How to turn your old Miata into the most badass dune buggy around

Miata is always the answer, unless you need to go off-road. An American company named Exomotive has developed a way for the fun to continue even when the pavement ends. Meet the Exocet Off-Road, a dune buggy that received a heart transplant from an older Miata. It’s like an Ariel Nomad for a fraction of the price.

The Off-Road model started life as a standard Exocet, which is like a supersized go-kart designed for the track. The four-cylinder engine, the transmission, most of the electrical system, and the steering components are sourced directly from either a first- or a second-generation MX-5 Miata. The suspension is all Mazda, surprisingly, though it receives a three-inch lift. With over a foot of ground clearance, the rear-wheel drive Exocet Off-Road lets you drift on roads less traveled, even if getting there requires climbing a sand dune or powering through a foot of snow.

The Mazda bits are bolted to a tubular chassis developed in-house by Exomotive. The Off-Road weighs considerably less than a Miata, though the final figure largely depends on how it’s configured. Power also varies depending on what engine it’s equipped with; the Miata’s engine certainly isn’t a powerhouse, but a nearly endless list of aftermarket tuners will help you squeeze as much power as you need out of the four-cylinder. In other words, you can dial in your own power-to-weight ratio.

The Exocet Off-Road starts at approximately $14,000. The catch is that it comes in pieces, and you have to build it yourself by following instructions, Ikea-style. You also need to source the mechanical components on your own. They’re not included in the kit; Exomotive isn’t in the business of parting out aging Mazda roadsters.

Luckily, there’s no shortage of cheap first- and second-generation MX-5s on Craigslist. Drag home a rough-but-running example that’s rusty beyond description, yank the engine and the transmission out of it, and you’ll have the coolest dune buggy around. What are you waiting for?

Cars

Muscle cars, trucks, and EVs roared into the subdued 2019 Detroit Auto Show

The 2019 Detroit Auto Show was the quietest edition of the event in recent memory, but that doesn't mean nothing significant happened inside the Cobo Center. Here are the new cars and concepts we saw at the show.
Cars

Sibling rivalry: 2019 BMW Z4 takes on the 2020 Toyota Supra

BMW and Toyota forged an unlikely partnership when they set out to build a sports car platform together. Here, we examine the similarities and differences between the 2019 Z4 and the 2020 Supra.
Emerging Tech

Look forward to your morning commute with one of the best ebikes available

A proper ebike is perfect for commuting or a trek along the trailhead, with most offering pedal assistance and a long-range battery. As more brands offer their own take on this innovative way to get around, it's hard to distinguish the…
Cars

Self-driving, electric, and connected, the cars of CES 2019 hint at the future

Car companies remained surprisingly quiet during CES 2018. But they spoke up in 2019. From electric hatchbacks you can buy in 2019 to super-futuristic mood-detecting technology, here are the major announcements we covered during the event.
Cars

Lexus LC convertible concept teases a new open-air flagship

Debuting at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the Lexus LC convertible concept adds open-air motoring to the sleek LC's resume. But Lexus won't commit to a production version of the car just yet.
Cars

Fast and Furious fans get revved up: Toyota’s Supra sports car is back

The 2020 Toyota Supra made its long-awaited debut at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. The resurrected sports car, famous for a role in The Fast and the Furious, goes on sale in the U.S. this summer.
Cars

Big tech, bigger grille: BMW updates its 7 Series flagship for 2020

The BMW 7 Series will enter the 2020 model year with a host of updates inside, outside, and under the sheet metal. The new-look nose with a jumbo grille hides updated engines, while passengers benefit from smart tech features.
Emerging Tech

Ford’s sweaty robot bottom can simulate 10 years of seat use in mere days

Ford has developed 'Robutt,' a sweaty robot bottom that's designed to simulate the effects of having a pair of human buttocks sitting on its car seats for thousands of hours. Check it out.
Cars

In McLaren’s 600LT Spider, the engine is the only sound system you’ll need

The McLaren 600LT Spider is the inevitable convertible version of the 600LT coupe, itself a lighter, more powerful version of the McLaren 570S. The 600LT Spider boasts a 592-horsepower, twin-turbo V8, and a loud exhaust system to hear it…
Cars

Robomart’s self-driving grocery store is like Amazon Go on wheels

Robomart's driverless vehicle is like an Amazon Go store on wheels, with sensors tracking what you grab from the shelves. If you don't want to shop online or visit the grocery store yourself, Robomart will bring the store to you.
News

Ford has a plan to future-proof the hot-selling F-150 pickup truck

Worried about the threat of rising gas prices, Ford will add the F-150 to its growing portfolio of electrified vehicles. It is currently developing a hybrid F-150, and it will release an electric version of the next-generation truck.
Cars

Ford’s Mustang-inspired electric crossover will spawn a Lincoln luxury version

Lincoln will get its own version of parent Ford's first mass-market, long-range electric vehicle. While Ford's version will have styling inspired by the Mustang, Lincoln will take a more traditional approach.
Home Theater

Spotify adds simplified Car View mode for Android users

What was once just a test is now a reality: Spotify is rolling out a new, simplified in-car user interface for all Android users called Car View, which automatically engages when the app detects a car Bluetooth connection.
Cars

Boutique carmaker Karma Automotive, legendary design firm Pininfarina team up

Karma Automotive is partnering with legendary Italian design firm Pininfarina on future luxury cars. The first product of that partnership will appear later this year, Karma said, without offering other details.