Review: 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata

By Jonathan Spira on 5 March 2016
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Note to self: Don’t schedule cute roadsters like the fourth generation Miata, excuse me, MX-5 Miata, for a wintertime excursion. The Soul Red Metallic Miata arrived, top up of course, on a snowy day in February, and my fleeting hopes of driving to the shore with the Beach Boys playing on the Bose sound system were put on hold.

The MX-5 Miata, first introduced in 1989, is known everywhere in the world except the United States as just the MX-5. With its launch, Mazda sought to bring the world a low-cost open-top sports car and it has unquestionably succeeded.

Mazda celebrated the MX-5’s 25th anniversary in 2014 (production started at the Ujina Plant No. 1 in Hiroshima in April 1989) and expects to hit the one million unit mark later this year.

Today, a car the size of the Miata is, well, quaint in world where vehicles seem to grow larger each day. Indeed, the Miata (it will take a while for me to say MX-5) hasn’t changed that much in its overall dimensions from the 1989 version and the fourth generation MX-5 is lower by half an inch and has a shorter wheelbase.

DRIVING THE 2016 MAZDA MX-5 MIATA

The Miata may look small at first glance but inside the passenger cabin seems larger than in previous iterations and Mazda has made far better use of the relatively limited amount of space in the cabin.

The driving position has been improved by lowering the seat height by an inch and forward visibility, thanks to a slightly lower hood, is excellent. Underneath that hood is a 2.0-liter four banger that develops 155 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque and is paired to an excellent six-speed manual transmission (an automatic is optional, however).

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