Read the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata's introduction to our long-term fleet.
See all of the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata's long-term updates.
What We Got
We had our minds made up when it came time to order our 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata. It was going to be in classic, midlevel Club trim. Sport was too stark for our tastes and Grand Touring too refined. And it was going to have a manual transmission.
Standard features on the Club included a hand-operated cloth soft top, push-button start, LED headlights, cruise control and Bluetooth integration. We equipped ours with the six-speed manual to add a sport-tuned suspension, shock tower brace, a limited-slip differential, 17-inch wheels and summer tires. Interior novelties such as a nine-speaker stereo and a 7-inch display screen sprinkled in some refinement. All Miatas share the same 155-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and are rear-wheel-drive.
Our Club had a base price of $28,600. Optional Soul Red paint ($300) and keyless entry ($130) brought the total MSRP for this 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Club to $29,850 (including $820 destination). Here's what it was like to drive it day in and day out:
"The new Miata's greatness shined through on the most mundane of streets. The genius of this car is how engaging it is even when you're going to the post office to buy stamps. It forges a connection between machine and driver at two-tenths like no other car I've ever driven. I absolutely love it. I need one of my own." — Dan Edmunds, Director, Vehicle Testing
"It's easy to scoff at the idea of buying a convertible like our Miata: two seats, tiny trunk and a roof you can cut through with a pair of scissors. Then you drive it on a nice day and all those things suddenly seem like minor inconveniences. ... I was surprised by how enjoyable the Miata is with the top down." — Ed Hellwig, Executive Editor
"The 2016 Miata's four-cylinder is almost mini V8-like in character. Not V8-like is its fuel economy. The 2016 Miata checks in with 30 mpg for the EPA's combined fuel economy average. Last year, it was 24 mpg with the six-speed manual. That's real savings going into your pocket each year." — Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor
"In August, the Miata traveled a shade more than 2,000 miles. It notched a 347.1-mile range on one tank, and on the next tank it achieved 41.6 mpg. This latter result wasn't over a full tank; rather, it was refueled after driving 160 miles, or about a half-tank." — Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor
"The new MX-5 is considerably more accommodating of my lanky frame than any previous Miata, but it doesn't have the stretch-out room of the 2015 VW GTI. ... It can't. The seats only go back so far before they encounter a bulkhead. Still, I was able to settle in comfortably with the seat in its rearmost position, and the seat itself proved to be supportive for what turned out to be an eight-hour trip." — Dan Edmunds
"As much as I like our Miata, these seats would honestly keep me from buying it. My back and legs start to ache after even short stints in the car. I seem to forget every time I get out, leading me to once again grab the keys." — Reese Counts, Vehicle Testing Assistant
"It's what every golfer wants to know about any convertible: 'Will my golf bag fit?' And I can attest that the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata does indeed have room for your golf bag, as long as you don't mind if it rides shotgun." — Josh Sadlier, Content Strategist
"One carry-on bag fits nicely into the trunk with little room to spare. Our standard checked bag will not fit in either direction. Overall dimensions of the space are roughly 21 inches deep by 28 inches wide at the wheelwells. The seats do not fold to increase cargo capacity. However, if you kick out your passenger and drop the top, almost anything is possible." — Mike Schmidt, Senior Manager, Vehicle Testing
"I just noticed the Miata's sun visors have permanently fixed inside hinges. This prevents you from unclipping and rotating them to block sunlight beaming in from the side windows." — Jonathan Elfalan, Senior Road Test Editor
"I'm not the least bit surprised that our Miata has a nearly perfect set of gauges. When the sole mission of a car is driving enjoyment, you don't need to crowd the gauge cluster with extraneous extras ... the tachometer front and center, an easy-to-read speedometer and a multifunction binnacle on the left. All of them have crystal-clear white-on-black markings that are readable at a glance." — Ed Hellwig
Audio and Technology
"It was a hot day in Southern California. I hopped in our long-term Miata and got the message above ('Temperature Warning — Display is too hot. Screen performance may be decreased until it cools'). I suppose that's one of the drawbacks of having one of those tabletlike displays that don't retract or aren't covered by a hood." — Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor
"As for my colleague catching his sleeve on the multimedia knob when going for a gear change, I can only assume his shirts have droopy, flouncy wizard sleeves." — Jason Kavanagh
"'Mike, I walked up to the Miata this morning and saw damage on the front bumper. I don't know how it happened. Just wanted to bring it to your attention,' he said." — Mike Schmidt
"It began when Mark drove through a sandstorm, which caused deep scratches in the windshield. There was a considerable amount of glare whenever the scratched area was hit with sunlight or light from headlamps of opposing traffic. It quickly became apparent that a replacement was necessary." — Cameron Rogers, Associate Editor
"The Miata is all about fun. ... It's not about practicality or comfort, or luxury, or anything that doesn't have to do with fun. If you can't fit in it, blame your genetics. If the trunk is too small, you have too much stuff. If it's too stiff or too loud, you lost sight of your childhood. If you think it's underpowered, well, you might actually have something there." — Mark Takahashi
"The Miata's shifter moves through its gates with low effort but not low satisfaction. It glides unusually smoothly through the pattern. Each gate is well defined, and there's no notchiness. But you can feel the little rises and troughs of effort as one cog is deselected and the next one taken up. It's a subtle reminder that you're piloting a machine and helps make it one of the best shifters in any car today." — Jason Kavanagh
Maintenance & Repairs
Routine service for the Miata was dictated by an onboard meter. Our first checkup was due just past the 10,000-mile mark. It was straightforward and cost a manageable $58. We returned the vehicle to Mazda before reaching the next interval.
Additional maintenance costs were the result of two things: a sandstorm and a track day. We needed a new windshield ($630) and air filter ($21) after a beating at the hands of Mother Nature. And nine months into our test, we volunteered the Mazda for track day duty, adding four new Potenza S001 tires ($850) to the tally.
No recalls were issued during our test.
Fuel Economy and Resale Value
Observed Fuel Economy:
The EPA estimate for the 2016 MX-5 Miata was 30 mpg combined (27 city/34 highway). We averaged 31.1 mpg after 21,000 miles. Our best single fill garnered 41.6 mpg and our worst 22.2 mpg. The best range on a single fill-up was 401.6 miles.
Resale and Depreciation:
Our Miata had an as-tested MSRP of $29,850. At the end of our test Edmunds TMV Calculator valued the convertible at $19,657 based on a private-party sale. That reflected 34 percent depreciation in the first year of ownership.
A fantastic driving convertible, even well below its performance threshold. Makes errand-running fun. One of the best shifters in the business.
Not everyone found the seats comfortable. It is loud and rides firm. Typical small-car limitations. Minimal cargo space. Tight quarters.
The Miata is focused on driver engagement. It has a great shifter, nimble handling and responsive steering. It lacks seat comfort, noise refinement and a smooth ride. But to those who love driving, the pros soundly outweigh the cons.
|Total Body Repair Costs:||$1,619.73|
|Total Routine Maintenance Costs:||$57.99 (over 12 months)|
|Additional Maintenance Costs:||$1,501 for windshield, air filter and four tires|
|Non-Warranty Repairs:||Replace windshield, air filter and four tires|
|Scheduled Dealer Visits:||1|
|Unscheduled Dealer Visits:||None|
|Days Out of Service:||12 for body repairs|
|Breakdowns Stranding Driver:||None|
|Best Fuel Economy:||41.6 mpg|
|Worst Fuel Economy:||22.2 mpg|
|Average Fuel Economy:||31.1 mpg|
|True Market Value at service end:||$19,657 (private party sale)|
|Depreciation:||$10,193 (34% of original MSRP)|
|Final Odometer Reading:||21,104 miles|
The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.