What Is It?
The 2016 Mazda MX-5 is a lightweight roadster that's highly focused on the driving experience.
What's New About This Model?
The 2016 Mazda MX-5 is all-new. Staying true to its heritage, the MX-5 (a.k.a.: Miata) is still a small, two-seat roadster with an emphasis on the fun of driving, but Mazda has bucked the current trend of embiggening everything and made the new car smaller and lighter than the one it replaces. Mazda chopped 3 inches off the length, gutted a half-inch of width and, thanks to lightweight materials, reduced the weight by 220 pounds.
Not everything new about the MX-5 is about the drive, though. The interior follows the rest of the Mazda lineup and features a modern, stylish layout with convenience and comfort features like USB inputs and a steering wheel that finally tilts.
When Does It Go on Sale?
Mazda is expecting the 2016 MX-5 to go on sale sometime in the middle of 2015.
How Much Does It Cost?
No pricing has been announced, but it should stay competitive with the current MX-5 which starts at $24,765.
How Many Body Styles and Trim Levels Are There?
For as long as there have been Miatas there have been rumors of a coupe variant hitting our shores. We don't expect that one anytime soon. The power retractable hardtop version has also been axed for this new generation MX-5. Less weight, less complication, less cost. Good riddance.
What Kind of Engines and Transmissions Does It Have?
Mazda recently confirmed that the new MX-5 will utilize its direct-injected 2.0-liter four-cylinder Skyactiv engine in the U.S. Output hasn't been released yet, but it's probably safe to assume that it will achieve at least the same power and torque (155 horsepower, 150 lb-ft of torque) in the MX-5 that it does in the Mazda 3. A manual transmission will remain as well.
Other markets will get a high-revving 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine in the MX-5.
What Unique Features Does It Offer?
The unique appeal of the MX-5 is its unusual position in the automotive landscape. While everything else is getting bigger, quieter and more comfortable, the MX-5 is going the opposite way to focus on the fun of open-top motoring. And while convertibles aren't exclusively the domain of the rich, the MX-5's attractive mid-$20Ks price point makes it a compelling option for anyone looking for a vehicular getaway.
What Models Will It Compete Against?
2015 Ford Mustang Convertible: Though it has a vastly different footprint and mission statement, the 2015 Ford Mustang Convertible is available with a powerful V6, a drop-top and has a starting price of $29,100.
2015 Mini Cooper Roadster Convertible: Offering a similar minimalist philosophy as the MX-5, the Mini Cooper Convertible is also small, light and nimble. It lacks one key ingredient, however: rear-wheel drive. Even so, that won't stop many people from choosing it over the Miata.
2015 Scion FR-S: While some drivers flock to the MX-5 because of its removable roof, others see it as a cheap way to get a great-driving performance car. These buyers may want to trade that open-top feeling for the added stiffness and security of the Scion FR-S and its real roof.
Should You Wait for It?
The Mazda MX-5 currently on sale is no slouch. Sure, it's gotten bigger and a little softer, but it's still a roadster, still has near-perfect steering and the kind of driving dynamics you read about in books. If you read books about driving dynamics.
The 2016 Mazda MX-5 is looking to double-down on that formula and do so with less weight, potentially more power, a better interior and exterior styling straight out of a sci-fi movie. We'd get a deposit in early and wait this one out.