2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata
Personality: The European roadster meets Japanese reliability (and efficiency)
Best Gizmo: The retractable roof, of course.
Most Annoying Feature: Road noise, but that is expected.
MPG (as tested): 27 city and 34 highway with the manual transmission (27/36 automatic)
Performance: More than adequate
Cars we smoked at stoplights: A Lexus GS and an old minivan
0-60: 5.9 seconds
How Fast Is That? Very fast
How Much? Starts at $24,915 with options and trim levels into the mid $30’sWhat option should I splurge on? Just go with the MX-5 Club trim level, all the sport stuff you want and a serious sound system
Serious Contenders? Scion FR-S, Ford Mustang, Volkswagen GTI, and the Hyundai Genesis coupe to name a few
Turning heads and pleasing drivers- two areas where the Miata has excelled since it first rolled off the factory floor in 1989. Combining a lightweight roadster with Japanese reliability we have come to know and love, the Miata is perfect for a California road trip or a daily commuter. Now on the fourth generation, the MX-5 is efficient, sleek, and as fun to drive as ever.
The exterior is all roadster. Compact, low, and sleek, the MX-5 has a sharp nose and a wide stance. With thin headlamps, a large grill, sleek wrapping and circled taillights that are a throwback to yesteryear, the Miata is destined for a warm coastal highway.
Under the hood sits a 2.0-liter 155 horsepower four-cylinder engine capable of 148 lb-ft of torque. Doesn’t sound like to much? Just remember this two door only weighs 2,300 lbs so there is plenty of power for those who wish to test the 0-60 time. The manual transmission comes standard and makes for a thrill on the road, and pure drudgery in heavy traffic. Alas, this is life my friend. Just be aware of you are a city dweller and this is your daily commuter, you may want to spring for the automatic transmission to make life easier. Either way, you won’t be stopping at the gas station very often with 27 mpg in the city and 34 on the highway (37 with the automatic).
Behind the wheel, the driver is greeted with the amenities you would expect from a two door in this price range. A three spoke steering wheel with mounted controls, an instrument cluster focusing on the tachometer, and the shifter resting on the center console just waiting to be thrown. Steering was responsive and all around handling exceeded expectation- but then again, this is a Mazda. They have proven time and time again they know how to make economical cars with aggressive handling and a heavy dose of the ambiguous “fun factor” many are looking for.
Three trim levels for the MX-5 makes shopping a simple task compared most other cars these days. The base Sport model includes everything you would expect from an entry level price tag with the only real downside being the 16 inch wheels. Upgrade to the Club level for the 17 inch gunmetal wheels, enhanced interior trim, a Bose audio system and performance enhancements. The top level is Grand Touring and includes an insulated headliner, even more Bose speakers (9), rain sensing wipers, additional LED lighting, and more.
This is a small roadster, so safety must be addressed given almost every other car on the road is bigger than you… With dual front and side airbags as well as traction and stability control, the MX-5 does it’s part in trying to keep you safe.
Fun, fast, and true to a long heritage of reliability, the new MX-5 would be a welcome addition to any driveway.
© 2016 John Kehlenbeck, Horsepower Auto Reviews