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Mazda MX-5 ND series (gen 4) #5455510 06/16/20 06:51 PM
Joined: May 2007
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dnewton3 Offline OP
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I have a question specific to two simultaneous conditions:
1) late model ND series MX-5 owners
2) persons of significant size

I am not particularly tall (5'10"), but have a 50" chest and 38" waist; barrel-chested, as it were. I am interested in buying an ND series, but don't want to get something I'm not likely to fit in comfortably for long periods of time. I realize I can go do a test drive, but those typically don't last long; they want their car back soon lest they think you've lit off with the auto. What I'm interested in is actual reports of long-term comfort; 3-6 hours of constant seat time. I'm worried that I'll feel cramped after several hours. What seems perfectly fine after 5 minutes in the dealership is not the same as 5 hours in the seat. (Motorcycles are notoriously the same; soft seat and soft suspension make for a great test ride for 15 minutes, but tell you nothing about how it's going to feel after riding from IN to SD for two days). This will not be my DD; it's supposed to be my fun trip vehicle for long vacations and twisty roads.

There are many glowing reports of how great the car is; excellent handling, decent power, fun factor, etc. But I've not seen any YT video or other report of how well big guys (and girls) fit into the car for real road trips.

Anyone here fit condition 1 and 2, and have insight?


The act of preventative maintenance, in and of itself, is FAR MORE important than brand/grade/base choices among lubes and filters.
- under maintaining something is akin to abuse/neglect; that can kill equipment by shortening the lifespan
- over maintaining something has never been proven to be anything but a waste of time and money
Re: Mazda MX-5 ND series (gen 4) [Re: dnewton3] #5455539 06/16/20 07:36 PM
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Skippy722 Offline
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I have no personal experience, but Matt Farah of “The Smoking Tire” is a bigger dude and said he was pretty comfortable in it.


Last edited by Skippy722; 06/16/20 07:36 PM.

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Re: Mazda MX-5 ND series (gen 4) [Re: dnewton3] #5455676 06/16/20 10:56 PM
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splinter Offline
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Miatas are ubiquitous around my 'hood. Call in a favor from a friend to borrow his or hers?

They're surprisingly comfortable for larger guys. I'm ~6'3" 180 and can get happy. It's no S63 on the interstate though.
Mazda is an excellent company with which to do business in my experiences. They get us.

I race the little NA. Currently upgrading its packaging to better hold the junk.

Happy motoring.


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Re: Mazda MX-5 ND series (gen 4) [Re: splinter] #5456179 06/17/20 03:29 PM
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dnewton3 Offline OP
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Originally Posted by splinter
Miatas are ubiquitous around my 'hood. Call in a favor from a friend to borrow his or hers?

They're surprisingly comfortable for larger guys. I'm ~6'3" 180 and can get happy.


Sure - I'd love to borrow one. Problem is that none of my friends/acquaintances own one. I even looked into renting one, but those are pretty much located at the west coast and not the Midwest where I'm at. Looked into joining a "club" locally, but no one seems really intent in today's CVD19 times to let a stranger ride along in their car; can't say I blame them, honestly.


If you're 6'3", you're not putting the top up on an ND and getting away with it. I got into the ND RF and my head was close enough that my hair was touching the roof panel when the roof was up. And I'm only 5'10". From what I've read, the soft-top gains a slight bit of clearance. You're thin; 6'3" and 180 lbs is a LOT thinner than I am at 5'10" and 225 lbs. My barrel chest and wide shoulders makes me concerned for the fit between the seat and up against the door with my shoulder. I doubt you have this issue. It's not my height that concerns me; it's my width.

Last edited by dnewton3; 06/17/20 03:33 PM.

The act of preventative maintenance, in and of itself, is FAR MORE important than brand/grade/base choices among lubes and filters.
- under maintaining something is akin to abuse/neglect; that can kill equipment by shortening the lifespan
- over maintaining something has never been proven to be anything but a waste of time and money
Re: Mazda MX-5 ND series (gen 4) [Re: dnewton3] #5456600 06/18/20 07:05 AM
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Cujet Offline
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I find them small, but comfortable. I'm exactly your size. One thing though, the seat will be all the way back, so there won't be any recline available to you.


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Re: Mazda MX-5 ND series (gen 4) [Re: dnewton3] #5456729 06/18/20 09:33 AM
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quint Offline
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Dave I dont have an ND but I do have a 2019 Fiat 124 Spider (which as you probably know, or maybe not, is built on the ND assembly line and is basically an ND with a Fiat engine and some different bodywork) and other than some minor trim door trim and dash pieces is almost the exact same interior. I am 5'10'' and 215 lbs, 36/38 inch waist depending on what month it is, and very broad in the shoulders. I have the cloth seats and find them just a tiny bit too narrow for my liking, though since buying the car with only 8 miles on it, they seemed to have relaxed a bit and I dont find them nearly as tight as when I first bought it. The sides of the seats were hitting me on the shoulder blades and kept a lot of my back from actually touching the seat back. Still does to some minor extent, but I have either gotten used to it, or driving it over the last 4000 miles has softened them up and push the sides back a bit so I dont find them downright uncomfortable like I did during the test drive, now I just find them... snug. I actually found them *very* uncomfortable during the 30-45 minute or whatever it was test drive (we got lost, but neither I nor my wife minded, we were having fun....dealer didnt seem to care in the least we were gone so long) but I loved everything else about it to the point I quickly stopped caring about my shoulder blades.

On the bottom end space is definitely at a premium, I have enough room for my bubble butt however my fairly short legs rest against the door on the left and against the console on the right. I have enough room to wiggle around a bit, but stretching your legs is not really an option. My knees just barely touch the trim under the steering column when I have the seat in the most comfortable position. With the top up whats left of hair just barely brushes the top, I just notice it but it is there (my hair is also barely there). I can adjust the seatback to make that stop but it doesnt really bother me enough to care. What does bother me is the non-telescoping steering wheel, its simply too far away so my arms sometimes feel stretched out too much. As of now four months into ownership thats really my biggest, or possibly only, gripe about the car. The 2020 ND's have a telescoping wheel now and if the forums are to be believed the steering column is a direct fit to the earlier ND's and to the Spider so I see that in my future. There are also aftermarket spacers which will push the steering wheel about 2 inches closer and they cost about the same as the steering column ordered from Mazda (roughly), so I'll end up doing one or the other eventually.

As far as driving it long distances, even with my minor gripes above I find it plenty livable. We live on the Ohio-Indiana border outside of Cincinnati and often go out on the nicer days meandering the backroads in an area stretching down river to about Madison, Ind up towards Seymour (where I bought the car), up and over towards the Oh/Ind border near Oxford, Oh then over towards Dayton, and back down into Cincinnati and everywhere in between on the nicer weekends for 2-3, even 4 hours at a time and never really feel uncomfortable or like I had to get out for an extended stretch or felt like it was too confining. Dont get me wrong, its definitely, absolutely, positively a small interior, but I've been in worse. Or maybe its just so much fun to drive I dont really notice anymore, that is certainly possible.

Good luck finding one and hopefully you find them comfortable enough because they are an absolute hoot to drive. I decided on the Spider over the Miata mostly after comparing the two at the auto dealers expo last winter at the convention center downtown where the two were parked close to each other, and after hopping in one then the other about a dozen times and crawling all over them for about an hour. Since Fiat kept the interior identical to the Miata it came down to the body styling.

Also note the higher end trims have the heated leather, and at least in the Spider even Recarro seats as an option, I dont know how the padding is compared to the standard cloth ones mine has, or if they even use the same seat frame so be aware of the different seating options and hopefully you'll find one that feels right.

Re: Mazda MX-5 ND series (gen 4) [Re: dnewton3] #5457482 06/19/20 07:24 AM
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dnewton3 Offline OP
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Cujet and Quint - thanks for the insight. Quint; very detailed - appreciated! The snug fit of the seat as you describe reminds me of my old 1990 Taurus SHO seats; very snug to a point of almost feeling confining. Seats like that are probably excellent and holding "normal" people in place, but us big guys can feel pinched into the seat. My old SHO even had bolsters that were adjustable, and still they were not wide enough to make it "just right". The Goldilocks in me always found them just a bit "too tight".

I'm going to do a few test drives tomorrow hopefully. Another thing I've read about is the knee room, specifically in relation to the the side contact against the door; do you find yourself hitting your knee at/near the window controls?

I am also going to look at a used NC; they have been rumored to have a slight (tiny) bit more room.




Last edited by dnewton3; 06/19/20 07:38 AM.

The act of preventative maintenance, in and of itself, is FAR MORE important than brand/grade/base choices among lubes and filters.
- under maintaining something is akin to abuse/neglect; that can kill equipment by shortening the lifespan
- over maintaining something has never been proven to be anything but a waste of time and money
Re: Mazda MX-5 ND series (gen 4) [Re: quint] #5457660 06/19/20 11:35 AM
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Originally Posted by quint

As far as driving it long distances, even with my minor gripes above I find it plenty livable. We live on the Ohio-Indiana border outside of Cincinnati and often go out on the nicer days meandering the backroads in an area stretching down river to about Madison, Ind up towards Seymour (where I bought the car), up and over towards the Oh/Ind border near Oxford, Oh then over towards Dayton, and back down into Cincinnati and everywhere in between on the nicer weekends for 2-3, even 4 hours at a time and never really feel uncomfortable or like I had to get out for an extended stretch or felt like it was too confining. Dont get me wrong, its definitely, absolutely, positively a small interior, but I've been in worse. Or maybe its just so much fun to drive I dont really notice anymore, that is certainly possible.


I don't want to hijack but I have to ask since I don't know anybody who roadtrips a miata, would you be willing to sleep in the car for a couple hours or overnight on a cross-country roadtrip?

Last edited by Pew; 06/19/20 11:36 AM.
Re: Mazda MX-5 ND series (gen 4) [Re: Pew] #5457742 06/19/20 01:32 PM
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quint Offline
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Originally Posted by dnewton3
My old SHO even had bolsters that were adjustable, and still they were not wide enough to make it "just right". The Goldilocks in me always found them just a bit "too tight".


That about sums it up. Even as tight as these seats were when I first got it, they did loosen up a bit though. Or they haven't moved at all and I just got used to it.

Originally Posted by dnewton3
Another thing I've read about is the knee room, specifically in relation to the side contact against the door; do you find yourself hitting your knee at/near the window controls?

Yup. No problem getting to the window switches but my knees just barely touch the underside of the dash, and my right leg is up against the console and my left is against the door. Something to note, I have always sat super close to the steering wheel in every car I've ever had, I actually sit with the seat closer than my wife who is 5'00". She keeps the seatback much more upright than I do, and I put it way back further than she ever could. But I have to sit as close as I can in the Spider because of the steering wheel issue I mentioned. Moving the seat back a notch actually gives me much better legroom, but then I don't like the extra stretch of my arms getting to the steering wheel.


Originally Posted by Pew
I don't want to hijack but I have to ask since I don't know anybody who roadtrips a miata, would you be willing to sleep in the car for a couple hours or overnight on a cross-country roadtrip?

Just me personally, honestly there is no way I could, I cant sleep sitting upright, not a chance. I don't sleep on planes, I cant sleep in a car, not in a recliner at home... makes long flights a nightmare, I just cant do it. Recently flew 9 hours back from S. America, and sitting in coach on a 767 (UGH) and I did nothing but sit there in a dimly lit plane staring at the back of the head of the person in the seat in front of me. For 9 hours. If they handed me a parachute and said we will open the door for you, somewhere around Ecuador at 37,000 feet I probably would have taken the offer, I was so tired. But I cant sleep like that.

I did sleep overnight in an Rx7 once, but those seats went back pretty far. No such option in the Spider or a Miata, there is a bulkhead right behind you so you have very little reclining option.

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