The 2015 Mazda Miata was dropped off at my house during the one of the coldest weeks on record here in Washington DC. While the roads have been clear, the street parking has been snowy and slick. I’ve seen an M3 unable to pull away from the curb, and I needed to use my Maxtrax to get my daily driver, a 2004 Mazdaspeed Miata, out from the shoulder.
The little Miata only boasts 176 hp from it’s 2.0L 4-cylinder engine, but it is RWD, not a good receipe for snow going. What’s worse, it comes wearing high performance Bridgestone Potenza RE050A tires. This sub-30F morning, the Miata had been parked on packed snow, an inch of ice, and had been plowed in a bit. The picture above really doesn’t do it justice. I thought about going back inside for my Maxtrax, but thought maybe it would be fun to get really stuck.
I put the 6-speed manual in second gear and slowly eased onto the throttle. The traction control light blinked on and off, but the tires gripped enough to move forward. A little more gas, a little wiggle on the wheel, and the Miata was free.
It’s not a smart idea to keep summer performance tires on a car year round, especially in areas that get real weather. In this case the traction control was able to overcome the ice and snow, in spite of having the wrong tires for the conditions.
I didn’t get the chance to drive the Miata on snowy roads. It probably would have been a disaster as there is only so much traction control can do. However, I was pleasantly surprised that it was enough to get me to the dry pavement with ease.
Take a look at the MX-5 in a much better environment.