The Miata has always been designed around the driver, but this generation makes life even easier from behind the wheel. The seating position has been slightly lowered and moved inboard toward the center of the car to give the driver more of a feel for the road and how the car is reacting to it.
Mazda also carved out as much space as possible for the driver, making life bearable for taller folks in this tiny car. That includes our own Bengt Halvorson, who fits despite his 6-foot, 6-inch frame. This was made possible by adding a few millimeters more head and legroom, slightly more tilt in the steering wheel, and thinner seatbacks that allow for an extra click of recline. We find both the base cloth seats and the leather seats in the GT to be comfortable and supportive, even for wider backsides.
The top is also easier to open and close from the driver’s seat. Opening it requires operating a latch and pushing it back, where it locks into place. Closing it is just the opposite. Push a button and a spring pops it up. You then reach back with your right arm, pull it forward, and latch it back into place. The spring action and lighter overall weight mean less strength is required to operate the top.
Not all the news is good, however. The passenger seat isn’t as spacious as the driver’s seat and the passenger has to deal with a hump in the floor. Small items storage is also woefully lacking. There is barely enough room for a cell phone at the base of the center stack (which features a pair of USB ports), and the glove box is a small cube between the driver and passenger. There are also no built-in cupholders. Instead Mazda provides a pair of cupholder stalks that can be inserted into a pair of slots at the back of the center console—where they don’t interfere with shifting—or into a single slot off the side of the center console, where it intrudes upon passenger leg space.
2016 Mazda MX-5 MiataEnlarge Photo
A day of driving the Miata through twisty California canyon roads proved to be an absolute joy. The modest power is plenty for so little weight, the handling is brilliant and engaging, the ride is as compliant as you’ll find in a family sedan, and nothing beats the fun of top-down driving. The 2016 Mazda Miata is proof positive that less truly is more.
Pricing for the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata starts at $25,735, including an $820 destination charge.