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10 Modifications & Upgrades You Should Do To Your ND (2016+) MX5

Here is a short list of modifications that we believe are totally worth doing to your 2016+ ND Mazda MX5 Miata. This list was made after doing a trip throughout the whole USA (17,000+ KM) and racing the car at Laguna Seca Raceway (check out our blog section The Road(Ster) Trip). It’s not a list entirely for racing, nor entirely for street use, it’s to have a good overall balance.

Safety

As we always say, safety first! Let’s talk about some modifications that we believe will just improve your safety and will be worth it (as a wrecked MX-5 is not as valuable as the one who’s never been in an accident).

1. ZOOM Wide Blue Mirrors

This is one of the mod that we ALWAYS do on ALL of our Roadsters. Why? Because our cars are super low and these mirrors have 2 functions : wide depth of view (so you can see what’s in your dead angle with your roof is up) and blue mirror (anti-glare). It’s pretty awesome when driving at night and being followed by a car with bright lights. We also recommend getting the Jupiter Blue Rear View Mirror to minimize glare from cars at night! If you want something a little different, check the JoyFast Wide Mirrors.


(Photo : ZOOM Wide Blue Mirrors)

 

2. Mazda Backup Camera

This is a very popular item. It’s coming standard on the 2019+ models, but for those of us with a ND1, it’s a great mod to have. It takes a few hours to install, but it’s so worth it to be sure never to back up on anyone or a curb. The optional cleaner is really nice as the camera can get dirty/get humidity as it’s not covered.


(Photo : Mazda Backup Camera)

 

3. Aftermarket Muffler

Why is a muffler a safety device? Our cars are hard to notice (very low/small) and the factory exhaust is quite silent. A muffler is a good way for others to know we are there (loud pipes save lives). Although there are performance gains from it, they are very limited without ECU tuning. Our favorite in term of sound/looks is the Integral Kobe Type-US Muffler. You want to control the noise? Check out the Fujimura Dual-Sound Muffler! Want a totally different look? Check out the Autoexe Dual Center Exhaust!


(Photo : Autoexe Dual-Center Muffler)

 

Performance

4. Coilover Suspension

The OEM suspension on the ND MX-5 is great, but you will reach its limit at one point. Body roll is quite big on the car and we just love to see lowered Miatas! Our pick for street suspension would be the Cusco Street Zero which will reduce the body roll while making the car even more comfortable than from factory. For racing, it really depends on your goals, but you can check out our Coilovers for ND!


(Photo : Cusco Street-Zero Coilovers)

 

5. Lightweight Wheels

Changing wheels greatly affects the dynamics of your Roadster. The vehicle is very lightweight and does not have the huge power that most sports car have. This means that keeping weight low is really important, and even more important for rotational mass. Our best pick for street wheels are the 16x8 +35 Rays TE37 Sonic Wheels that are forged, light weight and really mean looking. If you’re more racing oriented, we believe that the 17x8.5 +40 Rays TE37 Saga Wheels would be your weapon of choice, allowing you to run wider tires and bigger brakes. If your budget doesn’t allow for forged wheels, we think that the Enkei PFM1 17x8.5 +40 Wheels are awesome stylish, lightweight and high quality wheels for the price. If budget doesn’t matter and you want the lightest wheels available, check these 16x7.5 +28 JoyFast T66-F Wheels or 17x8 +34 TWS T66-F Wheels (if you need bigger brake clearance).



(Photo : RAYS TE37 Saga 17" Wheels)

 

6. Chassis Bracing

The ND MX-5 is super lightweight. Unfortunately, making the car so light had a small drawback on the chassis rigidity. It’s not so bad, considering it’s quite easy to fit with strut braces and underchassis bracing. Our recommended solution is to run the Autoexe Strut Tower Bar Set combined with Autoexe Member Brace Set for maximum rigidity. If you want to try a very simple mod that you’ll feel right away, try the Nielex Pro-Spec Knuckle Support that will fix a very weak point of the ND. The Nielex piece has sold over 3000 units in Japan as it’s a very inexpensive mod that will make the steering feel much more stable/solid.  If your car is lowered, don’t forget to change your Front & Rear Sway Bars to bring back suspension geometry to how it should be (our pick : Autoexe Sway Bars).

 
(Photo : Autoexe Strut Tower Bar Set)

 

7. Brake Pads

This is a mod that anyone doing spirited driving will enjoy right away. Please be careful, though. We found out that most street brake pads will not survive intense circuit racing. If you don’t plan on racing your car at the track, our pick would be the famous ACRE Light Sports Brake Pads which produce minimal brake dust and give the car a very nice and direct brake feel. If you intend on racing, depending on your racing category, we have a variety of Racing Brake Pads available! Need more braking power than the OEM brakes can offer? Check out the Runduce Big Brake Kit!


(Photo : Runduce Big Brake Kit)

 

Styling

8. Performance Steering Wheel

We think one of the weak point of the fourth generation MX-5 is the thin and easy-to-scratch leather steering wheel. Upgrading to a thicker steering wheel will feel A LOT better during spirited drives, it’ll improve the look of your interior and most likely give you more leg room as most of them are D-Shaped (this means that the bottom part is flat). The replacements steering wheels that we offer (look for pictures of steering wheels with airbag) will retain the OEM airbag and all your buttons (radio/cruise control) and can be used with paddle shifters as well (for automatic transmission). Our favorite is definitely the KenStyle Leather Steering Wheel (for street use) or KenStyle Suede Steering Wheel (for racing). If you want the most advanced steering wheel on the market, don’t forget to check out the DAMD Performance Steering Wheel! Honorable mention to the Autoexe Sports Steering Wheel for those who want to upgrade without going too thick.


(Photo : KenStyle Leather Steering Wheel)

 

9. Japanese Style Floor Mats

The ND’s interior is so minimalistic and perfect that it’s hard to make it look much better. A neat upgrade that most enthusiasts will love are the upgraded floor mats. Our personal favorites are the Zero X Pattern Floor Mats that will match the red stitching on the interior, but for the more old school lovers, Zero Checkered Floor Mats (Small) or Zero Checkered Floor Mats (Big) will just do the trick! All the floor mats that we sell are manufactured in Japan and are made to last very long.


(Photo : Zero X-Pattern Floor Mats)

 

10. Short Antenna

It’s one thing that most owners hate to look at. The OEM antenna makes the car look like a RC car. A very cheap investment will make your car’s exterior look much more luxurious. If you like the look of Honda S2000 OEM Antenna, check out the TUCKIN99 Short Antenna. If you want the shortest antenna on the market, look at the Arrows Super Short Antenna!


(Photo : TUCKIN99 Ver1 Short Antenna)

 

Bonus Upgrades

BONUS 1 : Custom Finish Emblems

All the custom emblem kits that we sell include the OEM JDM “Roadster” Emblem that fits right in the holes of the original MX-5 one and shows your knowledge of the Japanese culture! It also confuses the people who never saw the ND MX-5 and think it’s a new model. Those emblems are brand new and will replace your OEM ones. Our most popular are the REV9 Black Chrome Emblems, followed by the REV9 Flat Black Emblems and the REV9 Gloss Black Emblems. If you like the chrome emblems and just want more JDM touch to your vehicle, get the Mazda OEM Roadster Emblem.


(Photo : REV9 Black Chrome Emblems)

 

BONUS 2 : Seat Covers

If you bought a ND with fabric seats and want to upgrade your interior (and keep the OEM seats looking brand new for better resale value), consider putting some nice and tight fit Seat Covers. The Seat Covers that we sell are made so that if you get into an accident, the seat airbags will deploy without any problem due to the construction of our seat covers. Our favorite choice is the Autowear Seat Covers followed by the DAMD Seat Covers and for those who want a more custom option, check out the Nakamae Sports Seat Covers and Nakamae Quilted Seat Covers! Installation of any of these 4 just take under 30 minutes and makes the seat much more comfortable.


(Photo : DAMD Quilted Seat Covers)

 

BONUS 3 : Lightweight Flywheel

If you had a NA or NB Miata, one thing you might miss is the very quick throttle response from the cable throttle. Unfortunately, the ND has an electronic throttle and it's not as quick to react as the good old cable. We found out that changing the flywheel to a lighter weight flywheel just does the trick. Be careful, though, if you pick a flywheel that's too light, it's going to affect the driveability of the car. If you want the perfect balance, we recommend the Autoexe Sports Flywheel (which is also available for the 1.5L Engine) which is perfect for street or race use.


(Photo : Autoexe Sports Flywheel)