The Mazda MX-5 has lived for more than two decades without much competition, opening the door to complacency for the Japanese automaker, but it’s never gotten lazy.

For the 2016 model year, the MX-5 is completely redesigned, has a lower curb weight, and borrows its engine from the base Mazda3.

Pricing and Equipment

The 2016 Mazda MX-5 continues to be inexpensive for an accomplished sports car -- the base Sport starts out at an affordable $24,915. Opting for an auto transmission pushes the price of entry to $26,395. The more performance-oriented Club starts from $28,600, while a feature-rich Grand Touring weighs in at $30,065.

Standard features on the MX-5 include;

  • 16-inch aluminum-alloy wheels
  • LED headlights
  • Air conditioning
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter knob
  • Six-speaker sound system

Color options are limited to just four choices: Jet Black Mica, Ceramic Metallic, Soul Red Metallic, and Artic White.

Performance Pros

Mazda MX-5 Front Grille

Where do we start here? The Miata's low curb weight allows its 155-horsepower engine to deliver an exhilarating experience.

  • The Club -- with its tighter suspension -- is definitely the way to go if you want additional performance credentials.
  • The MX-5 is as light as it's ever been, and doesn't overwhelm the small engine.
  • We especially enjoy the slick action of the manual transmission.

Performance Cons

While we find an MX-5's performance quite spirited, its low horsepower number may still put off some buyers. If you like to leave other cars in the dust, this isn't for you.

  • Shared mechanical bits with the more ordinary Mazda3
  • Fuel economy is good, but the MX-5 requires premium gas

Interior Pros

Mazda MX-5 Miata Interior

The MX-5’s interior has never been a strong point, but the 2016 model is as nice as it’s ever been. Mazda did a great job blending the styling of the original Miata’s cabin with touches of modern design. And the cabin is well-equipped for a lightweight roadster.

Interior Cons

  • We think the navigation system looks out of place -- Mazda could have worked a little harder to re-position it for a cleaner look.
  • Space is also at a premium and there isn't much room to move around.

The Most Pleasant Surprise

While some reviewers have criticized Mazda for dropping a re-tuned Mazda3 engine into the MX-5, its performance is still outstanding. This is mostly due to the fact that the roadster drops significant weight for the 2016 model year.

The Least Pleasant Surprise

EPA estimates for fuel economy aren’t bad by any stretch, but we wish Mazda didn't require premium gas -- especially since you have to work the engine hard to feel all of its power, and that has a tendency to reduce efficiency.

The Bottom Line

Mazda MX-5 Miata Side

Despite its redesign, the MX-5 is still an MX-5. It relies more on lightweight construction and precision handling than raw power to deliver its best. This means you can drive it at nine-tenths and still be well within the constraints of the law.