2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Test Drive And Review: Fourth Generation Grand Slam

28 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Test Drive And Review: Fourth Generation Grand Slam.

Car guys have an old saw that comes out every time a new MX-5 rolls out of Mazda’s Hiroshima factory: It’s more fun to drive a slow car fast than to drive a fast car slow. With three new variants, Mazda has introduced an absolute stunner and has pushed ahead some small however spectacular modifications within the 2016 Miata model in comparison with third era Miata.I may have written the First Drive review for Motor Authority, but I wasn’t the only member of the Internet Brands Automotive team at the 2016 Mazda MX-5 press drive in Westlake Village, California.With Mazda getting lots of ink for the launch of its 2016 MX-5 Miata, the Japanese automaker was also making the news Friday, as it announced in a press release that it has raised $50,000 for the St. It’s additionally a testomony to the Miata’s broad, enduring attraction as a coastal freeway cruiser, cute commuter or reasonably priced monitor day particular.

The fourth generation MX-5 (neé Miata) is now hitting showroom floors as a 2016 model, and I got a chance to drive it along one of my favorite stretches of road, the Angeles Crest Highway just north of Los Angeles. With the refinement brought up by the team of Mazda designers working with KODO design philosophy, Forbes reviewer Jason Fogelson calls MX-5 the best Miata ever. Each generation displayed similar virtues: near perfect balance leading to great handling, an eager, if modestly-powered engine hooked up to a sublime transmission. From 1995 to 1999, I owned one of the originals, a red 1990 Mazda MX-5 Miata, with a few options (power windows, headrest speakers), bought secondhand from a fanatic who only clocked 27,000 miles before me. The roadster (two seats and an open cockpit) setup provided just enough comfort and amenities to facilitate a user-friendly driving and cruising experience.

Jude Hope in the Hamptons event, we felt this was the perfect way to support a great charity partner,” said Mazda vice president of marketing Russell Wagner in the press release. “St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital does amazing things to help kids who are faced with horrible illness and we are honored to help raise money for their cause any chance we get.” Like each Miata we’ve recognized, the driving enjoyment you get from this auto comes out of your feeling of involvement, which comes from the exact steering, crisp shifter, and open-top expertise. The car, originally launched more than 25 years back, has received appreciation from customers across the country for its simplicity, comfort and lower price tag.

Miata was first launched by Mazda in 1989 and the company has sold 940,000 vehicles worldwide, according to Rod McLaughlin, the Miata’s vehicle line manager for Mazda’s North American operations. The latest design theme is named “KODO,” which translates into “Soul of Motion.” According to the Mazda website, “KODO captures the very instant energy becomes motion.

It’s supplanted by a sweet-shifting gearbox with a lever motion that’s technically, vastly superior in its shift action–but it’s been shorn of the tactile pleasure of having to wait out the original’s half-second of reluctance. It’s the muscular beauty you see when an animal pounces, or when a human leaps into action.” You can see this theme played out across the latest vehicles in the Mazda lineup, including the Mazda3, CX-5 and the new CX-3. I’d replaced the top with a new one sporting a glass window, so no more dumb-ass friends could poke a hole in the plastic window crack, turning it from a nuisance into a $500 shop bill.

Sitting behind the wheel puts you in perfect alignment with the pedals and steering wheel, and there’s a great dead pedal to help keep your hips straight between shifts. You quickly bond with the MX-5 Miata because of how closely the driving position feels in sync with the dynamic center of this car, and how there’s no delay to your inputs; forget about multiple performance modes as you simply don’t need them here. The frisky 2.0-liter four blips quickly; clutch takeup is forgiving yet precise; the shifter snicks neatly; and the pedals are placed perfectly, even for this long-legged driver. Leave the top down at 70 mph and you can still have a conversation, and perhaps even more importantly, you can fling the top open (or pull it closed) at stoplights.

For the time being, there’s no way around the freestanding system (although base models get a smaller audio unit), and the Commander Control is ill-placed behind the shifter, leaving no room for elbows (it’s required when the vehicle is in motion). Some smaller drivers reported more challenge with this operation, though most agreed that it was easier to operate than the previous edition’s soft top. When the Miata went through the scrutiny of the SkyActiv lens, we suspected that only good things could result from the “gram strategy” and clean-slate approach to every component.

At least, that you can buy if you’re not in the position to drop $140K or more on the BMW i8 plug-in hybrid sport coupe, with its sexy gull-wing doors, its rated 15 miles of electric range, and its unique styling idiom. Its 2.0-liter SkyActiv engine may be slightly down on peak power from last year’s model, but the car is 150 pounds lighter, marking a return to the smaller dimensions and seeming simplicity of the very first Miata a quarter of a century ago. The EPA rates the new 2016 MX-5 at 30 mpg combined, though the city and highway numbers vary slightly depending on whether you opt for the six-speed manual gearbox or the six-speed automatic transmission. The 6-speed manual transmission and buttery clutch deliver precise, quick shifting, and a 1:1 ratio in sixth gear (as opposed to an overdrive ratio) means that the entire range of the gearbox is useful and part of your performance driving arsenal. The GT model isn’t as sharp and feels softer than the Club with just a hint of wallow in hard driving, but its smoother ride quality makes it better for long cruises and driving around the neighborhood, the sort of driving most people do.

The ride quality of the Club is not harsh and should be fine for everyday driving, while the GT should not disappoint the driver who enjoys spirited motoring. The MX-5 engine has been sneaking further and further back in the car with each generation, and now the bulk of the works are mounted effectively behind the front axles, making the MX-5 a front-midship/rear drive vehicle. The base MX-5 Sport model has the same suspension as the GT and comes with a cloth top, so the Sport offers the best value for someone who simply wants the joy of a classic sports car. Transitioning from steady hard cornering in a left turn on a mountain road to steady hard cornering in a right turn in the Club model is seamless; now we’re going this way, now we’re going that way.

MacPherson strut front suspension and torsion bar rear communicate road feel without introducing harshness, and variable ratio electric power steering feels direct and responsive, never twitchy. Grand Touring models (starting at $30,065) come with leather seating, navigation and other amenities, including available driver assistance technologies. Instead of a ladder of trim levels (adding equipment as prices rise), Mazda has chosen a two branch approach, with Club designed to appeal to the hardcore driving enthusiast and Grand Touring appealing to the cruisers. And for those who craved a third generation MX-5 but never pulled the trigger, the new MX-5 should cause a big drop in the price of used vehicles, as early adopters rush to get the latest and greatest.

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