2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata: A Gram Here, a Gram There
by Dan Frio, Automotive Editor on December 16, 2015
There's weight savings and then there's cheap.
Our 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata is brilliantly light and responsive, and nimble and athletic and lithe, and any other number of other auto-journo adjectives you could use to describe a car that generally moves exactly where you point it, when you point it. And no doubt its bantamweight 2,332 pounds is a key component of this character.
But some of the weight savings go a little too far.
The door armrest shown above, for example. Is it plastic? Is it fiberglass? I don't know. You know what it is? Uncomfortable. No cushion up there. No fake cowhide. No left-hand tan accommodation in this car. I get it. The Miata seems to say, or its designers seem to say, "Elbows bent, hands at 10 and 2, if you wanna drive me, pal."
OK, Colin Chapman.
You know what? If I own this, I'm driving it to San Diego on Pacific Coast Highway more than I'm driving it on a dusty track in the middle of the Los Angeles high desert scrub. And when I'm driving to San Diego on PCH, I want to hang up my elbow and forearm on occasion. Can I have the door upper in cushioned body color fake cowhide? I'll pay extra for it and I promise I won't tell anyone at SCCA (the hard body-color upper is standard on Club and Grand Touring trim levels).
Exhibit B: Sun visors. Come on. This is just 99 Cent Store discount here. Even a good pal who drives a '99 Miata first remarked, "wow, these feel flimsy." I mean the plastic itself is firm and fine, if thin and light. I know; it's a sun visor. A gram here, a gram there. Fine.
Will my Miata perform worse if it weighs 2,334 pounds? Slippery slope yes, I get it. But I'm not asking for a 12-inch subwoofer and 400-watt amp here.
Exhibit C: Not necessarily cheap, but cheese. Can the industry-wide carbon trim obsession please go away now?
Dan Frio, Automotive Editor