Mazda's beloved roadster has remained faithful to the classic affordable two-seat convertible concept since its introduction in mid-1989. The completely redesigned 2016 model takes the whole concept back to its small, light, utterly irresistible roots.
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2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Overview
What's New for 2016
The MX-5 has been completely redesigned from bumper to bumper. Everything except the name and general description is new.
Choosing Your Mazda MX-5 Miata
All Miatas are, as always, front-engine rear-drive two-seat convertibles. The well-received folding hard top that was available on the previous generation is no longer available; it will be interesting to see if Mazda decides to bring it back later.
Mazda's clear intent throughout the design and engineering process was to make the new Miata as light and nimble as possible, essentially remaking the iconic original car while accommodating the regulatory and marketplace changes of the past 25 years. The fourth-generation Miata is three inches shorter and nearly 150 pounds lighter than its predecessor (which itself was rarely accused of being big and bloated).
Power comes from a 2-liter inline-four cranking out 155 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque, which is enough to make this the quickest factory Miata yet. EPA estimates are 27 city/34 highway for cars with the six-speed manual gearbox and 27/36 for Miatas that have somehow ended up with the six-speed automatic.
The independent suspension is set up to be a bit soft; Mazda's engineers specifically allow a bit of body roll to help the driver sense the car's attitude and transitions. Handling in the real sense of the word -- responsiveness, controllability, and feel -- is still exceptional.
The MX-5 Miata is available in three trim levels:
Mazda has a longtime tendency to keep option lists on the short side, and the new Miata remains faithful to this tradition as well. A $3400 package of serious speed parts including BBS wheels and Brembo brakes is available for Club buyers. A set of body-dress pieces is available for Sport and Grand Touring models, and there are several options to brighten up the minimalist interior. Keyless entry is standard on cars with automatics and available for manuals. A collection of cargo-management options and other minor individualist touches can also be installed.
Autocrossers and those with performance tuning on the mind will naturally gravitate towards the Club model. The Grand Touring wears its luxury and convenience features well, although extra electronics and computer intervention has never been the point of the Miata. The Sport is the purest choice -- and by definition that makes it the best Miata. Buy one and enjoy life.
2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Review
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.
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.
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
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.
- 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
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.
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