotus dealer didn't have anything for a test drive- the two new cars were stacked behind a dozen Lambo's and Bentely's. The used ones out back were covered in dust and had dead batteries. He couldn't open the door for me with the key fob he grabbed.

The MX-5 I sat in was at a car show- at that time I was considering it for my wife. I'll have to hit up the dealer this week (maybe today) and get a drive.
 

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Nope. I've sat in them, rowed the gears, and made "vroom-vroom" noises in my head. Lotus dealer didn't have anything for a test drive- the two new cars were stacked behind a dozen Lambo's and Bentely's. The used ones out back were covered in dust and had dead batteries. He couldn't open the door for me with the key fob he grabbed.

The MX-5 I sat in was at a car show- at that time I was considering it for my wife. I'll have to hit up the dealer this week (maybe today) and get a drive.
The Miata is a much more realistic daily driver, the Elise is very involve race car for the street but not for everyday use. If you are going to drive your F250 daily and don't mind the extra cost the Elise then it's the way to go but, if you are going to drive it as a daily driver than the Miata is a no brainer.

You should drive them both for sure.
 

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Speaking as a previous owner of a NB Miata and a current owner of a 2006 Elise, do NOT test drive an Elise.

Once you test drive an Elise, there is no going back ;)

They are very different cars. I would still buy a Miata(or MX-5) any day but not over an Elise. In fact, my wife is thinking of getting one(2008 HT) later this year.

But I would not get an Elise as my only DD for reasons already stated on many threads here.

If you get the MX-5, you'll always flirt with the Elise. Not true the other way around.
 
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