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Old 02-01-2023, 06:54 PM   #1242 (permalink)
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Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: New Zealand
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ND Miata - '15 Mazda MX-5 Special Package
90 day: 38.31 mpg (US)

Work Vehicle - '17 Toyota RAV4
90 day: 34.19 mpg (US)
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Originally Posted by mpg_numbers_guy View Post
How does your Miata do with towing versus your Insight?
The Insight post-swap with 1000lbs behind it, could out-accelerate most empty pickup trucks with an empty bed. That was good for laughs. I also towed at 80mph with a 50mph headwind, and the larger engine did this effortlessly. The Miata's 1.5L engine is plenty for New Zealand's lower speed limits though (national limit of 100kph, and you should do 90 or less when towing), and I was even able to stay in 6th gear going up mild inclines.

I don't know how heavy the trailer was, but braking downhill at higher speeds, it wanted to wag the back of the car. This disappeared dropping below ~90kph, and other than that I could hardly tell it was back there. With the Insight, I always used a custom lightweight aluminum trailer that was carefully loaded and never experienced this, even though the back of the car was much lighter. I don't have an apples-to-apples comparison. Both straighten out when you get on the power, though.

The Insight with a 2.4L delivered better towing fuel economy than the Miat with its high compression 1.5L, though not by much.

The Miat has better brakes - they're really quite oversized for the car. The Insight pre-swap had 231mm front discs and aluminum rear drums. Post-swap I had 262mm front discs from the 2800lb Civic Si up front, while the car itself was ~2000lbs with a full tank and tools in the back. The Miat has 280mm discs front and rear and is under 2200lbs.

Prior to the engine swap, the Insight's 3 cylinder took a while to get up to speed, but I never had a problem towing, even with the hybrid system removed.

I would say that both cars are effortlessly competent at towing 1000lbs or less. I've towed twice that in the Insight, poorly loaded, and it was quite nervous. The Miat can probably safely tow more, by virtue of a stronger mounting point on the frame (steel, on the rear frame rails), from the rear of the car being heavier, and bigger brakes.

I'd probably still pick the Insight for towing, however, by virtue of better fuel economy, larger hatch (probably 6x the storage), better acceleration, and the Miat not being able to be playful while towing. I did, however, have the top down the entire time, and got a lot of thumbs-ups.
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