2016 Mazda Miata MX-5 Tested: Back to Basics

2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata 1 photo
Photo: Jeffrey Ross
It’s not easy to follow in the footsteps of one of the most popular roadsters ever made but if someone could do it, it would be Mazda. That’s because they created the best-selling roadster ever built and now have launched the 2016 version and invited us to tag along for an honest review.
The question on everyone’s mind as we were gathering around the lot filled with Miatas at the event organized by the Japanese manufacturer was if it would live up to the expectations and the hype around it.

There are certain specifics that just go with the MX-5 name and Mazda knew this and kept them in place. The top is textile as it has always been, and it is so for a reason: weight saving.

As a matter of fact, weight is an incredibly important factor in the development of a car like the Miata, and that’s evident everywhere you look. To cut weight, Mazda shaved 44 pounds (20 kg) from the body structure, 26 pounds (11.7 kg) from the suspension and about 50 pounds (22.7 kg) from the drivetrain (including 18 pounds alone from the engine).

Therefore, all versions of the manual-equipped ND weigh in at 2,332 pounds (1,058 kg), which is significantly less than the NC that ranged from 2,480 pounds (1,125 kg) in Sport trim up to 2,511 pounds (1,138 kg) on the non-Sport models; maxed out, a 2015 Miata with an automatic and power retractable hardtop tipped the scales at 2,619 pounds (1,188 kg).

But overall weight is not the only issue to mind here as you’ll also have to see exactly how it is distributed around the chassis to make sure things are evened out in a perfect 50:50 ratio on the front and rear axles.

In this regard, the engineers also tried to include the driver in this mix and they did an excellent job. The center of gravity was carefully placed right behind the front seats so that you can feel everything that’s going on by the seam of your pants at all times.

With such careful planning, you don’t even need a powerful engine as some would say. The SkyActive plant under the bonnet makes 155 HP, and that’s more than enough for this little beast, no matter the situation.

Yes, on a straight line you don’t get to triple digit speeds with ease but it doesn’t matter. This is one of those more appreciated cars that lets you have a lot of fun without having to put yourself or others in danger or a borderline situation and you can read all about it in our full 2016 Mazda Miata MX-5 review.
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