2016 Mazda MX-5…Zoom Zoom Indeed [Review]

2016 Mazda MX-5

Some cars are just iconic: the Ford Mustang, the Chevy Corvette, the Jeep Wrangler. When these cars get a re-design, the effects are felt throughout the enthusiast world.

The all new 2016 Mazda MX-5 is no different.

Now in it’s fourth generation, the MX-5 has had a complete and total makeover, and the results are worthy of all the accolades it’s received and more.

2016 Mazda MX-5 GT

Engine Power Torque Transmission MSRP Price As-Tested Rating
2.0L SkyActiv 4-cylinder 155 hp 148 lb-ft 6-speed manual $30,065 $31,015 Buy it!

The ND has lost the jellybean look of the previous generation. It’s replaced with a sleek body style, with a tucked in nose, and a high fender line. It’s also gone on a diet and lost some 200 pounds from the NC model, putting it much closer to the first generation numbers.

A mere 155 horsepower and 148 lb/ft of torque emanate from the 2.0L SkyActiv 4-cylinder engine. All that Japanese fury is going to the rear wheels via a 6-speed short throw manual transmission. EPA fuel ratings are 34 mpg on the highway and 27 mpg in the city. I averaged 28.9 mpg during my week with the roadster.

You can get an automatic, but really…unless you don’t have full use of both legs and your right hand, skip it and row your own.

2016 Mazda MX-5

The 2016 MX-5 is only available with a soft top. Previous generations forced drivers to get out of the car to fully close the top, unless they had the tricep strength of Schwarzenegger. This new design features a spring that makes closing the top a breeze while remaining in the car.

Unlike many other convertibles, when the top is dropped it doesn’t take up any additional trunk space. Good thing too, as the trunk only offers 4.59 cubic feet of space. It’s enough for a carry-on bag and a backpack, but you’ll have to be judicious if you want to pack for a longer road trip.

The interior has been redesigned to offer more usable space. The doors have been carved out to make the cabin noticeably more spacious. The seat backs are made of a mesh-like material that uses the driver’s weight to wrap the side bolsters around his or her body. They are an incredibly comfortable, weight saving bonus. A 7-inch touchscreen is standard, but fortunately it doesn’t interfere with your sight line. The system can also be operated by a dial on the center console, the better to keep your eyes on the road.

2016 Mazda MX-5

The navigation system is easy to operate, but the highlight for some may very well be the speed camera and red light camera warnings. It’s definitely a plus as drivers may just find themselves revving up to the red line on every shift. It’s just too darn fun not to.

There are three MX-5 models, and we spent our time this week in the cushy Grand Touring trim line. This is the model you want if you plan on just cruising up the coast, top down, tunes in the Bose stereo system turned up. This model comes standard with more safety features, including rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning, and blind spot monitoring (although it seems a little unnecessary in such a small car. More like all the cars around the MX-5 need blind spot monitoring.)

The GT, unlike the Club trim line, does not have a limited slip differential. The lack of a limited slip differential (LSD) means the car is slightly slower through the corners. The LSD helps to mitigate loss of power to the inside wheel when carving up the twisties. The GT isn’t bad around the corners, but those looking to really put down some lap times are better off in the Club.

2016 Mazda MX-5

Still, the GT loves to turn, and the 6-speed, short throw transmission is a joy to row. The Bridgestone Potenza tires are plenty grippy, and drivers may find themselves pushing their driving skills.

Mazda engineers have still left in the characteristic body roll, their reasoning being that it provides more feedback to the driver. While it’s true under hard cornering one can definitely feel the load on the outside, but it’s really part of the fun of the MX-5.

Most road feel comes through the chassis, however, as the electric steering is a tad on the numb side. It’s not terrible, and it certainly is direct and weights up very nicely at speed, but those used to the hydraulic set up in older Miatas will notice the difference.

The 2016 Mazda MX-5 GT comes in at $31,015. In terms of competition, there isn’t much out there if you’re looking for a 2-seat, RWD, convertible. You could look at the Fiat Abarth, but that’s FWD, turbo charged, and comes with a glorified sunroof instead of a full drop top. You might also look at the MINI Cooper 2-seat convertible, but again, it’s FWD. The BMW Z4 fits the bill, but it’s nearly $20,000 more.

Buy it

On the TFL Car scale of:

  • Buy it!
  • Lease it!
  • Rent it!
  • … or Forget it!

The 2016 Mazda MX-5 gets a Buy It!

The new electric power steering is a disappointment, but it’s still one of the best bargains out there for roadster fun.

Check out this quick drive with Dave Coleman, the “Miata Nerd,” from Mazda North America Operations.

emme hall tflcar Emme is a driver, reviewer, rabble rouser, and Gazelle who can be found online on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and either one of her blogs.