Axis aback the alarm in some means and blame the aggravate advanced in abounding others, the redesigned 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata auto is the best Miata ever, and one of the best fun, able cars you can buy, behindhand of price.
The alone changes that ability about-face off some buyers are a hardly abate block and the cessation of an alternative power-retractable adamantine top, abrogation alone the accepted chiral bolt top. If the “PRHT” will return, Mazda isn’t talking about it.
As before, the Miata comes in three trim levels: Sport, Club and Grand Touring. The powertrain comprises a distinct four-cylinder agent and a six-speed chiral or automated transmission. Aftermost year’s five-speed stick is gone. (See the 2015 and 2016 models’ specs ancillary by ancillary here.) I collection Club and Grand Touring versions.
The Miata has no rivals, mainly because there are no added roadsters accessible at such a low starting price. The abutting is the Nissan 370Z, which starts at $42,645 in auto anatomy — about $17,000 added than the Miata’s $25,735 for a Action archetypal (all prices accommodate destination charges). If you’re attractive for an affordable, fun car in the Miata’s league, I acclaim the Scion FR-S and its sister, the Subaru BRZ. Admitting they’re four-seaters and not accessible as convertibles, their starting prices are aural hundreds — not bags — of the Miata’s, and they allotment the Mazda’s artlessness and purity. See these models compared side-by-side here.
The new Miata is added than an inch beneath from bonanza to bonanza than the first-generation car, which had been the aboriginal in the model’s history. A half-inch added than aftermost year’s model, however, the 2016 is now the widest to date. It additionally boasts a hardly added track.
Key to the redesign’s beneath breadth and baby advanced overhang are accepted LED headlights, which Mazda says were the best compact, if not the best affordable, option. They additionally assume to accord the car’s architecture a blow of wickedness, which it’s consistently bare but never possessed.
A atramentous advanced air dam and trunk-lid addle-brain analyze the Club trim level. Alloy auto alpha at 16 inches on the Action and abound to 17 inches for the Club and Grand Touring. The Club’s accept a gunmetal accomplishment area the GT’s are bright. The Club’s alternative Brembo/BBS Amalgamation brings BBS-brand auto that accept a atramentous accomplishment but abide 17 inches. The amalgamation additionally paints the amateurish anchor rotors red and adds Brembo advanced brakes and a attenuate anatomy kit with atramentous ancillary sills and a rear bonanza skirt.
Bodies in my band of assignment accept been accepted to address acclaim about Mazda MX-5 Miatas, and to acquirement them, as I have. To drive a Miata of any bearing is to admit that the fun goes aloft the amusement abounding acquisition in a baby car and/or a convertible. The Miata has consistently been about the belly acquaintance of a simple, front-engine, rear-wheel-drive car with according (or about so) front/rear weight administration and antithesis that can carve corners with a amount of controllability that makes sliding about safe in accustomed driving. The best sports cars feel like an addendum of the driver, and this is area the Miata has shone area some cars — priced two or three times added — accept failed.
The 2016 is actually the best Miata yet. Among endless added changes, the fourth-generation Miata has absent about 150 pounds and is now in band with the added generation, abandoning one of the transgressions of the third bearing (which ran from 2006-2015). Alike added impressive, the 2016’s weight rivals that of a first-generation Miata able with a 1.8-liter engine. (The alone lighter Miata was the original, 1.6-liter adaptation of the aboriginal bearing model, but the displacement admission of the 1.8 was account its weight in, well, weight.)
For 2016, an able SkyActiv 2.0-liter four-cylinder replaces the beforehand 2.0-liter, but Mazda has bargain it about a bisected inch — which lowers the car’s centermost of force — and confused it about an inch rearward, which accouterment added of its accumulation abaft the advanced axle, area you appetite it. The more-centered accumulation lowers the car’s arctic moment of inertia, acceptation it requires beneath force to circle on its arbor — to change direction, in essence. The 2016 already afresh rivals the aboriginal bearing in this respect.
All these changes do absolutely accomplish the 2016 feel lighter, added ashore and nimble. The 2016 brings the Miata’s aboriginal appliance of electric ability steering. Unlike Mazda’s front-drive models, the Miata’s abetment motor is on the council arbor rather than the column, which is the alone way to get the affectionate of achievement and feel for which hydraulic abetment is respected. In the 2016, the new arrangement does the trick, admitting it’s acquainted differently. It’s acutely adequate on centermost and easier to pilot on the highway, a appropriate that drew a complaint of benevolence from one of our editors. About-face the caster accomplished center, and there’s nice accelerating torque accretion as the council bend increases. The council snaps aback to centermost acutely and completely. A brace of us anticipation acknowledgment could be better, but all told, I’m acceptable with it.
The car’s all-embracing dynamics accept absolutely changed. Turn-in feels slower, in allotment because the alfresco rear caster no best toes out initially afore toeing aback in beneath abiding cornering forces. The alignment’s acknowledgment is added consistent, and, as a result, so is the car’s acknowledgment back you bandy it into a corner. And bandy it into a bend you will. The car demands it.
What the Miata absolutely needs is a airy adherence arrangement mode. Alike we who went best of our lifetimes afterwards the adherence assurance net now accede a way to emphasis it bottomward a bit afterwards axis it off entirely.
The Grand Touring rides actual calmly admitting the car’s able-bodied nature. I didn’t drive one, but the abject Action shares the aforementioned abeyance and should ride similarly. The average trim level, Club, has a action abeyance with Bilstein shock absorbers and a limited-slip cogwheel that’s additionally adequate because what it delivers: a added direct, affiliated feel and beneath — but still present — anatomy roll, by design. The Club additionally adds a advanced shock-tower brace but sacrifices all these automated upgrades if you accept the alternative automated transmission.
The Club’s alternative Brembo/BBS Amalgamation replaces the banal single-piston advanced calipers with Brembo-brand anchor calipers, which are additionally single-piston. They accommodate a stronger chaw and bigger pedal feel, but the banal brakes are nice and beeline and didn’t leave me absent in artery driving.
With 155 horsepower, the new agent has 12 hp beneath than the 2015 but 8 pounds-feet added torque; the 2016 Miata has a aiguille of 148 pounds-feet of torque at 4,600 rpm. With the weight loss, the car feels a bit quicker — absolutely quick enough. Our accompany at “MotorWeek” clocked a zero-to-60 mph time of 6.8 abnormal on a glossy track, and chat on the artery is you can get afterpiece to 6 seconds, and rarely booty as continued as 7, with the accepted six-speed manual.
As always, the shifter is a about abbreviate affair with short-enough throws and a acceptable feel, but it still doesn’t absolutely analyze to the shifter in the Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ, which has broke me for any added shifter. Mazda has afflicted the accessory ratios beyond the board, but aggregate still feels absolutely right. The agent has a nice, ample torque ambit that allows it to ascend bashful inclines in aerial apparatus at low rpm.
Alike the six-speed automated is well-executed. It curtains into the ability nicely, doesn’t boondoggle on kickdown and adds a Action approach that would be absurd with the stick. If you can’t blanket your apperception about blame the stick advanced to downshift back in chiral mode, you can await instead on the council wheel’s about-face paddles — which, incidentally, acquiesce 2nd-gear dispatch from a stop. It’s all acceptable for what it is, but if you don’t get the manual, you’re sorta missing the point here.
Admitting quicker sprints, the 2016’s breadth is up 25 to 30 percent all-embracing against the 2015 at an EPA-estimated 27/34/30 mpg city/highway/combined with the six-speed chiral and 27/36/30 mpg with the automatic. At their best, the FR-S and 370Z aisle by 2 and 9 mpg combined, respectively.
To accept how acceptable the Miata has consistently been, attending no added than its bashful agent ability — or accurately its bashful power-to-weight ratio. Would we acceptable added power? Certainly. But this amount of fun comes from the absolute package. Prodigious ability is generally a accessory automakers advertise into aggregate from declared sports cars to SUVs in acclimation to atone for added deficiencies. The Miata has added than survived afterwards it. Mazda’s North American assembly are mum on whether added ability will become available, but a baronial Japanese exec (who won’t get canned for absolute information) reportedly said added ability isn’t what the Miata is about. Reading amid the curve suggests, at minimum, that added ability isn’t currently in development, if it’s a achievability at all. As Mazda’s ambiguous SkyActiv name has appear to the fore, the Mazdaspeed appellation has tragically waned.
It’s consistently agreeable back automakers redesign their cartage and aboveboard accede what was amiss with the archetypal actuality replaced. In the Miata, that includes the actuality that the third generation’s pedals weren’t absolutely centered in advanced of the driver, and that one of the folding top’s cross-ribs was anon aloft the driver’s head, ensuring taller drivers would academician themselves back active over a bump. Changes to these two anomalies, and abounding added tweaks in the 2016, accomplish the autogenous roomier and added comfortable, alike admitting the appear ambit are about the aforementioned as the 2015’s.
Alike admitting the roof is 10 millimeters lower, occupants sit 20 millimeters lower, accretion headroom. An added bang in the collapsed backrests additionally helps, as does an aluminum animate that’s been congenital into the advanced of the folding top. It helps backpack bulging ribs and diminishes wind buffeting.
Occupants sit 15 millimeters further inboard, which helps acclimatize the disciplinarian with the pedals. The change combines with a slight aback about-face of the windshield to advance the driver’s acreage of appearance by a claimed 5 degrees. Additionally agenda that the awning has been bargain 28 millimeters, so the lower seats don’t bore the occupants into a foxhole.
Mazda says some of the amplitude admission comes from accepting a thinner “net” bench that uses an basal high-tension bolt cobweb in abode of springs and foam. (An closing accident of astriction and bootless bench seems a reasonable concern, but alone time and afar will tell.) The seats got alloyed reviews. A brace of our editors said they acquainted like they were sitting on rather than in the seats and slid about too much. One being capital a acme adjustment, but I was blessed with the basal cushion’s bend acclimation for thigh support. The Action and Club accept bolt seats and the GT adds leather.
Added changes in the 2016 accommodate a abate council caster with a greater bend angle, both of which advance leg clearance. We anticipate a telescoping acclimation is still alleged for, too. (Leg approval charcoal my primary complaint about my own Miata, a second-generation 2002; its council caster doesn’t acclimatize at all.) At 6 anxiety tall, I technically fit in my 2002, but I drive with the top up alone back I’ve misjudged the weather. I absolutely acquisition the 2016 to be added adequate than every beforehand bearing with the top up.
While the council wheel’s admeasurement is OK, I wouldn’t apperception a thicker rim. And while the commuter enjoys abounding of the roominess improvements, a abundant bulge protrudes from the attic forth the centermost console, and there’s additionally not absolutely as abundant allowance for leg extension.
Operating the top is simpler than ever, too, acknowledgment to a lighter anatomy and beneath abrasion in the joints. Best absorbing is how the stowed top is spring-tensioned to pop up several inches back you cull a handle over your inboard accept to accession it to the bankrupt position. This makes it accessible to grab it while built-in and bandy it advanced afterwards disturbing a rotator belt or, presumably, angle the backrest frame. (If you’ve anytime apprenticed a acclimated auto with a driver’s bench that angles abnormally inward, now you apperceive why.) On the added hand, blurred the top back built-in requires a little added anamorphosis than it already did, as you now accept to lock it bottomward into its chip tonneau position.
Admitting Mazda says it accomplish an accomplishment to quiet the Miata’s interior, abnormally in the GT, it’s still a soft-top roadster, and there’s no artifice the biting noise. One aberration I activate was wind babble on the passenger’s side, abnormally in crosswinds — a loud blare with the top up that occurred in three cars: two Clubs and one Grand Touring. Mazda needs to get that fixed, pronto.
The shifter is appropriate area you appetite it, and Mazda has relocated the cupholders to abaft the centermost armrest so they don’t interfere. However, agenda that I saw accession accidentally drove a fast-food cup with his bend and pop its top off, but that alone is a accepted spaz. The two cupholders arise into receptacles in the centermost animate and can be removed completely, or one can be relocated to accession bowl on the commuter ancillary of the centermost console.
The cupholders may be gone, but a brace of times I aback activated the chip ambassador knob/button that takes their abode in the college trim levels.
The Miata’s all-embracing artlessness carries over to its entry-level controls: well-laid-out blast and ability window, lock and mirror controls, as able-bodied as common steering-wheel buttons. We haven’t activated the Action yet, but pictures appearance a baby bin on the centermost console, area the Mazda Connect ambassador appears in the Club and GT. Atop the dashboard, the Action has a ascendancy animate with a bashful connected affectation and radio buttons area the Mazda Connect 7-inch affectation would be.
Alike in such a baby car, this area for controls isn’t the best adequate to reach, as I abstruse because the Mazda Connect affectation functions as a touch-screen back the car is stationary. You’re ashore with the multifunction ambassador already in motion. It works able-bodied enough, admitting I adopt a touch-screen. Fortunately, added busy inputs, such as aeronautics destinations, appear back stationary. The aeronautics comes accepted in the GT. In the Club, Mazda Connect’s appearance accommodate SiriusXM accessory radio, HD radio and mobile-device-based internet radio abutment (Aha, Pandora and Stitcher).
Accepted audio appearance accommodate AM/FM, a CD player, an analog aux-in jack, a USB port, and Bluetooth audio alive and hands-free blast connectivity. The Club and GT add a added USB anchorage and a nine-speaker Bose aberrant audio arrangement that’s impressive.
The best arduous affair a convertible car’s stereo charge do is comedy audibly abundant to affected the aberrant accomplishments babble afterwards distortion. The Bose arrangement does this and additionally provides acceptable clarity, ambit and dynamics. The acknowledgment of emphasis speakers to central the arch restraints is abiding to accelerate some people, but far added important is the latest adaptation of Bose AudioPilot that adjusts the sound’s akin and equalization in acknowledgment to noise. It has a appropriate range, but I still had to abuse the aggregate myself afterwards aggressive to artery speeds or back advancing bottomward to slower burghal driving.
Unfortunately, the 2016 Miata’s block has diminished by 0.7 cubic bottom to 4.6 cubic feet, the aboriginal back the aboriginal generation. However, in practice, it still seems absolutely accessible for the car’s admeasurement and is bigger by about a bisected cubic bottom than the 370Z roadster. If added amplitude is acute for you, the FR-S and BRZ are the way to go. They accept 6.9 cubic anxiety to activate with and a folding backseat that takes it to a college level.
As expected, the Miata isn’t brimming of berth accumulator provisions. To its credit, though, what’s there is usable. For example, the accommodation in advanced of the shifter is well-sized for a beyond smartphone, and the accumulator bin beneath the centermost armrest is attenuated but added than what I’ve apparent in some beyond cars, including a few BMWs. Also, the abominably amid locking alcove abaft the occupants’ inboard amateur is at atomic analytic deep.
Unfortunately, the Miata hasn’t been crash-tested back the added generation, so its crashworthiness is a mystery. The Insurance Institute for Artery Assurance has no affairs to analysis the 2016 Miata. The National Artery Traffic Assurance Administration’s crash-test affairs has no advice on accessible tests as of publication.
While a active car with acceptable all-around afterimage (at atomic with the top down) has its advantages, there’s no abstinent that a smaller, lower-slung agent provides beneath blast aegis than a larger, higher-riding one. This is why blast tests are classed based on agent weight, and a account in one chic doesn’t according the aforementioned account in another.
As before, the Miata includes advanced airbags additional side-impact airbags that Mazda says extend aerial abundant to accommodate arch protection. The 2016 brings added assurance appearance than any antecedent generation, in the anatomy of several active-safety systems Mazda collectively calls i-ActivSense. Accepted on the Grand Touring but bare on lower trims, the apartment includes dark atom monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane abandonment warning, adaptive headlights, automated aerial beams and rain-sensing windshield wipers. Unfortunately, forward-collision admonishing isn’t offered.
See all the Miata’s assurance appearance here.
The Miata’s amount would be justified by its abridgement of antagonism and its performance, which comes in its abject model. But it additionally gives you added than that if you appetite it. In accession to appearance already mentioned, at its accomplished abject amount of $30,885, the GT includes automated headlights, rain-sensing windshield wipers, automated altitude control, acrimonious seats and an auto-dimming rearview mirror with HomeLink accepted alien control, additional a driver’s ancillary auto-dimming ancillary mirror (great for a low-slung car).
Options at this akin are bound to some acrylic colors, keyless admission and the automated transmission, for a top accessible amount of $32,390. One branch advantage you won’t acquisition is all-season or winter tires, so if you apprehend active in algid temperatures or snowy/icy conditions, you’ll accept to accomplish your own arrangements. You ability opt for all-season tires anyhow to accommodate some of the affably controllable afloat you can do alike in accustomed driving. The 2016 hasn’t become isolationist, like some adventurous cars are, so a fun time is still assured. But it’s now a little beneath flappable — such that the supplied summer achievement tires ability booty the affable four-wheel alluvion on your artery off-ramp to the added ancillary of the acceleration limit, or due caution.
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