A Mazda Miata Has Conquered A Jeep Trail On Stock Suspension
The Imogene Pass is a trail that has some Jeep owners worried, but this near-standard Miata has been up it with few problems
The Jeep Wrangler is a forever popular SUV in America, and the new Ford Bronco chalked up thousands of pre-orders immediately after it was revealed. These trucks both have a huge fanbase and there are tons of modification options available to make them better off-road.
The US is home to many hardcore trails where 4x4 enthusiasts like to show what they can do, and naturallly a rugged off-roader is seen as key to getting the job done. But now an ND Mazda Miata (MX-5) has made all that look a bit unnecessary.
This Miata has gone up Colorado’s Imogene Pass - which would be impressive enough in a Jeep or Bronco - and on the suspension it left the factory with.
Ok, so it’s not completely factory-standard, but in truth it’s not far off. The car’s owner, Joel Gat, revealed to The Drive that he’d removed the side skirts and wheel arch liners, and hammered at a couple of sections to make the new 27-inch Falken tyres fit. That’s the extent of modification needed to drive an ND Miata on a hardcore trail, it seems.
Gat said he was “wishing for AWD in a few spots”, and the challenge was made harder by him going solo. Normally you’d take a spotter with you, to make sure you don’t drive over a rock that’ll split your fuel tank in two. He added, “Turns out that despite all the Jeepers’ complaints, this part of the trail had two really tough obstacles for me, and the rest was just a little finesse.”
Judging by comments on the Facebook post, it seems the Mazda will soon have a set of Fox shocks to make it even more capable off-road.
The chunky tyres came about because Gat travels to a lot of mountain events. “I prefer to have something fun to drive… what good is a fun Miata for 90 percent of the trip if it won’t take me the last 10 percent of the way?”
Imogene Pass is far from America’s trickiest trail - it’s not the same level as the Moab area - but it’s far away from the Miata’s natural habitat. It shows what’s possible with just a set of suitable tyres and the right driver experience.
And maybe the answer really is always Miata. Tell us what you think in the comments.