The 2016 MX-5 Miata is an entirely new car. Redesigned from the ground up, it has a new body, a new soul and a new heart. The Mazda Miata was always unique, cribbing the style of British and Italian roadsters and combining it with Japanese (reliable) running gear, the Mazda Miata was adored among people who loved to drive. A dear friend to The Fast Lane Car is a Mazda MX-5 Miata freak and absolutely swore by them. Others said they were the best handling cars for the money while some race aficionados turned used ones into weekend track cars.
Over the pat few years, the Mazda Miata mellowed a bit. It became a bit bigger, heavier and somewhat boring to look at.
This 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata is different. It’s one of the best handling cars for under $50,000. It is one of the best looking cars in its class and it’s one of the most rewarding cars you can drive. Unlike previous generations that relied on a nostalgic bent, this car feels modern with a slight hint of nostalgia. That’s a good thing.
Powered by a high compression (13:1) 155 horsepower, “Skyactive” 4-cylinder engine that makes 148 lbs-feet of torque, the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata comes with a six-speed manual or automatic transmission equipped with paddle shifters. Maximum horsepower kicks in at 6,000 rpm and maximum torque comes in at 4,600 rpm. All the power is sent to the rear wheels and, despite low numbers on paper, the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata is a little screamer and, at over 5,000 rpm, the exhaust-note is triumphant.
According to the EPA, the manual gets 27 mpg city and 34 mpg highway with the manual transmission and the automatic gets 27 mpg city and 36 mpg highway. Both transmission setups average an impressive 30 mpg combined.
At 4.6 cubic feet, the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata’s trunk is one of the smallest available in North America. Storage is at a premium throughout as there is no glovebox and a center armrest that’s big enough for a modestly-sized cellphone. There is a small cubby-hole at your elbow, bit it is only large enough for a few mobile cupholders.
That’s about it. Next to the tiny trunk, there’s no hidden storage and the removable cup-holders are difficult to use. They sit at your elbow when in use. Not exactly ergonomically positioned for shifting.
The manual softtop is a snap to use. Pop one button-actuated lever and pull it over your head. Then, give the softtop a good shove to lock it in place and you’re work is done. Closing it requires a tug on a hand-hold release lever on the top and it will pop open. Simply replace it to its single clasp location, lock the handle and the roof is closed.
People with long torsos may have to duck a bit when driving. It is a low roof, just like all of the previous Mazda Miatas. Still, the quality, thickness and sound proofing of the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata roof is excellent.
Driving: Emmy Hall, our friend and famous Miata-freak, has insisted that Mazda’s little roadsters were the best road cars for the money. After driving the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata, it’s pretty obvious, she knew what she was talking about. After a few days, the driver is as connected to this car as they would be with a (much more expensive) Porsche Boxster.
Steering feedback is slightly artificial, but you have a quick sense of exactly where the front wheels are pointed. Power is incredibly easy to modulate, you can choose to have the wheels push you, slide behind you or follow you through a corner. There is no doubt that it will go where you want it to.
Balance is excellent and the brakes are excellent without any note of fade after an hour of hard canyon driving (with a 260 lbs driver no less). Despite the sports-car-bent, the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata is the best feeling Miata on the highway. Long highway hauls are a joy.
There is a bit of lean in each corner, but it rights itself quickly. All motions can be felt at the seat of your pants, a rarity with most modern cars.
Was our dear friend correct about such a machine? Yea, “I’ll have what she’s having.” Indeed.
Check out the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata as it goes up against the competitive Scion FR-S!
Pricing for the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata:
Grand Touring Manual
Grand Touring Automatic