2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata: Avoids the Chin Scrape Through Geometry
by Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor on June 21, 2016
Our long-term 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata is a diminutive little thing that looks pretty low-slung. It wouldn't be at all surprising if its nose scraped everywhere.
I'm here to tell that its nose doesn't scrape everywhere. The Miata's chin has managed to enter and exit every driveway, parking ramp entrance and drainage rut I've thrown at it without suffering the indignity of a scrape.
Now, I've driven plenty of low cars over the years and instinctively drive accordingly, which helps. But even our long-term Chevrolet Volt scrapes everywhere, even over speed bumps, despite my driving style. And every Corvette I've ever driven, too. But not our long-term Viper. Hmm. Maybe this is a GM thing.
Anyway, the Miata's short front overhang is its secret weapon in avoiding the scrape, since its lower chin is still pretty close to the ground. Think "hypotenuse." Short overhangs are more than just pretty design cues, they also have superior approach angles for a given chin height. It's another example of the Miata's cleverness.
Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor @ 10,402 miles