It's kind of funny. One day I woke up and just said it was time for change. To be honest, I lied to my self when I bought the 2016 MX5 Club. I lied to my self thinking "I live a simple life, i don't need a practical car! A back seat is over rated and who needs trunk space?". Right- in theory it sounded great. It reality it's a awful idea. Many people would ask me if I'd suggest buying one, and I always tell them, "If I had to do it again, I'd bought a older model and bought something more practical for every day use."
Now with that being said, I am not saying the the ND MX5 chassis is bad. Well, maybe the automatic version is, but the manual versions are sublime to drive. And of course I'd always suggest the club just for the limited slip diff. At the time the Gran Touring options weren't available for the club like heated seats or blind spot monitoring, back up camera's etc, but club options were also not available for the sport/gran touring either. Now it seems with the 19+ models they've addressed this issue allowing customers to combine the GT and Club packages for the ultimate ND. I would still suggest buying one but ONLY if you have another reliable car to drive around in.
Despite the MX5 being one of the ultimate drivers cars and probably the best bang for buck in that catogery (although the GT86 runs a close 2nd) it lacks in one main category. Practicality. You can drive a stock club any day the weather is really above 50 degrees farinheit. Thanks to it's Bridgestone Potenza S001 tires at a high 200 tread rating it pretty much eliminates cold weather driving. And driving on snow? Forget about it! You might as well throw a set of slicks on and drive across a frozen lake. The tires are amazing in the warmer months of the years but when it gets cold - useless. Now of course this could be fixed with a second set of winter tires. But now you're spending $500+ on mounting a new set of tires just for a few months. Or even more if you buy a second set of wheels.
The practicality doesn't stop just when it gets cold. Carrying larger objects that would traditionally fit in the back seat of a car, or even in a average trunk space make you question everything you purchase. For example, I found some amazing art prints on large canvas for a decent price. But since the canvas prints were to large to fit in the trunk, the only option would have been to put them in the passenger seat, with the top down. Well that day it just happened to be raining. So that ruined that purchase.
Much like the day I decided to buy the mx5, I just randomly hopped in the car and went to test drive what I was interested in. Prior to test driving what is now my only car, I test drove the Toyota/Scion iM. Knowing it was being phased out meant I was going to get a great deal on it, however it also meant that if I buy a out going model, the better replacement was on the way. So although I liked the Toyota iM, I knew I'd regret not waiting for the better looking Corolla Hatchback. And boy did that pay off!
By waiting and doing my homework, I was able to get the better chassis, more powerful engine (2.0L d4s injection vs the 1.8L), better exterior, and to my surprise a MUCH nicer interior which is also optioned better on the XSE trim.
See, at first I had a feeling it was going to be a big change or adaption to making the switch. To go from a 2 seater RWD roadster, to a small family car. One of the biggest saviors seem to be the fact that Toyota allows the option of a proper 6spd manual transmission. Allowing you to still feel connected with the car. Yeah, the clutch is a bit soft, and the throw of the shifter is a bit long, but its there. Despite that slight downside to the clutch and shift feel (which really, the MX5 is king of) there is an ultimate surprise waiting for you in the chassis. The first time I threw it pretty hard into a corner. It felt alive! The car responded. It has family friendly civil driving abilities around town, yet it still knows how to attack a corner. The first time I drove a Miata was a NA chassis. It was the first time I truly felt a car properly rotate. I was so captivated by it I bought it. It was weird at first but yet it managed to give you a feel for the cars limits and being close to them. Somehow, despite being nearly polar opposites to the MX5, the Corolla Hatchback has that same feel. It's twice the size, about 1K lbs heavier, doesn't have the mid range torque, has a back seat and cargo space, but still knows how to be fun.
Another positive to it, is my dog loves it. In the MX5 he was limited to where he could wonder. His first few times in the car he always hit the volume or radio controls in the center console. Drove me nuts! But the little guy just wanted to look out the other window. In the corolla I toss a blanket over the leather seats in the rear, and he's free to roam window to window. He's not cramped in one seat and can hop from window to window checking out all the lady dogs. Make for a much more enjoyable experience for the both of us.
This is my resuce dog I named Stiggy. Based on the fact he's mostly white, never made a noise for months, and always watched Top Gear with me.
To sum it up, Toyota managed to make the transition from sports car (insert family guy clip about the miata not being a sports car) to family car very easy for me. It's not like the car was custom built for people like me to make that transition. It's just that they finally built a fun Corolla again. I must say, when I made the switch I probably stood there staring at the mx5 sitting next to the Corolla while the sun set thinking how much I am going to miss that car. But now that I am about a month into ownership, I can honestly say I don't miss it as much as I thought I would. I think if I had bought something else, like the Yaris 3 door hatchback, I would be having serious withdrawals. But I don't feel that with the Corolla. The ND chassis is near perfect at everything it was designed for. It was just never designed for being your every day and only car. You just lie to your self by saying you can make it work.
During my MX5 ownership, I managed to own a few other cars to try and get me by. It started with a Honda Civic Wagovan 4wd, but that would be plagued by fixing cheap and poor repairs made from it's previous owner. I put more money in making it road worthy than I did buying it. Because of that, I ended up selling it and replacing it with a Toyota Tacoma 4cly 2wd truck. Something about that truck and I didn't get along. It wasn't bad to drive, it hauled some stuff to the house for me, but I think with it being a 4cylinder it just ruined the truck for me. Most of the problem with the truck was it's gearing. It struggled to pull it's self out of it's own way. So then I traded that for a 97 Toyota Tercel. Solid rust free car, with a near show room like interior. However the 2nd day of owning it, the gas tank sprung a leak. Upon further investigation I found the previous owner had patched it with some cheap auto parts store patch. That left such a bad taste in my mouth I ended up selling it too. After that I bought a Subaru Forester L which I kept until making the switch to the Corolla as my primary (and now only) car.
During my mx5 ownership experience I always had to have a back up car to do the hauling jobs a MX5 just can't. Ultimately the Corolla seems to be a better fit for my life. Sure some things were weird to adjust to, but it only took a few days and then it was like nothing changed except cargo space. Sure the Corolla doesn't live up to the MX5 on handling or smiles per gallon. But it's overall functionality and practicality works out great for my life style. I'd like to get another mx5 for those spring and summer days to come eventually, but right now - the Corolla does a great job of providing me with being practical, comfortable, and fun.