If you are looking for a vehicle that is a joy to take out and drive with the top down and wind flowing through your hair along the country roads then the Mazda MX-5 Miata is a superb choice. But did you know that it isn’t a bad choice for driving off the road too?
Recently Jalopnik found this out when the editor was given a fully fuelled Mazda MX-5 Miata and he promptly took it out and got it dirty. The vehicle is well balanced and its affordable, not to mention comes with great looks. But how well did it do when taking it off the road.
Now we are not talking about going rock crawling or going over a terrain trail that is ranked moderate. We are talking about remote dirt roads. One thing about driving the Miata in hot weather, whether you have the top down or up with the climate control on, you are going to be hot.
The trip in the Mazda MX-5 Miata began off the road on a spring loaded serpent type road that leads to a mountain side pass that comes straight out of any cliché driving fantasy and which ended up at Big Bear Lake.
At Big Bear Lake there is a spiderweb of dirt tracks and this is where the editor of Jalopnik chose to test the Mazda MX-5 Miata to the absolute limits. First gear was called for along the rutted hardpacked fire road and crawling along at 5mph it did just fine and handled the terrain. Moving to 10mph was ok but 15mph was out of the question.
The Mazda MX-5 Miata had less trouble on the hard gravel roads, however, still at a low speed so as to avoid scratching the rocker panels and wheels with the gravel. The vehicle came into its own on the sand sections that were heavily compacted and traction control was taken off and the RPMs got higher.
So the Mazda MX-5 Miata managed to hold its head high going around dirt and sand tracks and it would have surprised Jeep off the road.